A Kick in the Right Direction!

message-1485631_960_720So…

I’m 50+ diagnosed with diabetes.

I say “diagnosed”.  In other words, the doctors finally put it in writing.

I wasn’t shocked.  I knew it was possibly coming.  My great grandmother was diabetic as were my grandmother and mother.  My sisters are both diabetic. Now I have it.  I’ve had it longer than I am willing to admit.

My family always joked that “we have genetically superior taste buds and that is why every thing tastes so good to us!”  We genuinely love how food tastes! (Anyone that loves food probably has heightened bud senses.  Kinda like Spidey senses… only for your taste buds!)  Food was just a way of life for us.  We PLAN meals.  We couldn’t wait to try a new recipe or restaurant.  We LOVE food!

My diabetic mother and grandmother seemed to eat whatever they wanted. If they wanted a piece of fudge or cookie or cake, they ate it.  In the backroom, however, they were giving themselves extra insulin to do so. Diabetes wasn’t a big deal.  They managed to live into their late 70’s or early 80’s with the disease and still could eat pies, dessert bars and candies.  It wasn’t going to be a big deal if any of us kids got it.  Looking back, I’m a fairly bright person, but how na├»ve could I have been to think that?

The truth of the matter is that I’d been testing my fasting glucose for years.  My family history of diabetes made me check my blood glucose levels every once in a while. It was a little over 125 for many years.  I knew any results from 100 to 125 had me in the “prediabetic” category.  In my mind, that was never a worry.  I didn’t have “DIABETES”.  I can shape up and get back down to below 100.  “No problem.”  So I carried on with my usual eating habits with my love for bread and cookies.

Right before my annual physical, I would watch my diet and take cinnamon hoping that high blood glucose wouldn’t show on any urine or blood tests.  Then they got wise and started testing my A1C.  That test came back “a little high”.

I watched my fasting glucose creep up to 130… 140… 150.  I watched my A1C rise. The doctors still hadn’t come outright and said “you are a diabetic” only that I had “readings consistent with diabetes” and so I didn’t consider myself to have it.  I was always told “your sugar and your A1C is a little high. You need to eat fewer carbs”.  What did that mean exactly? I didn’t even know what carbs were!  Nor did I care much if it meant reading a lot of labels and calculations and dealing with NUTRITION.  I was a successful, young(ish) professional!  WHO has time to do that?  Plus, I hated anything that smelled like math!

Looking back, I realized that I was pretty uninformed about diabetes… and buried my head in the sand not wanting to hear it.  There wasn’t really any patient information on diabetes or nutrition coming from my doctors… except a few pamphlets, if I had bothered to pick them up off the rack.  Nowadays you can look up plenty on the internet, but it is a muddy mess if you are not READY to understand it.

Too, being an educator I know that people learn different ways!  Some have to read it.  Some have to hear it.  Some have to do it.  Some have to have a mixture of those.  I was in the “do” category.  Unless someone SHOWS me what I need to do, it doesn’t exactly sink in.  Or, I need to “hear” it.  The pamphlets and even the internet just flew over my well educated head.  And, I was also turning the proverbial blind eye to the subject of diabetes.  I couldn’t ever SAY the word. Don’t say it then you don’t have it.  It bewilders me that a rational person (and I am) would even think that!

I’ve now watched my sisters’ diabetes move into “insulin resistance” category.  They started out like me.  Watch diet. Then… take a pill. (Point I’m at now and refuse to move further.) They then moved up to…take insulin.  Then… take other sugar eliminating or sugar curbing medications. Then… came the inexplicable and uncontrollable blood sugar numbers!  They were termed by their doctors as “insulin resistant”. How can that be? My mother and grandmother were never insulin resistant.  Their blood glucose numbers were managed even with the sneaking of some sweet treats now and then.  Or maybe they were and were just terrific at hiding it behind their insulin shots.  Plus, I’m not sure there was a name for it back then.

I’m currently in the non-insulin diabetic phase.  If I don’t do something about it I will be on insulin and possibly heading toward insulin resistance.

I resolved to go to see a specialist in diabetes.  Admitting you have a problem REALLY IS THE FIRST STEP!  What I was told and shown (because I learn that way) has changed my life!  She unequivocally told me that I am diabetic and headed toward insulin and possible insulin resistance unless I straightened up my eating habits.  I may still be headed toward insulin due to the abuse of my pancreas and my genetic history.  (I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.)

Today, I better understand what that disease does and why I want to get control over mine.

I can also finally say IT (diabetes) out loud… and I’M IN CONTROL!

To that end, I also realized I could benefit my sisters in their education of low carbs forever!  We could do it together.  I also realized… why stop there?  There are others out there that are surely in our situation that could benefit from what the three sisters discover along the way.

So thank you if you made it through this epic opening story as it is important that you know where I am coming from.  I’m not a doctor.  I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a chef. I’m just someone who wanted to understand and not let diabetes (and I as I would soon learn… Metabolic Syndrome) debilitate their life.

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