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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 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. 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.

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Comment Preferences

  •   Good luck! I hope you get a handle on it. (12+ / 0-)

    I just had a knee replaced and had to be on coumadin for a month with finger pokes every 3 days.   Got chewed out by a tech  when I was bemoaning the horror.   Took me right down.
    She glared at me and asked how I'd like to have it every day for the rest of my life.   I recovered enough to thank her before I left.

    I have to watch my diet really well.   Diabetes all over my fametily and one of my brothers so far.   But so far so good.   And then I married a man with diabetes all through his family.
    So far only one daughter and that controlled.

    Check out cinnamon.    I have a young friend whose doc told him to try a teaspoon of cinnamon a day----cut his sugar in half.    Maybe one of the reasons I've escaped so far is that I loooooove cinnamon and put it in or on everything I can.

    Hugs and best wishes.


    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by maybeeso in michigan on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 07:11:10 PM PDT

  •  Just for the record (6+ / 0-)

    canned, unsweetened applesauce....

    it is an abomination.

    Maybe I'll add some cinnamon.

    Nobody is normal because everyone is different- my eight year old daughter

    by left rev on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 07:18:55 PM PDT

    •  The stuff's pretty disappointing. n/t (4+ / 0-)

      It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

      by karmsy on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 07:34:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Make your own. (6+ / 0-)

      WORLDS of difference.

      Cinnamon, cardamom, and mace, and when you cook it up, a splash of white wine.

      It is what it is. It will be what I make it.

      by Alexandra Lynch on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 09:57:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So make it palatable. Make it GOOD. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phonegery, mapamp, left rev, mali muso

      Maybe this is an area where you and your husband can experiment and have some fun. There are more types of apples out there than I can keep track of, and I live in Washington, from whence comes much of the West Coast's apple crop. If you don't like canned applesauce, make fresh applesauce, and add your cinnamon to that. Try tossing some freshly grated nutmeg in, too. How about using a variety of apples that taste good together, some tart and some sweet? There are all sorts of things to try. And when you find a recipe that works for yourself, can that and you'll have something a million times better than Mott's could ever come up with.

      Also, applesauce canned in glass jars tastes better than applesauce canned in plastic or metal.

      Organ donors save multiple lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me and in others. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate and sign up to give others the gift of life.

      by Kitsap River on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 10:45:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dried apples are good too. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tobendaro, mapamp, left rev

        A little sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and a long time in a dehydrator.  If you finish them in the oven, you can get some of the slices dried to the crunchy stage.

        A balance board is surprisingly good form of exercise, very gentle.  Two minutes here, 5 there, it can add up over the course of a day.

        (If you get your dried apples to the crunchy stage, you will need extreme willpower to crunch just one.  Failing that, you will need to spend a lot more time on the balance board.)

        Democrats - We represent America!

        by phonegery on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 11:05:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  All the best. n/t (5+ / 0-)

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 07:33:51 PM PDT

  •  Best of luck. American ag policy strikes again. (14+ / 0-)

    As a physician I read a lot of dry professional journal articles, but occasionally I catch something a bit more vivid. One of the best lines I've come across was in an article about the frightening rise of obesity and type 2 diabetes among teenagers growing up in the age of videogames and Mountain Dew.

    "Becoming obese is a normal and expected response to the contemporary American environment".

    America's insane agriculture policies have cultivated a 'grocery environment' in which fresh broccoli and tomatoes are too expensive to eat, but McDonald's burgers and Sugary caffeinated soda pop are damn near free.

  •  {{{{left rev}}}} (4+ / 0-)

    My day is coming.  It might already be here, but I keep putting off the doctor's appointment.

    Thanks for my heads up.  I'll make an appointment tomorrow.

    Peace, Hope, Faith, Love

    by mapamp on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 08:48:06 PM PDT

  •  well at least you have insurance (6+ / 0-)

       I don't, and since my diagnosis I pretty much gave up on being able to get it at least until 2014 when the mandate and subsidies kick in. I never thought that at my age  I would be looking forward to being 65 so I can get Medicare but here I am with twelve years to go.

