I will never forget the complete shock I felt at hearing I had type 2 diabetes. It’s been over thirteen years now. It was completely un-expected. I’ve always carried a few extra pounds all through school, but actually managed to get to a decent weight before I moved away from home to Virginia as a young adult. I know that I’m a stress eater and there is a lot of stress involved in moving 3,000 miles away from the only home you have known, your parents, your friends, and initially I even had to leave my dogs behind. Things didn’t work out with my roommate when I got to Virginia.
Then I met my ex-husband. Things went downhill from there. I ended up dating and then married to him. I’m sure the eating covered up my unhappiness. There really never was a day that I didn’t know that I was in a bad situation, but I just never felt like I had any options. How could I ask my parents to move back home after they had just packed me up and moved me so far away? I have no doubt I turned to food for comfort. I mean I like food. I’ve never been big on exercise because well it’s exercise. As we all know too much food and too little exercise means you gain weight. I just wasn’t prepared for this to lead to diabetes diagnosis.
Initially I did well. I signed up for and attended diabetes education classes. I learned about counting carbs. Being overweight most of my life, I had been to many dieticians and tried various diets where you counted calories and watched your fat intake. This whole carbohydrate thing was new. I lost about 25 lbs. just by cutting back on carbs. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in that a lot of foods low/no carb are also high in cholesterol which caused me to have higher cholesterol on my next bloodwork so I had to take medication for that. I even started Weight Watches as there were meetings held at my work during lunchtime. I did well and managed to lose more weight. I did struggle a bit as their program wasn’t necessarily designed for diabetics. I had to make sure I ate a certain amount of carbs or my blood sugar would be too low. Too low has its own set of complications just as does too high. Around this time my ex-husband went through an extremely bad time with his un-treated bipolar disorder and ended up hospitalized. I was determined to “stand by him” thinking if he just would accept/get the help needed it would make things better. It did not and things continued to spiral out of control.
I got to the highest weight I had ever been in my life. I had suffered over the years with various back problems. I had severe arthritis in my back, two herniated discs, and sciatica. I finally got into a good routine about exercising seven years ago. I lost weight and was feeling better about myself. Then I finally separated permanently from my husband. Again here came the stress eating because there was nothing amicable about our parting and subsequent divorce. In the beginning it was VERY hard. The hardest thing I thought I had ever done. But once I got past the worst of it my only regret was waiting as long as I did.
The next few years I had a lot of ups and downs. There were biopsies and surgery for skin cancer, whooping cough, and another bad sciatica flare up. Two years ago I found a nearby gym that had classes I enjoyed. Apparently I overdid it and the sciatic flare up was the result. Nothing quite like being unable to sleep due to pain. I’m not even sure how I functioned. Plus I had two new puppies to take care of and train. When I feel bad I tend to turn to comfort food and when pain made just daily activities impossible exercise was the furthest thing from my mind. I did manage to painfully drag myself to puppy class every week where the instructors kindly gave me as much help as needed so that the puppies were socialized during their critical development period.
Ten weeks ago I went to my doctor for my routine fasting bloodwork. I knew I hadn’t been doing the best, but I didn’t think I was doing that poorly either. I was in for a huge shock. The worst A1C reading ever. It was over 10! And even more devastating was the news that I had kidney disease too. I was already taking two medications to control my blood sugar. I’m on the maximum recommended dose for both. My doctor started talking about insulin again which I refuse to go on. My doctor reluctantly agreed to give me three months and then re-test my A1C at that time.
I got a new meter so that I could be certain I was tracking my readings in a consistent manner. I also went back to a low/no carb eating plan. I gave up soda again. I started eating fruits and vegetables daily along with lean meats. No more bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, etc. Those foods, more than sweets, had been my downfall. I had the best blood sugar readings I have ever had. I even started to experience some lows so I was able to discontinue one of my medications. When I go back in two weeks for my re-check I’m expecting a much better A1C result this time. I’m not sure why it has taken me this long to make the changes I needed, but I’m glad that I’m on the right path at last.