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The Scarlett Letter

Medic Alert Bracelet with purple symbol
Medic Alert Bracelet with purple symbol
And the letter of the day is…D.

I haven’t written in the blog much over the last several months, not because I haven’t been knitting, but because I have been obsessed with a new aspect of my life. Well, it’s not so new. But my approach is. I suppose I ought to explain.

In October 2010, on the same day that my beloved cat Tegan passed away, of all things, my doctor looked me squarely in the eye, without an ounce of sympathy and quite a bit of sternness in her voice, and handed me a diagnosis of diabetes. Knowing as I did that I was going to have to leave her office and go straight to the vet with my cat to put her to sleep, the simple words that she used hit me like a slap. Not that I wasn’t expecting them. I had been “pre-diabetic” for a number of years and knew that my blood sugars had been inching in the wrong direction for some time. I’ve heard that with diet and exercise, some people can reverse the outcome of pre-diabetes and somehow not develop the full-on disease. I am neither a food zealot nor an exercise guru, as I am fairly convinced it would have taken both extremes to change any outcomes for me. So, whether the doctor in question intended the outcome to make me feel this way or not, I started feeling as if the reason why I have diabetes was My Fault.

Nevermind that I have a strong family history of diabetes on both sides of my ancestry. Nevermind that I was insulin dependent, despite healthy eating, during my second pregnancy. Somehow I felt as if I had failed the pre-diabetes entrance exam and brought this disease wholly upon myself.

What I realized recently, after making even more lifestyle changes and taking oral medications that were making me feel sick, Is that while I can take responsibility for having made some poor eating choices in my past, and will probably never be perfect in that regard, I can’t always control what my body does with the food I eat. And guess what? I’ve found out that even if I have a “perfect” food day, or a run of near-perfect days, my blood sugar’s still too high. And so maybe? Just maybe, it’s not really all my fault.

So, I decided that it’s time to give my body what it really needs–insulin. I don’t know why so many people jump through so many hoops to avoid doing the insulin thing. Maybe I’m weird that I don’t mind giving myself the shots. But, the truth is, I do feel better since doing them.

Still, there are many things about having diabetes that clearly suck.

  • While I don’t mind having to take insulin shots, I do mind having to stop what I’m doing to take them. (Like I said, I’m weird.) Yeah, they come in a pen-like dispenser and I don’t have to draw up syringes anymore, but still. Dinner arrives and I want to dig in, but wait–I have to shoot up.
  • French fries are not my friends. Damnit.
  • Chocolate cake… le sigh… see above. Double Damnit.
  • My most recent jewelry acquisition? My brand-new, shiny titanium medic-alert bracelet. Ok, so I managed to incorporate my favorite color and a peace sign, making the most un-cool bracelet in the world kinda cool, but still. Isn’t the big red “D” on my forehead enough? (Wait, you can’t see it? It’s there… I can feel it as a constant reminder. I just know it is…)
  • Pasta… I miss you. I’ve found low carb options that are basically tasteless and “miracle noodles” that look kinda scary and I’m afraid to open them because they look like giant tentacles suspended in liquid and I’m afraid they might actually be alive. (Shudder.)

Despite all of this, which clearly sucks–I’ve said that, right? It clearly sucks. I am determined somehow to make friends with diabetes. It’s that, or be miserable and resentful for the rest of my life. And yeah, right now, I feel that way a lot of the time, especially while it’s all so new and my insulin levels still aren’t quite right enough to give me even one “normal” day. Not yet. But it’s inching in the right direction, I hope. And I’m learning a lot about myself in the process. I’m not happy about it and patience and understanding, rather than blaming the fat girl for her own poor fate, are much appreciated. I can’t say I’m happy about the new club I’ve joined. But I’m looking forward to the day when I can feel at least a little bit normal again. It’s coming… I only hope it’s soon.

And, in the meantime? At least I’ve got my knitting.

2 responses to “The Scarlett Letter”

  1. Datagoddess Avatar

    You too, huh? *hugs and sympathy*

  2. Dina Avatar

    Dear Trish,
    I so understand how you feel as I felt the exact same way. I totally blame myself for getting diabetes and no one can convince me otherwise. I fatted myself into it. And I don’t even have a strong family history – only one grandmother who had it and I’m not sure if hers was juvenile or type 2 diabetes.

    I took Januvia for one month then lost my cobra so can’t afford it anymore. I’m not taking my glipizide even though I’m supposed to because I simply never think to take a pill before a meal. It’s infuriating to have to do so. I wish I could remember. I could set a reminder alert but the problem is, I still don’t eat at the same time every day. Habits are HARD to break!

    I think you’re doing very well – it sounds like you are really trying and making the right eating choices. Good for you!

    I look forward to seeing you next weekend,

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