Living With Diabetes: The First Weeks
So, as you may recall, I was disagnosed with diabetes. It runs in my family and was not entirely a surprise, but you soon find out that you are never really ready for such a diagnosis. It is a serious disease and can bring about some very serious and potentially deadly things down the road - but it's manageable. Since this is my blog and I like to write about my life and not just my writing, I thought I'd write a little bit about my battle with this disease.
I have drastically changed my life and my diet. The carb count has dropped to almost nil. You still have to eat them. Your body needs them to make energy and just completely cutting them out of your life is a bad thing. Yes, that means a lot of things that I used to eat have been cut out. No longer can I go somehwere and just devour a complete plate of fries. My ice cream eating has been cut to zero. I am now one of those people who has to read the labels of food, know how many carbs are in each serving and how big a serving size is.
I have always had a bad relationship with food. The problem with being addicted to food is that you can't just quit it. You can quite tobacco if you try and there are steps to getting off of alcohol and drugs. You can't not eat. You die if you do. The problem with me was my relationship with food was always unhealthy. I have an addictive personality which means, while you might be able to look at a cake and decide to eat one piece, I look at a cake, eat a piece, say "Mm, that was good - I need more!" and then eat the rest of the cake. That means a life of large portions and lots and lots of sweet sacues and ketchup on my food.
All of that has changed.
So, as I write this I am about a week into this and I have to tell you - it's amazing. I had no idea that the reason I would wake up in the morning feeling like I was carrying 1,000 pound weights on my ankles was due to the fact that my body was raging with out of control sugar in the blood. Although my levels are still too high, they are much, much lower than they were just a few weeks ago. Plus, my blood pressure levels are lower, too. I am suddenly a morning person!
This past Saturday I was up and ready to go before 10 am and ready to run errands. Normally, a Saturday for me meant sleeping until 9 pm and lounging on the couch watching TV until about noon. I was bright eyed, ready to go, not fuzzy-headed and ready to take on the day.
I know - sorta sickening, but also a good thing.
I visited my new primary care doctor. She changed my blood pressure meds and now I don't have to take a pill that makes me feel like I'm dying at about 2 pm in the afternoon. She was very positive and full of ideas about how I can improve things. Encouraging, rather than discouraging. I am discovering through friends who are diabetic that eating while diabetic is not just an endless mourning for the things you cannot eat, but for all of the thing that I can eat.
You see, I can still eat most of the things I used to eat - but in smaller portions. I have to be conscious of what I've eaten earlier, how that will affect the number of carbs I have eaten, and where I am compared to the recommended amount given to me by my dietician.
I tell yout this in case you have been diagnosed. Thousands - perhaps millions - of us our out there. New people are being diagnosed with the disease each day and there are some of you out there who might be feeling despair. I am here to tell you that you don't have to despair. Diabetes can be managed, as long as you take it seriously.
I have also switched to the Freestyle Lite glocuse meter. They are not paying me to endorse that, but I have to tell you, if you can get your doctor to prescribe it, go with it. Abbott, the people who make it, even can work out a deal for you to get a free meter and, if you do not have employer-paid health insurance, a deal on test strips. The Freestyle requires much less blood and hurts a lot less. The one they gave me at the hospital was nice, but not covered by my insurance and it felt like the lancets were stabbing me to the bone each time. Trust me on this - get the Freestyle.
Anyway, in a couple of weeks I may be craving french fries so much that I will be tearing my hair out (or sushi, God I love sushi), but right now I feel better. I've lost weight. I'm thinking clearer and I am adapting. It can be done.
If you have been diagnosed and want to chat with me about it - hit me up via the website. I'd be happy to talk to you about it and offer you encouragement. It is not something to despair over.