I can remember it like it was yesterday, my cell phone rang and it was my doctor's office calling with the results of my blood work. "Hi John, we received your test results; are you ready for a moment of truth?" Oh my God! Cancer, heart condition ran through my mind..."Uh yeah" I managed to utter. "You have diabetes, the doctor wants you in to get you started on insulin." She also confirmed my thoughts that I had pneumonia before giving me a time to come in.
This was the perfect ending to the perfect week. Earlier in the week Christine and I were selling our medical alert bracelets, key chains, and other handmade wares at a fair. It was Saturday, the day when sales are the best, except when there's a torrential down-pour that cancels the event for the day. As we entered the parking lot Sunday morning we could see something wasn't right with our tent. It was up-ended by strong winds.
The usual Q & A took place between Christine and I with her having a lot of questions and me having my normal pat answer "I don't know". The main question being why straight to insulin and not managing diet. We got the answer to that when we met with the nurse, the diabetes nurse, and the diabetes specialist. [Observation #1: Your primary care doctor isn't the only person that keeps you healthy. Actually, IMHO they play a small role.] My initial A1C was around 13.6 (normal being around 6).
I was given an insulin pen, showed how to use it. Given dietary plans that limited my carbohydrate intake to 75g per meal. [Observation #2: I was not aware of what I was putting in my body on a daily basis.] This was the real moment of truth for me. I was probably putting 75g of carbs in my body per bite! I needed to regulate my diet if I was going to get this under control.
It was a daunting task avoiding carbs and fats. Oh, I failed to mention that I had a minor stroke a few years prior caused by hypertension from bad eating habits and was watching my salt and fat intake. (Anyone seeing a recurring lifestyle here?) I was at my bi-monthly foot doctor's appointment (ingrown toe nails) when I put it all together. We were talking about my diabetes and he said there's no cheating today and fasting tomorrow. When you over indulge today that's it, the damage is done. He also told me not to worry so much about the fats as the sugar was my main concern. Scared the shit out of me.
[Observation #3: It's hard work being healthy but if you give it your all you can be successful.] I got my A1C tested after 6 months of being on the needle. It was down to 6.3. My nurse, MaryAnn said she has never seen results like that. After a year and a half on the needle I am now off of the insulin. I still watch what I put in my mouth. I can't wait until the weather gets warmer so that Christine and I can get out hiking again.
My most perplexing observation is [Observation #4] that I don't see a lot of people with Type 2 Diabetes wearing a medical alert bracelet. We make and sell stock and custom medical alert bracelets. We make them for peanut, tree nut allergies, autism, FPIEs, liver transplants, Type 1 Diabetes, and many others. I don't know why this is, but it still baffles me. A person with Type 2 Diabetes can be involved in a medical emergency just like any other person. It makes sense to me to alert the first responders that are treating you in order to get the best medical care possible.
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