Day One: The Diabetes Diagnosis and Instant Life Change

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So I’m swimming along in life, being a typically sarcastic person with a depressive edge, when I start feeling a bit under the weather for the first few months of the year. Now, I’m not really a big fan of the medical community as it is. None of the times that I’ve been to the doctor over the years have helped in the slightest, especially when it comes to the frequent headaches I have become accustomed to in the last 20 years.

This was a bit different though. I just didn’t feel right at all. At the same time, we tried to renew my life insurance when the unexpected happened. I failed the health tests, and the life insurance company refused to renew the insurance for at least a year.

To say that was devastating is an understatement.

While I have had health concerns in the past, in the last four years I had dropped a considerable amount of weight and I was eating healthier. Like most people, I had my small vices. Too many snacks, a reliance on bagels and juice in the mornings, since dairy products can hurt my stomach. I was reading articles on how juices are not as healthy as they appear, based on their sugar content, but I was beginning to limit that. Blood pressure tests at local stores showed that I had low to normal blood pressure, so I felt no issues there. Concerned at my failure, I quickly made an appointment with a local doctor to get checked out.

I took my initial blood test and health information to the doctor, and we went through the results together. She stopped on three specific numbers: A1C hemoglobin, glucose, and cholesterol. Many of you who are familiar with those results probably know where this is going. Upon seeing those three results, she immediately knew what the problem was: I had Type 2 Diabetes.

Test Results

Many of my test results were considered catastrophic, at least based on my research. My blood glucose level was an astronomical 325 mg/dl, normal is considered to be 70–99 mg/dl after fasting and less than 140 mg/dl two hours after a meal1. My A1C Hemoglobin, a measure of glucose percentages over a three month timeframe, should be less than 5.7% for a normal person and diabetics should aim for less than 7.0%1. My A1C reading was 11.5%, a patently ridiculous number. On top of all that, my cholesterol was 207 mg/dL, borderline high, with my Triglycerides coming in at a whopping 453 mg/dL (150 or less is normal).

diabetes chart1

It’s like this chart is trying to tell me something.

A Shock to the System

Hearing all of this made for a rough few days, and some soul-searching. It’s not akin to getting told you are going to die tomorrow, but at the same time it does represent what I will eventually die from (save for our current executive doing things that are not presidential). Suddenly everything became a big concern. The doctor put me on a low-carb diet, and explained that I needed a good amount of exercise each day. I took all of that to heart, but it was tough.

Did that mean no more desserts? No more potatoes, breads, or pastas? What if my sweet tooth said “to hell with it,” what were the consequences? Would that single chocolate chip cookie kill me on the spot? The doctor suspected that I would need insulin on a daily basis for the rest of my life, a daunting effect. Considering myself healthy or not is one thing, but being told that I was unhealthy, and that I would have to change everything, was a bit of a downer.

Next time on the blog: Facing a different future and the first two weeks of my new life.

 

References

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