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“I Wish My Doctor Would Make Me Lose Weight”

No, I didn’t say that.  But a friend of mine did, when we got together recently. We were WW buddies for a long time, many years ago and on and off.  We both started together fifteen years ago, and we’ve seen each other during many ups and downs.   She recently saw her doctor, who was thrilled at her low blood pressure, her stellar cholesterol and triglyceride levels and her perfectly normal blood sugar.  She’s also at a weight that’s very high for her, but her doctor wasn’t concerned and said only, “Lose weight if you want to, but you’re perfectly healthy.” My friend felt really disappointed at not being admonished to lose weight, and feels like she doesn’t feel motivated the way I do, because for me, it’s much more of a health mandate.

So. Should she just relax and not worry about losing weight? But she’s not happy at her weight. Is it difficult for her to lose weight, and harder to find motivation, if it’s not about being healthy? Personally, I feel like being healthy=being fit and being able to move about easily without a thought: climbing stairs, going on hikes, taking walks wherever without a second thought, etc etc. Not to mention more challenging things like sports, boating, etc.

It also makes me really believe that getting diagnosed with diabetes was a true gift to me. Because it DID wake me up, big time, and made me motivated like nothing else has. But I’ve heard that 75% of diabetics are NOT compliant and do NOT lose weight even when it’s recommended. I guess it takes different things for different people.

At this point I feel like I would never, ever, ever go Back to where I was. Now that I am here, I realize that I am truly a happier person when I am feeling healthy and fit and not constantly wrestling with food issues.  Someone commented not too long ago that everything is not solved when we lose weight, and I agree with that. BUT. I truly am overall in a much happier place than I used to be. It used to be that if I had a happy moment, it was a BIG DEAL. They might come once a week or even once a month sometimes. But now, I honestly can say that I feel happy for the large part of every day. I get totally giddy when I hear my favorite songs on the radio (current super happy song: “Strange Overtones” by David Byrne, it cracks me up NO END), I am filled with happy endorphins when I work out, I love my friends and my family. I have a great and meaningful job. It’s all very, very good.

Would I be in this place right now if I hadn’t been scared into it by diabetes? I do not know.

Medicine by Dr. Bruce, and Re-Adjusting

Well, the Day of Wallowing is over. So now begins the week/month/year/lifetime of trying to figure this all out. I want to thank all of you lovely wonderful people who commented, emailed and DMed me yesterday after my distressing/distraught post. I can’t tell you HOW MUCH those comments buoyed me up. Truly. I am grateful, so grateful, to every single one of you. Your comments made me well up with warmth and a sense of being truly taken care of. So THANK  YOU.

Last night it helped immmmmmmmensely to have tickets to see Bruce Springsteen. At first I really didn’t even want to go, I just wanted to – you know – WALLOW – but it seemed stupid to pass up such an event, and I am so glad I didn’t. It was great medicine.  When he started out with “Badlands” –

it aint no sin to be glad you’re alive

it gave me a big lump in my throat. And then he’d yell periodically into the audience, “Is anybody aliiiiiiiiiiive out there?” and I had to jump up and down and yell affirmation to that. I’m still alive! Hell yeah!

I got up in the morning and did my 2nd session, 2nd week of Couch-to-5k with my buddy Mary. It was a lot better and easier than earlier in the week, which was great. So it felt good to start the day with some affirming exercise.

Then later in the day I got down to some of the business of dealing with this diabetes thing.

