For eight years, I've been aware of it lurking just around the corner. After my youngest child was born, I've known it was only a matter of time. I had the gestational variety, my parents have it, three out of four of my grandparents have or had it. I come by it honestly, I suppose.
Yup, I got the diagnosis today. Type two diabetes.
Knowing something is probably inevitable didn't make it any easier, really, to hear the doctor grunt when my labs came back for my annual physical. I've been hovering around the high end of normal blood sugar levels for eight years, the weight just kept creeping up, no matter how much I worked at it, my cholesterol fluctuates between barely controlled and Big Pharma time. And I've taken blood pressure meds for several years now. In general, I've been heading south slowly for while now, and I've been expecting it.
But still....you always hope that, maybe, your body will cooperate for once and your genetics will sit down and shut up in the back of the endocrine system. Because I LIKE the way I eat and the lifestyle I have. And now I need to change it.
How hard can this be, really? I've been trying to eat well balanced diet, mostly vegetarian, with an eye towards limiting my pizza and gummy worms binges, for years. I try to avoid empty calories and watch the carbs. But now, as my kid says, the shit just got real. No excuses allowed when you're under the watchful, benevolent supervision of the blood sugar monitor. Even though I'm not going to have to alter my diet too much, I'm finding myself looking through my cupboards, wondering what will betray me, what will tempt me, and how long has THIS been in here???
My husband's hobby is homebrewing. He makes wonderful, creative craft brews and I am his chief taste adviser and primary, grateful consumer. He is a recovering alcoholic, but loves nothing more than watching me drink down a frothy pint of his latest batch. And he's a prolific producer, always with a batch going. I may still be his taster, and quaff an occasional glass, but i seems now like this sweet little thing we've shared together for years isn't going to be a part of my new normal.
Diet was the first topic of discussion, and I was able to deal with that. But the second topic of discussion was the "E" word. And I started to freak a little.
I hate exercise for the sake of exercise. I wasn't always this way. Heck, I was something of an athlete in my twenties, and even in my mid thirties, still ran the occasional 5k. But in the last five or six years, I've grown to hate it. It hurts all the time, and I always felt bad after a session at the fitness center. Plus, I bunged up a knee good and proper two years ago, and it never healed up quite right.
You see, I've got arthritis in my lower back, and vigorous exercise kicked the discomfort up a few notches every time. And, with the help of a allergist this year, I discovered that I've been compensating for chronic asthma for the last decade or so, and I've really only effectively got about 70% of my lungs working right. All of this, piling on top of each other, plus my general reluctance to go see doctors for chronic things, because, well....I guess I'm kinda stupid that way. Maybe its a hold over from decades of no health insurance. I hate exercise.
Anyway....I walk. My exercise consists of a gentle stroll with the Terrier of Doom once or twice a day, and that, according to the doctor, isn't going to cut it in my new normal. Must walk harder and faster, says she. And then she invited me to join her regular golf foursome. She's just looking for an excuse to run me all over the course, because she knows from my being on the foursome last year that I'm a lousy golfer.
So...so far my new normal is marked by food paranoia and a deep dread of the exercise aches and pains to come. Oh yes, and lancets. Why the heck does poking the end of your finger hurt so damn much? My daughter was somewhat alarmed to find me in the kitchen, glaring at my left ring finger, and barking: "Bleed, you bastard!"
If millions of people in America can deal with this, then I can deal with this. I'm privileged to have health insurance now, and a program of health maintenance assistance available to me. Unlike many folks struggling with the expense of this chronic illness, I do not think I will wind up reusing lancets or skipping monitoring to conserve test strips. We do not live in a food desert and I have many good diet choices available to me. I live in a quiet, rural town with some lovely walking and biking paths nearby, and trails for snowshoeing in the winter when walking will suck. I am not working more than one job at this time, and my kids are pretty self sufficient most of the time. I am surrounded by people in my community who are dealing with this same disease, and there are local support groups available. I'm a good candidate for controlling my blood sugar strictly with diet and exercise, meaning I probably won't wind up on insulin.
Overall, my new normal isn't all that different. But right now, watching my husband and daughter share a tub of ice cream and chase each other's spoons around, giggling...well, I'm not much liking my new normal, thank you very much. And I didn't appreciate my old normal enough when I had it.
Thanks for letting me vent.