Monday, September 29, 2014

Diabetic

It's just a little prick
You know it’s coming. You know the diagnosis before you hear the words and you know it’s not going to be easy to hear but you know. How could you not? You’ve seen the signs for years now, you just didn’t want to have those fears acknowledged.

You knew it the moment you finally went in for your physical (at the end of the calendar year, as if postponing it to the latter part of the year would make the diagnosis easier to hear). You knew it the moment the blood tests were ordered and you knew it as you watched your sugary blood fill the vials.

Sure, it’s easy to say to yourself that it’s not going to be difficult and it’s probably going to be easier to finally shed some of the weight you’ve added on since starting one of the many “lifestyle” food changes you’ve started and stopped in the past 2 years. You’ve watched countless of celebrities, friends and family members shed the weight after their diagnoses so this is a good thing, right?

You know the answer to the rhetorical question even as you ask it. You know that it matters little how much you “hope” and “wish” and “try” to stop eating the foods that will inevitable cause your demise but you ask it anyway. You ask it because you cling to the hope that one day you’ll actually find the trick that will show on the scale, the clothes you wear, the mirror.

You know that your fight with food is not just of your own doing. It has been a battle since your first pregnancy where you craved hot fudge sundaes and sweet tea. Since you were in college and binged on late-night drive-thru tacos and burgers. Since high school where salads weighed 3 lbs and were laden with everything on the salad bar drenched in thousand island dressing. Since junior high school where greasy pizzas were the lunchroom norm with a large Dr. Pepper and homemade peanut butter bars.

Your fight with food has been a long one. Perhaps not as arduous as others’ but nonetheless tiring. You’ve watched yourself slow down. Sit longer. Eat more. Sleep more. Battle with depression, anger and self-loathing more. You’ve battled it without expectation of success because really, who has truly succeeded at winning a battle against sugar? Yes, there are the success stories and many are friends or friends of friends or those people who friend you on Facebook because they knew you in high school and they’ve succeeded. They’ve lost a kajillion pounds and they’re healthy and running marathons and winning at life while you’re sitting at your desk miserably avoiding the mocha creamer because it has 9g of Carbs and you hate yourself for knowing that so well.

Image courtesy: Lynn County Hospital District
You’re not surprised at the outpouring of support from family and friends who say things like, “You can do it” and “We’re in it with you” when you know that while well-meaning, it’s not any more helpful than the doctor telling you, “you’re a diabetic but I know you can win this fight.” You know they mean well and truly care for your well-being. You know they want the best for you but you don’t see that right now. You see the pantry full of Chef Boyardee cans, pasta and cake boxes, potato chips, soda, chocolate candies and the nutella spread you would gladly eat straight out of the jar in giant soup-spoon portions because it’s chocolate and peanut butter and you have no self-control. You see the sweet brisk tea cans in the fridge next to the water you’re supposed to drink.

Then you remember the way your sister looked after a sugar spike. How scared her children were despite knowing that mom’s sugar spikes from time to time and she’s battled worse but the fight with sugar is harder than the fight with the cancerous cells in her body. You realize that if you have to drink more water, stop eating the white stuff: bread, potatoes, rice and check your blood sugar at dinner with a Metformin chaser, you’re going to avoid scaring your children as well. You may even fit into the clothes you refuse to buy yourself now because really, what’s the point of having clothes that shrink every month.

You start to think about what the physical changes in your body will mean to your love life. What they’ll mean to your marriage. What a healthier body will mean to your children who fight their own sugar battles a lot younger than you. You realize that being a diabetic could affect change in their bodies by eating healthy along with you.

It’s a fight and it’s one you have to face alone despite the support from friends and family because in the end, it’s you, your mouth and that chocolate cake in the fridge you have the face.

You hate that you’re now “that” person who has to decline sweets at a birthday party while acknowledging that you don’t really like cake all that much. You accept that you have to do the things you ask your spouse to do because if you don’t do them, the one that gets hurt is you. You gird your flabby loins in preparation for this sugar battle and you don’t hope you’ll succeed. You go in glucose guns blazing and shoot down all of those poor choices knowing you’ll likely take some hits in the process. Eventually, you’ll get smaller and make for a smaller target.

You do what you have to to survive and if that means pricking your finger once a day, eating less and getting your ass out of your office chair, then you do it. Not because failure’s not an option. Not because you’re going to fight to live another day. You do it because no one can do this for you and if you don’t, next year’s diagnoses will include high blood pressure, enlarged heart, arteriosclerosis or worse.

You’re a diabetic. Suck it up, suck it in and fight!