The doctor said it with such a deadpan demeanor: “You have the early stage of diabetes.” I must admit his next few words were not recorded in my shocked mind. Finally I blurted out “Diabetes, Doctor? You sure?”
Let’s go back a few months. I discovered that I had very high blood pressure after a serious nosebleed erupted one morning at work. Subsequent blood tests also revealed high cholesterol. OK, here comes the medication and a few tips on watching diet. No big deal, although the search for an effective combination of medicines took several months. I was feeling good, although deep down I knew I needed to do something about my weight. But really did not do anything about same. Sound familiar?
Back to the doctor visit above. My doctor, a very kind and concerned man, had just told me that he was finally satisfied that my blood pressure was under control. Thus, I was relieved. Until, of course, he dropped the diabetes into the conversation. He then prescribed a medication for help in the control my blood sugar levels. He said his office would set an appointment for me with the local hospital’s diabetes nurse and dietician. He asked if I had any questions. Duh, of course I had questions. The problem was, I had no idea what to ask!
Believe me, that night I burnt up the computer searching for information on diabetes. I soon realized that early stage Type 2 was controllable. I started to learn the terms: glucose, blood sugar, test strips, blood glucose meter, stick your finger, etc. Did I tell you I’m scared of needles? I’m scared of needles. Blood testing with me rates about as high as an ingrown toenail when it comes to choices. I was petrified with having to take my own readings daily.
The first visit to the Nurse and the Dietician came a week later. The nurse explained in detail what I would be required to do. She gave me my glucose meter. She showed me how to use it. She made me use it! And do you know, I survived. I got that first drop of blood from the side of the end of my ring finger. I was very grateful that my loving wife went with me. Besides, she would remember things that were said that I would not.
On to the dietician next. What a nice girl she was. And did she educate me on food. Keeping track of everything you eat was an eye opener for me. Counting carbs was new to me. Holy smokes, eating veggies in the volume required was new to me! Regular exercise now is a routine in my life.
But, as of now, allow me to somewhat gloat: Since I started two weeks ago, I’ve dropped 16 pounds, all my blood sugar daily test results are in the target range given to me, and I am using the glucose meter and the associated pin stick without any problems. Now I wait for my first HgA1c number results.
My initial responses to this diabetic diagnosis, e.g. the fear, anger, denial, and others, have been greatly tempered with the realization that I now live with the life changes dictated by my condition. And so far my journey has been one laced with a sense of accomplishment, on several levels.