Sunday, June 27, 2010

It's the end, my friend. Or the start....

Diabetes Type 2 takes years to develop, or so I've read. It began with tiny things. Like the fact I seemed thirsty all the time no matter what I drank and spent enough time in the bathroom to read all the Harry Potter books. Twice. Tiny little cuts and bruises took forever to heal and when I caught a cold it lasted on average two months, even when I took antibiotics. More than that, I was tired all the time, even on days when I got a minimum of nine hours sleep. I kept drinking sugary soda loaded with caffeine, hoping it would help and couldn't figure out why I still felt exhausted. I ate too much fast food at work because it was cheap and convenient. Chocolate, ice cream and cakes or pies were constant companions. Exercise? I hated it. I ignored all the signs either because I didn't recognize them for what they were or I didn't want to.

It should not have been such a surprise. My paternal aunt is a diabetic and has been nearly all the time I've known her. I was never as active or athletic as some of my siblings so I wasn't outside playing as much as I should have. One of my sisters was gestational and then borderline diabetic until she got the disease under control. But I didn't want to think I could get diabetes. I deluded myself into thinking, "It can't happen to me", even as I got dizzy spells at work from the after meal carbohydrate crash or a decrease in desire for my wonderful boyfriend. I attributed it to age and weight gain. Looking back it was incredibly obvious and I wish I'd started sooner.

I work in the mall and always arrive thirty minutes early. I could have walked laps with the mall walkers. Perhaps I could have prevented diabetes, perhaps not, but I could have tried. But I didn't.

February of 2010 I had a horrid cold that felt almost like the flu. The usual rounds of medications were not doing the job and my employers were understandably concerned that I would not be able to do my job effectively. So I went to my primary care physician, who did a routine blood draw to check my white cell count. Later that week, one of the office assistants left an urgent message on my answering machine and told me I needed to make a followup appointment with the doctor ASAP. My first assumption was I had bronchitis or pneumonia. Irritating, but not earth shattering.

On March 29, 2010 I was diagnosed with diabetes and it felt like all the fun had gone out of my life. No more ice cream, candy, cake...and what the heck was I going to do without chocolate?! I'd go insane! This couldn't be happening to me, I didn't deserve it. Then the doctor talked about diabetic education classes and losing weight. Would my insurance cover all this? Would I need oral medication or *shudder* insulin shots? I would have to get used to poking my finger every day to test my blood sugar. I would have to start taking medications until my blood sugar was under control. Maybe for the rest of my life. After the diagnosis and reassuring concerned friends and family I was fine I went home and cried alone, feeling overwhelmed and small and helpless.

But hey, maybe it's not the end of the world. There's lots of things I can do to help myself. I can start changing my diet in a way I can get healthy and live a long life but not starve. And yes, I can start to *shudder* exercise. Maybe there's a fun one out there I could learn to like. If I'm careful and learn to control my portions and and how often I eat it, perhaps chocolate won't be gone forever.

My only fear is staying on track. Changing years of routine will take months to undo, and that's if I'm disciplined. Oh, boy. I'm going to need help, advice, support; and provide a little too.

Disclaimer: This is my personal experience and my own opinions. I'm not trying to treat or diagnose anything and the opinions I express are my own. This is all conjecture. I'm learning as a go so forgive any inaccuracies. This is a way for me to cope and focus my emotions into something positive. If you read this and recognize yourself in anything I've written about, please, talk to your doctor. Read some books. And never be afraid to scream, cry, or yes, laugh about being a diabetic. I'm going to.

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