Ms. Meniscus,

I was a trim athlete until the age of 50 when I was diagnosed with arthritis in my right hip and almost immediately nosedived into deep depression. My Beverly Hills physical therapist, a rags-to-riches foodie from Malaysia who wore Louboutins to work and always had a hefty batch of Sprinkles gourmet cupcakes at the ready told me: “You too Type A. Go home. Have glass wine. Relax. Eat. You skinny girl.” Well I did. And seven years down the pike I blew up from a trim 105 to 145. The sales staff at Neiman Marcus started recommending clothes for curvy bodies (unsolicited, mind you) . The real nail in the coffin was when my esthetician, whom I hadn’t seen in 5 years, burst into a gales of laughter when she pointed towards the spa room and got a gander of my butt full throttle. “Your face looks good. Go have liposuction!” (Ha! Ha! Ha!) It was then I had a revelation. I realized the only solution is to go back to my old Type A personality. In weeks I shed 20 lbs. on a high protein vegan diet. I plan to lose 10 more (maybe I did look like a lollipop head at 105), but my problem now is I’ve discovered without the extra padding — brace yourself Ms. Meniscus — my hips are lopsided. Help!

–QuasimodoGram in la la land

Dear QuasimodoGram,

Oh my dear Quasi, it’s always devastating and scary to hear a diagnosis of arthritis. Questions run through a person’s mind. What will this do to my life? Does arthritis mean chronic pain? Will I lose mobility in some way ? There is a lot of understandable fear and grounds for depression–and then to have your own physical therapist be so dismissive of your condition that she’d brush it off and tell you to relax, drink wine and eat, is simply unconscionable.

I suspect your physical therapist’s making light of your diagnosis may well have to do with the general lack of respect afforded arthritis even by people who work in the health establishment. As CreakyJoints writer Daniel Malito duly noted in his piece, Arthritis: Underappreciated and Doomed to Obscurity? arthritis is not taken seriously in American culture. It’s something Grandma had. Hey, it’s just arthritis. Take a couple of aspirins.

Or, “You too Type A. Go home. Have glass wine. Relax. Eat. You skinny girl.”

Ms. Meniscus is very sorry your fancy shoe & cupcake physical therapist said this to you when you were newly diagnosed –and even sorrier that you soon plunged into depression. Unfortunately, depression and arthritis go together way too often—Google “arthritis depression” and you will see that research shows a strong link between the two.

Ms. Meniscus is happy to hear that you’ve shed 20 from the 40 you gained in a healthy vegan way (and even happier that you realize that 105 pounds for you does fall within the lollipop head realm). Also, my sympathies on being directed to curvy women by Neiman Marcus sales associates without your first asking. And, is it a Beverly Hills thing for estheticians to laugh at clients when they have a little extra jiggle? Not best practice in other parts of the country, to say the least.

As for your lopsided or uneven hip, there are exercises to help get hips in balance, but before you start any sort of regimen, Ms. Meniscus recommends that you consult your physician. Best of luck to you.

— M

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