Almost 4 years ago, I found out something that changed my life forever.
I was at work and my heart was beating too fast. A co-worked confirmed this for me by checking my pulse. He took me to the ER. They did all the test and said that my blood sugar was high and that I needed to see a specialist about being pre-diabetic. I was upset with myself and told only 2 of my close girlfriends who gave me some encouraging words about how it was all reversible with some hard work. So I ate salads, worked out, and focused on my health. Eventually, I fell off my routine and by the time I was back at the doctors, my diagnosis was confirmed. I had Type 2 Diabetes.
I didn’t tell anyone except my older brother. I usually call him about the big stuff and being the great bother he is (Happy Birthday today btw), he kept my secret. He also gave me that big brother pep talk about getting my crap together. His own fitness journey was one I admired but I hadn’t whipped my self into shape yet. Instead, I got angry and depressed. But mostly, I felt embarrassed. I didn’t tell my mom for over 2 years and didn’t my boyfriend until a few months into our relationship.
Diabetes has all types of stigmas namely because so many people have it. Everybody’s grandma or great uncle has it. We’ve heard our aunties holler for a piece of candy cause her sugar is low (That’s type 1). The disease even has a nickname “The Sugars.” The stigmas are that the person is lazy or just needs to lose weight. That a little of this won’t kill you or a little of that is fine.. It isn’t looked at like an actual disease that has physical and mental consequences on the carrier. And losing weight doesn’t cure the disease. There are plenty of skinny diabetics.
However, diabetes had wrecked my quality of life. Between constant yeast infections (TMI? But you opened the blog) and a total zap of energy, not to mention the headaches and the constant diarrhea. Also, my body flipped out and I had a period for 8 months straight! Not only do I have to be considerate of food but diabetes causes your body to heal slowly. So I have to avoid cuts or bruises because I’m more prone to infection. And that thing about your feet getting cut off, that’s real. But if this thing really doesn’t get under control, I risk falling into acoma, kidney failure, heart failure, or even death.
There are lots of studies and opinions about what can be done to reverse diabetes. Of course, getting healthier is the best thing a diabetic can do. The idea is this: Type 2 Diabetics have too much sugar (glucose) in their blood. The body does not make or use insulin well. Insulin is supposed to help glucose get into your cells to give them energy. No insulin means the sugar stays in your blood. So no energy and lots of complications. There is no known cure for Type 2 Diabetes but it can be controlled and in some cases, it goes into remission.
Just like any disease, the doctors have to test things out to see what helps control the disease. It’s different for each person. Currently, I take a high dose of medicine twice a day. It’s painful on the stomach and causes diarrhea. I also monitor my blood sugar by pricking my finger and checking the blood. That helps me to see if the food I ate is bad for me. Diabetics can’t just eat fruits and veggies because fruit is high in sugar also. I eat only during certain hours and I maintain a diet. Exercising is hard because I often feel tired and my feet hurt easily.
My fear is that they’ll have to increase my meds because I’m not doing enough. Or I’ll have to start taking insulin by needle. I’m afraid that I’ll lose a limb or that something will give out on me. I’m afraid I’ve only got about 30 years of life left. I’m afraid I’ll fall into acoma. The panic attacks have sent me to the hospital more than ones. I’m thankful for the support circles I’ve joined on FB and a supportive family who helps me avoid the junk.
To live a long and healthy life, I gotta suck it up and do what needs to be done. This disease is preventable but it starts early. We must avoid processed food that is loaded with sugars and eat balanced meals that include protein and veggies. Also, it’s best to adopt a healthy lifestyle at an early age. Who wants to reverse when you can prevent?
So now that I’ve shared one of my big secrets, I can only hope it helps someone to avoid all that I’m dealing with. My life will never be normal because of this disease but I’m committed to making it the best life possible.