The Wake-Up Call I Gave Myself
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A Thanksgiving Diagnosis
Type 2 diabetes wasn’t even on my radar in my 20s. I was enjoying being newly married but also was carrying a lot of weight on my frame. I had noticed I was becoming very lethargic after meals and I was finding that starting our family was not happening as easily as my husband and I thought it would. Looking back, I am very thankful for the chance visit to my mom’s house after Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws.
I asked my mom to check my blood sugar and it was at 216 mg/dL12 mmol/L and this was two hours after eating. I made an appointment at my doctor’s office as soon as possible and I was scheduled quite quickly to do the blood glucose test.
The results came back and sure enough, I was diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic. My doctor wanted to put me on medicine right away but we discussed my options and I opted with the support of my doctor to manage my diabetes with diet and exercise. My doctor also knew that I wanted to start a family so she referred me to an endocrinologist to help me get my blood sugars on track.
The mental journey of going on medication
Once my blood sugars were properly managed, my husband and I were able to conceive and that’s when medication became a part of managing my diabetes. I remember when the nurse had to teach me how to take insulin by injection and I had to demonstrate that I could do this in front of her.
I was really devastated that I wasn’t going to be able to have a pregnancy without medication. This is the first time that I had to really change my mindset about the situation. I focused on two things: managing my food intake to keep my insulin doses very low and my endocrinologist had advised me that she didn’t want me to gain more than 14 pounds. My pregnancy went very well and I was able to maintain these two objectives.
After I gave birth and over the next few years I struggled to manage my blood sugars without medication. I had just given in to the fact that medication was a part of my journey and that as long as I managed my blood sugars I would be fine. I was inactive and knew that I could eat what I wanted given the right amount of insulin my blood sugars daily would be in check and so would my A1C.
I felt emotionally low most of the time and I felt like I had lost the fight to live a life without medications. I was at a stalemate as the years continued and I could not get back up again. I would justify to myself that I was okay because I never had a blood sugar reading higher than a 14 mmol/L.
A New Reality
Last year my beloved father passed away and I was so stricken with grief. I already wasn’t making the best choices for my health prior to his passing and now I was slipping even further down a slippery slope of junk food, fast food, alcohol and insomnia. It was about 2 am and I was sitting quietly on my couch and I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to sleep at all that night. I decided I needed to give myself a pep talk. I had spent so much time waiting for someone to say the words that would really give me a good kick in the ass only to realize that it needed to come from me.
I needed to give myself a wake-up call and look at the road that I was on.
I have always been a positive person and encouraged others to be their best and I had to recognize that I wasn’t even giving myself my very best. I had to dig deep and find my fighter from within again and realize that my main goal when it comes to my health is longevity. I had to forgive myself for becoming complacent and to understand that the journey to longevity is one choice, one hour, one day at a time. I decided that when I made a poor choice I wasn’t going to waste my time shaming myself for it. I was going to lead my journey back to health with positivity. I began to master the art of adjusting and forgiveness.
Within three months of my decision to get refocused, I was able to get my A1C to a prediabetic range. For the first time in a long while I wasn’t working against myself because I made the decision to put myself first, my choices started to align with my goals. I also incorporated fitness back into my life after being inactive for over two years—it wasn’t a struggle because it aligned with my goals. My endo was happy to take me off of insulin when I asked and she believes I will need even less medication by this summer. Getting focused and having a vision for your life truly makes all decisions easier because you know where you are headed.