52 - On Learning I had Diabetes

A.H. Blackwell

My doctor had told me that I had borderline Diabetes, which is also called Impaired Glucose Tolerance. I was kind of fond of cake and cookies but, apparently, it’s not so much about that as it is about getting older, and being sedentary and a bit overweight, that plus heredity. I didn’t pay too much mind to it because it wasn’t bothering me any. I was on a diet for a while but then I went off it.

I started to get really, really sick. I was tired all the time and rest didn’t help. I couldn’t breathe properly and I had to have the head of my bed raised up at night to help my breathing. My vision got blurry, especially in the morning but also, periodically, throughout the day. I wondered if I was losing my eyesight. I was making more trips to the washroom than I could count. Parts of me started to swell up – my feet and my hands. I went into the doctor and told her I thought I had a heart condition. She took a look at me and all the things that were wrong and said, “Diabetes”. She cut right to the chase and said I had full-fledged Diabetes 2.
Well, darn!

Diabetes seeks out the weaker parts of your body and produces symptoms there.

I had the A1C blood test and, of course, my figures were over the moon. I had to learn everything there was to know about Diabetes now, because that’s the way I am. If something goes wrong, I research it. My first resource was the Internet. I went looking for Diabetes Forums with Chat Rooms and found some. A Microsoft Network group called Diabetes Fun and Friends was very helpful. They were mostly from the southern USA and were very polite about my being from up north in cold country, Canada. I soon found out that there were people out there who had Diabetes symptoms one heck of a lot worse than I did.

I got books to help me understand it all and I learned that Diabetes is a disease where you have some control. You can manage it, and are wise to do so, by watching your diet and your blood count and taking your pills as required. I studied all these books about Diabetes and the symptoms.

What had happened to me with the breathing was edema, Pulmonary Edema and it’s serious.
I had to straighten up and fly right. My diet became very, very strict and I got a blood glucose meter and strips.

I leaned how to punch holes in myself with little jabbing needles and use my strips on the little drops of blood The little test machine turned these blood samples into numbers that meant something.

I couldn’t get my numbers down to where they should be. I tried one medication and I proved to be allergic to it. Tried another but it didn’t work very well. Now, I’m on two kinds of Insulin, one fast-acting which I take around mealtimes and another longer-acting for nighttime. I have to take some warm milk with a bit of honey at night, so my blood sugar doesn’t fall too low then, as that can be dangerous. Diabetes is a progressive disease, so medication use may change over time.

I can’t do too much exercise because I have arthritis but that also acts as an excuse. I have to do as much exercise as I can while avoiding that “No pain, no gain” slogan and easing off when it started to hurt too much. Slow and steady wins the race. Gentle, low impact exercise is a good thing.

Diet is another story. I eat more whole grains now, lots of vegetables and fruit and lean meat in small portions. That part of the treatment is under my control.

I don’t mean this article to be a downer but, rather, an advisory in case someone else out there gets the early symptoms. I want to say it’s not the end of the world. In fact, I’m feeling better now than I have in years, and that’s progress. This is mostly due mostly to diet with some exercise.

I’ve started taking 1000 International Units of Vitamin D daily and my blood sugar counts have improved a lot since I’ve been doing this. We northerners have to watch that we get enough vitamin D because of our long cold winters. Some tests are starting to show that extra vitamin D supplements are effective when you have Diabetes. Better safe than sorry, I say, so I pop that 1000 mgs of vitamin D twice daily, along with a multivitamin, folic acid and calcium supplements.

If you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes bear in mind that coping with the disease through positive strategies will help to rein it in and you’ll definitely feel better for it.

Non-diabetics should note what my doctor says:

“Everyone should eat like a diabetic.”

Wavy Line

© Sonia Brock 2005

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