To try to answer some questions (I'm still in post-Halloween chaos - have to go meet someone for coffee later - eeeeeeks. I'm not a social butterfly so it's stressful):
My mother may have done a similar thing with my diet - there was lots of rice and we almost never had meat in the house. I was constantly anemic and "she didn't know why" and always seemed concerned about it at the doctor's. My anemia cleared up completely upon leaving home and adding things like hamburger into my life. My iron levels are spectacular these days. When I was a kid, I was usually dizzy. I don't have many childhood photos, but what I do have from friends show me trying to catch my balance half the time. I still find myself off balance now and then, but not nearly to that extent.
I find I'm in a much better health when she doesn't know my location (which reallllly doesn't help with the PTSD nightmares of being dragged out of bed in the middle of the night - because it gives them a level of affirmation when I'd really rather diminish them).
I did go through the whole cancer thing in my 20s, but I had felt the pain of it since I was 8 or 9 - it had been (thank god slowly) growing all of that time. There are years at a time when I feel like I'm absolutely dragging through life, but me and my coffee get on with it. I wake up exhausted often, but not as much since I started majorly traveling (which you would think would exhaust a person even more). Much of the exhaustion might actually be attributable to the Addison's which I've only recently had diagnosed (not a fan of doctors and going for random unspecified ailments seemed pointless for the longest time).
I do honestly feel better when in places I know she's not likely to go or not likely to already have her hooks into the local doctors, etc. Part of that is definitely psychological. It's driven me to love travel. I've created a life that sustains seeing a new country every month.
I've learned to turn bad into good in that regard (I'm getting to see the world and honestly loving it), but I'm still learning about relationships because I naturally fall into this pattern of thinking they want to see me hurt, or in an uncomfortable position, and I play up to that like I did as a child - which doesn't lead to a healthy relationship, especially since I'm still more prone to pick a sociopath as opposed to a normal partner, just because they feel "like home." - Anyway, that's just me getting on with life. I'm working things out. Part of working things out, for me, is understanding why and how they came to be in the first place so that I can pick a better path from here on out.
She did play the caring mother - in situations in which she needed to cover up abuse or manipulate people - I had run away at least a dozen times but she would somehow convince the people that I had run to that it was my fault and that I came from a loving home. Not sure how she did that one. It didn't help that I couldn't express to people why I had left - I was terrified, I knew there were some major things wrong - but they were such a part of my normal life that I couldn't even point most of them out.
I used to want to explain to people that she wasn't nice when people would say "your mother is so nice" but they would look confused when I tried to explain that she was nothing like that at home.
With doctors - I remember a lot of screaming, not always, but it happened. She generally seemed to either be: at odds with them or in cahoots with them. My earliest memories were in the building with the radiation treatments. She kept insisting I needed more. The doctor kept looking at my test results and saying I was done. Eventually it moved to another office (psychologist or head of department?) and her yelling seemed to go on for hours.
(I should note that she "won" later on and found a hospital with the same equipment that could be used on me - but that wasn't until several years later and I'm not even sure she had a doctor involved - she just used the technicians and her own department credentials as far as I could tell)
I remember way too many dentists and her never teaching me to floss (I know now!) or encouraging brushing more than maybe once a day and never allowing gas so I would feel the whole thing (dentists suck with needles - I've met two in my whole life that can properly numb a nerve). I'm still getting those metal fillings removed.... Half way there now. Some of the cavities they filled are insanely deep and large.
She brought me to a speech therapist because she felt I was too monotone (she did no yelling there that I remember) - the man is terrified of her. I mean petrified. It was just speech therapy, but when I went to go get my records later on (in a perfectly short and ordinary records-requesting manner) he did the entire "You were never here" thing. I remember the office. In addition, his name and phone number are listed in my state child abuse records...
Another time she got special permission to bring in a doctor with a really bad history when it comes to ethics. So bad that he needed special permission to enter the hospital campus and she pulled the string to get it (she's good at blackmail), and then a short time later I remember her screaming in a hospital hallway (and eventually an office) about how she didn't like the work he had done on me.
I had been to a ridiculous amount of doctors, many only once, but many for things that shouldn't have been going on and that weren't discussed in the light of day. Like I've had my own arguments with anesthesiologists and nurses over how they need a line of cotton along the oxygen mask to keep from irritating my skin and I've woken up under one too many warmed blankets. My general childhood medical records don't mention surgery - anywhere. But that's how surgery goes - 1. anesthesia, 2. surgery, 3. warmed blankets (especially for me - low blood pressure). Not that I can confirm it - it would be hard to remember something that happened under deep anesthesia.
I don't even know what half the procedures I went through were for. Like one time, I was getting a bone biopsy, my mother was there, I must have been high as a kite on anesthesia at the time, and she kept saying (while it was happening) "Wouldn't it really hurt if you were the one having a bone biopsy?" and I was there responding "Yeah, I'm glad that would never happen to me." By the time we left the appointment, I was sure it hadn't even happened. - I still have the visible scar from the procedure. When she spoke of it, she kept calling it "my trip to the dermatologist." This wasn't a one time incident.
I spent so much time around some doctors that I ended up having a level of comradery with them. Like when my mom wasn't around I would help one of them organize his office (and try to sneak a look inside, some of his books were interesting), he would talk about classes he was teaching (we were in a teaching hospital), and he actually suggested that I just forget about all of those years, make a new me, and just never look back. This was a doctor that did some pretty painful medical stuff to me, but he has a special place in my memories and heart because he was one of the few people on this earth that understood what was going on in my life and wasn't just seeing pieces of it.
I have no idea who she was trying to emotionally play. My dad was never in the picture. I think she's just a sadist. The "why" has been the hardest part in all of this for me.
After poisoning her ex, she was the one who offered to "take him in and care for him" during his treatment. It couldn't have been a great time for him - he actually got on a 10 hour flight to leave the country to go die in peace somewhere else after his time with her.
In my mind, I would think that most people would want to die in the comfort of what they know and the people they love, not in a strange country that they're too ill to enjoy and don't speak the language of. But, having known my mother, I can see why he chose that route.