  • I signed up for a bunch of diabetes-related blogs, forums and Tweets.
  • I registered for Diabetes Education classes, which begin next Tuesday. They said to bring my glucometer (blood testing machine). I have to say, this put a twinge of fear/resistance/oh noooooo into my heart. I had a moment of the heaviness of FOREVER. But then I breathed it through. I really do think this is going to have to be one day at a time.
  • I got an appointment to see the opthamologist this afternoon. I had just read this sobering account of Mary Tyler Moore’s (type 1, not 2) diabetes, and how her vision is really starting to go. This made me so sad and scared, so I was glad they had an immediate appointment.
  • The good news: I don’t have any “vascular complications” in my eyes.
  • The bad news: (watch out, I’m about to rant) The eye doctor asked for my family medical history. I said I didn’t know, because I was adopted. She said, “You’re adopted?? Oh, that’s so cuuuuuute!”  I almost launched into an Arlo Guthrie yell (a la “Alice’s Restaurant”) “Kill! Kiiill! Kiiiiiiiiiiiilllllllllllll!” but I refrained.
  • Rant #2: as if it was’t bad enough being told that being adopted is “cute” it reminded me ONCE AGAIN of the absolute wrongness,  indignity and danger of not having access or knowledge of my family medical history. Now maybe I don’t have a genetic family history of diabetes. But maybe I do. And if I do, and I had, say, KNOWN about it, five years ago, maybe I could have diagnosed/dealt with this even earlier. Who knows. But it just SUCKS so much to have no idea about these things. It is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG in every way possible.
  • I filled my prescription for Glucophage/Metformin and took first dose at dinner tonight.

So, I did everything on my endocroinologist’s check-off list. I bought a book about diabetes.

I’m a little thrown off in terms of the diet thing right now. I think my primary concern is figuring out what to do to keep my blood sugars “under tight control” which is what the opthamologist said I must do if I do not want to go blind. (OK! OK! I will!!!) Hopefully what is good for the blood sugars will also be good for the weight and it will all sort of work itself out. But right now I don’t have it in my to count the points or calories. I’m just sort of hanging on.

D-Day

Diagnosis Day. Diabetes Day. Depressed, discouraged, disgrunted, disappointed day. That’s been today for me.

I know I had some inner inkling from the awfulness of the glucose test on Monday, but part of me was also feeling so confident and happy and proud of myself for losing weight and exercising and just DOING GOOD since my last visit to the endocrinologist in February.

She came right in to the room and said, “Well, I’m sorry to say it, but you definitely have diabetes.”

Clunk.

Umm, what happened to “pre-?” I think that was probably wishful thinking back then. But I did have a few months to get used to the idea and during that time I did get significantly healthier in terms of my weight, blood pressure, cholesterol etc.

I was so shocked (well, part of me was, and part of me was not). And disappointed. And like, “Noooooooooooo!!!!!!! After all of my hard work!!”  Isn’t it supposed to go, that you get rewarded for doing well? This is not the result I was wanting or expecting.

I sort of plaintively, hopefully asked, “Can I make it go away?” and she shook her head sadly and said, “I’m afraid not.”

But most probably I had it all along but it wasn’t until the finality of the glucose test that it was objectively defined.

In January my fasting blood glucose (BG) was 123. (official diagnosis = 125 or over) So that’s where I got the idea it was “pre-.”  In February I had it down to 110 and I was feeling pretty damn good. So now it’s April. My fasting BG was a spectacular 101 (yay!) but that’s where the good news ended. My “postprandial” BG was 272 after 1 hour post-glucose.  (normal is 90-150) It was only a little bit lower after 2 hours. Which explains exactly WHY I felt so deathly awful. It was for real.

I know that millions of people live happily (?) and healthily with diabetes. I know it’s a lot better than other diagnoses one could get. But still, I didn’t want this. I tried so hard to prevent it from happening.

I didn’t much like it when she tested my feet and gave me a prescription to go to an opthamologist and called it a “progressive disease.” I hate the sound of that.

I started crying in the doctor’s office, and then sat in the car and cried for an hour (see my tearful Twitters) and then drove around mournfully for the rest of the morning. I cancelled my visit with my friend because I was just too glum to be able to cheer someone ELSE up. Now I’m going to take a nap. I do feel like I will eventually recover from this, hopefully as early as tomorrow, but today I feel sad and shitty and like rolling up in a little ball and whimpering “It’s not fair.” Which it isn’t, but nothing really is.

I hereby proclaim today Official Day of Wallowing, and tomorrow I get up and carry on.

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