         Just try to do the best you can and take it one day at a time.  You just need to live your life as well as you can and appreciate what is good in your life. Don't beat yourself up if you're not perfect but know that you can make your situation improve. Easier said than done; my brother who was diagnosed a year before me became an exercise fanatic while I have to push myself sometimes. It was easy for me to give up alcohol (doesn't mix well with metformin, the commonly prescribed drug for type 2) but I can still enjoy my coffee (usually with nonfat milk, not cream and without real sugar or honey....)

    I'm not a Limousine Liberal; I am a Prius Progressive

    by Zack from the SFV on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 09:48:16 PM PDT

  •  May I suggest... (5+ / 0-)

    my diary "Living Well with Type 2 Diabetes"? It won a kOscar for best teaching diary last year and I've been told by several that it's helpful. (That's all I can ask; that's what I wrote it for.) I have been living with Type 2 diabetes since 1995.

    You needn't hurt your finger every time you want to test your blood glucose. There are alternate test sites (usually the forearm) that don't have the density of nerve endings that your fingers do, and which hurt a whole lot less. You do have to test, several times a day, but there's no reason you have to be in the maximum possible pain to do it.

    There are also  good medications out there if you aren't able to control your blood glucose strictly with diet and exercise, or if the time comes when you no longer can. It's not a failing on your part if either is the case so don't think it is. Insulin is one; there are quite a few others, oral medications which have the distinct advantage of not requiring needles to get into your body. I am on four orals and had to supplement with insulin when I got out of the hospital after my transplant, because high doses of Prednisone (used in my case for one of my anti-rejection medications) will play holy havoc with your blood glucose,  but I'm on less Pred these days so I need insulin less. I supplement with it when needed but don't have to use it all the time. My physician would prefer that my first line of defense be my oral medications, because I (and he) have known for years now that diet and exercise simply aren't enough in my case; they never were, even at the beginning.

    Please feel free to ask me anything about Type 2 and I'll do my best to answer. I'm not a professional, just a patient, but I'm an experienced patient. My last A1c was 5.2.

    Organ donors save multiple lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me and in others. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate and sign up to give others the gift of life.

    by Kitsap River on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 10:38:06 PM PDT

  •  good luck. diet and exercise can work, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mapamp, left rev

    but, according to my DH's GP, most people can't maintain the discipline.  He was amazed the DH did so well, so quickly, but Himself is a) stubborn, b) stubborn, and c) stubborn.

    He bike rides 25-30 minutes twice a day, 7/365, unless he's literally too sick to stay upright.  I try to do ca. 30 min a day to keep my BP under control, that's MY family demon.

    He was extremely lucky that adjusting his diet, and keeping track of it, was something we've done off and on for years while working on weight issues, so he was used to it.  He doesn't mind weighing portions, and is still keeping the daily intake records; among other things, it makes it possible for him to allow himself occasional "junk food" meals, and to plan for eating on trips.  (Of course, his idea of junk food is a plain-and-dry hamburger (just the meat & bun), and a small fry (ca 2oz.) from the local Dairy Queen.  And was before the Type 2 appeared.)

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 11:56:02 PM PDT

  •  Type II Diabetes is why I can't go home..   (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    swampyankee, tobendaro, mapamp, left rev

    Were I to return to the US I'd have instant medical bills for medication and monitoring I could never cover. Maybe some day I can come home, but chances are that day will never come.

    But I got to visit for a couple days last year for the first, and likely last, time in 16 years. I was fortunate to get that and will always cherish it.


    Liberals see George Orwell's 1984 as a cautionary tale. Conservatives see it as a blueprint.

    by DiegoUK on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 12:04:24 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for the supportive comments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zack from the SFV

    and the good advice. I know I've joined a not so exclusive club of millions, and I'll be fine once I finish whining and start living it up with a healthier attitude.

    Nobody is normal because everyone is different- my eight year old daughter

    by left rev on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 06:01:26 AM PDT

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