My New Life as a Diabetic
It's been an interesting few weeks since I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. When the doctor told me how high my blood sugar levels were, he remarked that I was lucky I was diagnosed now before I ended up in the hospital. Yeah, my sugar was high. I've also probably had diabetes for awhile and simply didn't notice the symptoms. Out of 30.3 million adults with diabetes, 7.2 remain undiagnosed.
I thought I had to make extreme, drastic changes to my lifestyle or that I would somehow feel more delicate or abnormal because I have this disease. Oddly, I hardly feel any different than before I visited the doctor on that life-changing day. It feels a little surreal that I have to prick my fingers with my lancet a couple of times a day, every day, to monitor my blood sugar and it feels surreal that I take insulin at the same time every night.
I guess I'm more aware of how certain carbs will affect my glucose levels and if that cut on my foot will get infected, turn into gangrene and will have to be amputated. Maybe I'll end up going blind or getting heart disease or have a stroke. Maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but I'd be lying if I said these things didn't sit in the back of my mind on a regular basis.
But like I said, other than that, I hardly feel any different. Except for the weight gain.
Ah...the weight gain.
See, my body is holding a lot more water and I gained nearly 5 pounds in a week. My thighs, face, arms, and stomach got puffier and of course, my clothes got a little tighter. As I'm writing this, I've lost two of those five pounds and want to lose an additional 15 before my next vacation.
I've wondered if being diabetic would change the way I cooked, created recipes or even ran this website. In a way, yes, it does, but not entirely. I realize that any recipe I make may not be suitable to people who aren't diabetics and probably won't be used to the small changes I've made so far in my diet such as the use of noncaloric sweeteners instead of agave or honey. Otherwise, I don't think much would change. I'm allowed to have all types of food, I just have to adjust my portion sizes depending on the food. Soda is a definite no-no and I'm still not clear on if or how I'm allowed to have alcoholic beverages (wine doesn't count, lol). So for now, I'm staying away from anything that's not conducive to my goal to get off of medication.
Like I said...I hardly feel any different...I guess.
Also, finding a nutritionist or a certified diabetes educator, within my insurance network, has been challenging. Hopefully, I find one soon.
Becoming a figure competitor has been another goal I've longed to reach and I'm not sure how this disease affects competitors or would-be competitors. I've spoken with a type-1 diabetic who said she checks her blood sugar all of the time and certain exercises drive her blood sugar way up and some way low. Otherwise, I don't know any type-2 diabetic competitors. If you do, send them my way. I'd love to speak with them on how they manage this disease plus prepping for a competition. Luckily, my trainer is also an RN and has worked with diabetic clients, so we're being careful with my training plan. But, I'm not sure if worrying about competing is the best thing for me health-wise right now. Maybe my primary concern should only be getting my blood sugar in check first.
To be honest, everything feels so blurred together. From the advice from diabetics, family, friends, doctors, etc., it can be overwhelming to receive so much information at once. Of course, I'm appreciative because no one wants me to suffer the dire consequences of being diabetic, but sometimes, I just need time alone to process even the smallest of changes in my life. There's no one more worried about how diabetes will affect my life going forward than me. No one. Even if I don't show it openly, there's no one more ready to do whatever is necessary to "reverse" diabetes than me. (Yes, I know diabetes can't truly be cured. I'm referring to being off medication).
Career-wise, I'm considering becoming a Certified Diabetes Educator. I study Nutrition Education, so, who better to teach the public about diabetes than someone who has it and has an educational background related to it? I've always wanted to help and inspire others to become their healthiest selves, even as I work towards that too. This is just another way for me to do that.
There's a lot of uncertainty right now. But I have one goal right now -- lower my blood sugar. Thankfully, I have the support and will to do that. At this point, I'm just taking things one day at a time.
Maybe I do feel different after all.