This morning I sit here with my cup of tea and thoughts about how to give advice to others, who live alone like me, and have been diagnosed with diabetes 2. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a dietician. I’m just a writer with a disease no one can see. I struggle with keeping to a healthy eating plan, exercising, and forgetting to prick my fingers. I push aside the reality of being a diabetic because I feel good…most of the time.
Diabetes Isn’t Curable
The first thing I had to admit to myself is having a disease which cannot be cured. There are drugs which can help keep my numbers at a good level, but there are no magic shots, surgeries, or treatment plans to attack and kill the problem. Diabetes is a disease which lives with you permanently, once it takes up residence. That’s hard to accept, right?
When I was first diagnosed, I was shocked and angry at myself. How had I allowed my love affair with food to get to this point. I was like a lot of people. I thought I had contracted diabetes because I liked to eat and I was a bit overweight. Let me reassure you, this isn’t true! My eating habits didn’t help, but there was a medical reason for my diagnosis.
Ignoring the First Signs of Diabetes or Carbohydrate Intolerance
When I was working in the corporate world, rushing from meeting to meeting, location to location, breakfast was something I grabbed on the run. Early morning meetings started with a continental breakfast, consisting of pastries, fruit, and orange juice, coffee or tea. Then during the meeting, I would find eyelids growing heavy. I fought against falling asleep and couldn’t concentrate on the agenda at hand.
Then came lunch. A quick sandwich from a fast food joint, or a sit down lunch with a friend where the bread and rolls were in abundance. Afternoons plagued me with the same heavy eyelids and struggle to concentrate.
These were the first signs that my body wasn’t able to handle carbohydrates properly. I didn’t think about carbs. I figured carbs were all about sugar. That’s true. But what I forgot was sugar is inherent in most foods in my diet! So eventually I began to skip breakfast. Sometimes I skipped lunch. Ah, you see where I went wrong now, don’t you?
Eating Regularly is a Must When You Have Diabetes
The first thing I learned about living with diabetes is: Eat on a schedule and be consistent with balancing your carbohydrates.
Okay, so I immersed myself in learning what foods were good for me and what were bad. What size portions. Counting carbs. Oh, my! It was overwhelming!! I took classes recommended by my doctor through a local hospital. Education became my focus.
With my personality, need to control and an analytical mind, (yes, even writers have analytical minds which can be a hindrance to creativity–story for another time) I became obsessive about collecting numbers, writing everything down in various formats. I can’t even explain how deeply I focused on this. On seeing what number of carbs worked for me. My fingers were so full of holes I didn’t know how I could continue and still type!
The person I met with for my first interview at the hospital encouraged me to relax. Ha! How could I relax? I had diabetes!
With what I was doing, and walking on the treadmill daily, I brought my A1C down from 6.8 to 6.1 in three months. Good, right? On paper, yes. But I wasn’t eating healthy. I was too tightly bound with counting carbs and keeping them to around 60 gm per day. Not healthy.
But, this post is getting too long, and my tea is getting cold, so I will continue my story and advice tomorrow. Please come back and invite your friends.
I leave today with a simple prayer. “Almighty God, I thank you for loving me, for being patient with me, and for never leaving me. You are my rock on which I stand, my shelter through the storm. I ask for You to give me the words to help others who are struggling with caring for the bodies you gave us when faced with challenges. I pray for blessings upon those who are praying this prayer with me today. In the name of Jesus. Amen.”