Saturday, August 18, 2007


The best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest and air
Exercise and diet
These six will gladly you attend
If only you are willing
Your mind they'll ease
Your will they mend
And charge you not a shilling

-Nursery rhyme quoted by Wayne Fields
"What the River Knows Best"

Well, I went to my Diabetics Basics class last Wednesday, and came out feeling better about my new adventures with diabetes. I was hoping that once I get my numbers under control, and kept them there for a while, I might possibly reverse things.I had read somewhere, when Elvis was first diagnosed with it, that with proper care, sometimes felines can do that. So why can't humans...right? Well, no, that's not quite how it works for we humans. My health education teacher tells me that "once you are diagnosed diabetic, you're always diabetic." Drat. As much as that disappointed me, I accepted it. What can I do? Well, I can sit here and feel damned sorry for myself because of all that's happened this year, or I can just do my best to look for what I can do to make this latest bit of nonsense less hurtful.

The class I took was a lot different then any other health education classes I had taken. For one thing, I was the youngest of the 20 or so in the class. Something else that was different, was that there was only 4 females, and the rest were men! I had no idea the ratio would be so high. I wonder if diabetes affects more men then women? I am going to look into that. It was hard not to start sobbing as the class began, for some reason I began to feel very, very human just then. I managed to focus, and fight it all back. As I sat there, listening and absorbing the information, I kind of looked at the others around me... just to see how everyone else was doing. We were a glum bunch to say the least. Frowns all around. As the time moved along, we all seemed to find our own comfort zones, but you could tell that one or two of those who were there, would have rather been having a nice, painful root canal.

I have to admit, I felt a good bit of negativity towards one person, who decided it was a good idea to purchase a bag of Cheetos, and a bag of Skittles, and eat them in front of the rest of us, while the instructor was trying to speak to the class on portion control and carbohydrate intake. Sigh. Of course his laughing out loud at the teachers response to his suggestion that instead of taking glucose tablets if our blood sugar drops, a nice candy bar would taste better, truly brought me nearly to the end of my tolerance. I didn't say anything, however, even when he decided to talk on his cell phone during a short slide show on the food pyramid.

I know it wasn't my place to scold this man, he was an adult, and as I sat there contemplating why he was acting so disrespectful towards everyone, I realized how frightened he must have been about his condition. I don't think he has accepted having diabetes. He hasn't finished the inevitable grieving we all go through, when we are thrust into situations we don't see coming. And maybe my anger towards him, was just me finally getting really mad, about the whole thing. Yes, I was in the anger stage. As I thought about the possibility, I felt my shoulders relax... I think I was onto something. The rest of the class went well, and when it was done, Alan and I went out to dinner. It was good to have it all over with. Next came my appointment on Thursday, to learn how to use my meter.

Thursday was a good day. I spent the morning in San Francisco, in Golden Gate Park. Camera in hand, and pedometer on my belt, I did some walking and stretching, and lots and lots of photography. In all, I took 1381 steps, which worked out to half a mile of moderate walking. :) It felt pretty good. It was definitely good for the soul, as I was too focused on the plants and winged creatures to worry about my appointment. :) The appointment went well. Again I was a little frightened, and I had a bit of an inner struggle to actually do the blood sugar test on myself for the first time, especially in front of a stranger, and Alan. I wanted to throw up. I wanted to ask both of them to leave the room while I did it, but finally I just took a deep breath and took a sample of my own blood. LOL. It wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. Of course it wasn't. My goodness the fear of the unknown can be so scary. My little OneTouch metering kit is fabulous.

So, I am now on my own with my adventure with diabetes. I don't know why I always fret about things so much, most of the time it all seems to come out just fine. I am OK, and I am going to be OK. I am managing my diabetes with my diet and exercise. I test my blood a couple times daily, and things are pretty much normal. Nothing much has really changed. I found out from the nutritionist that I can still have dessert, if I plan for it, in fact, diabetics don't have to give anything up, as long as they plan for it. I have been trying out new recipes, and having a wonderful time inventing some new ones. The other night, we had a wonderful meal of Red Snapper, and Strawberry salad. It was perfect for a hot summer night. Light and yummy. :)

Meters are a lot less painful now, then they were even just a few years ago. My diabetes is considered mild, and my numbers have all been well within healthy bounds. I am considering myself a lucky woman, that I my doctor caught my diabetes in the very early stages. I have health coverage, with a lot of resources available to me. I know there are so many others who go diagnosed in time. Over 44 million Americans have no health care coverage. 44 million! So, there are some folks out there doing without access to medical tests and care basic to life. I was lucky my diabetes was caught early, some aren't so lucky. Diabetes doesn't have any big glaring symptoms, so sometimes folks aren't diagnosed, until it is advanced. That makes me sad. Please, if you are over 40 ask your doctor about the AC1 test. Or maybe just discuss it with your doctor no matter what age you are. Adult onset Diabetes (Type 2) can happen at any age. AC1 is just a simple blood test that can save your life. If you read my blog often, you know I am an advocate of health and taking care of yourself. Take the test. You'll be glad you did. :)

American Diabetes Association

AC1 Test

"Violet Hours"
Berkeley, California
August 17th, 2007
Early Evening


Suzanne R said...

You are doing great, Sweetie! It sounds like you have gotten really good advice and you are following it well. You likely have a lot of years before you need to go on medication, like I am. I hope and pray I won't need insulin and I do avoid sugar as much as I can because of not wanting to get to that point. My one wish in this area right now is to be able to buy my recommended shoes and for my toenail area to have healed enough that I can get started walking again. It shouldn't be long now! My thoughts are with you as you work with the challenge that is diabetes. (The dinner looks yummy!)

Wil said...

Welcome to the "Club", kiddo. As an insulin-dependent Type II, I can assure you it is for life, or "until death us do part" as they are so fond of saying in the movies. I strongly urge you to visit Diabetes Mine, a blog devoted to Diabetes that I find entertaining and useful. There's others out there - just follow the links at Amy's to get to them. You'll be glad you did.

I hope you are able to sustain this high level of commitment you're exhibiting with this post. So, don't be afraid to ask for help from fellow PWD's when you need it. Take it from one who has been there -- diabetes can wear on you. It need not be a life sentence, if you stay the course and get a little help from your friends.

As Red Green is so fond of saying, "I'm pulling for you. Just remember, there ain't none of us getting out of this life alive..."

Keep your stick on the ice, your paddle in the water and Elvis on your lap.

Karen Funk Blocher said...

I wish I'd stopped by to say a word of reassurance before your class, but I'm proud of you for getting through it and coming out with just the right attitude. Brava! Hang in there!