Once you’re diagnosed with diabetes, that’s what you have for the rest of your life. There’s no cure, no backing out of it, it’s just your new life. As I chronicled at the start of this blog, my glucose and various other measurements of health were terrible. That first visit to the doctor was a punch in the face, the realization that my world is now forever changed. It was time to fight, or see it fall apart.
I chose to fight, quite dramatically, in the hopes that the ends justified the means.
A Hope For 90 Days Of Action
After about 90 days (91, really, hence the title), I was scheduled to have both another blood test and another doctor’s visit to see how my adaptations to the diabetic life were working out. My big fear was that the blood test would show no real change, and that I would have to start taking insulin. With a starting numbers of May of 325 md/dl glucose, an A1C of 11.5%, and Triglycerides off the chart, I was expecting the worst.
Now, to be fair, and as is being chronicled in my other diabetes articles, I made quite a few life changes over the course of those first 90 days in order to avoid the worst. I had crossed fingers and toes that my numbers would be better after that time, if not groundbreakingly so maybe at least enough to avoid insulin. It was bad enough that I had to stab my finger most days for the blood test, I didn’t want to have to deal with a constant threat of insulin dependence as well.
I wasn’t sure 90 days would be enough time to change anything. I was definitely limiting calories and carbs, and doing my very best to keep everything in line. The American Diabetes Association suggests that meals should have 45-60g of carbs as an average. Being dramatic in everything that I do, I considered that to be the maximum that I wanted to shoot for. I didn’t want to maintain anything, I wanted to kill the beast AND EAT IT’S MOTHERFU—
Instead of simply maintaining a diet to keep the glucose counts stable, I intended to lower my glucose as best as I could. I planned to do that quite harshly at first, and only if it worked out would I allow myself to lean back in to the occasional food with a higher carb count. I’ve spent years watching a family member with Type 2 diabetes doing it all wrong, to the point that Olive Garden and Snickers bars were their favorite. I was damned if I was going to fall like that.
Going in for the blood test, I simply hoped that my numbers were on the right track. I hoped to be heading towards a better situation at least.
Blood! Blood Everywhere!
Okay, so maybe not blood everywhere. I went in for the blood test during the week before the doctor’s visit. The nurse asked if I needed to turn away when she stabbed me. I thought that I would be a pretty piss-poor horror creator if I needed to.
But getting blood drawn is a fascinating tangent to the story. She answered lots of questions for me, including if many patients pass out, how many watch the needle go in and how many can’t bear to see it, what kinds of tests will be run. Interestingly, the tests I received would not tell me what my blood type was. That was a mystery for another day.
That day was extraordinarily busy as I volunteered with my daughter at the Loveland Art in the Park festival. I was impatient to get my tests back, but I was too busy to dwell on it. By “too busy” I mean that I walked over 6 miles that day, just in the park, back and forth helping both the vendors and the Thompson Valley Art League. But eventually, while on a short break, I received an email with my results. I moved into the shade to sit down, take a deep breath, and find out what my future would hold.
As I logged into the health website, and logged in three more times thanks to wonky technology, I saw my results. I would discuss them with my doctor the following week, of course, but I knew immediately what those tests revealed:
I still had diabetes.
Of course I still had diabetes, I will always have diabetes. Silly rabbit. What the blood tests also revealed was a serious drop in all of my bad health counts.
- My blood glucose dropped from 325 mg/dl to 110 mg/dl (my current low is 91, August’s average was 106).
- The A1C result dropped from a disastrous 11.5% to the current 5.8% (considered high normal).
- My cholesterol dropped from a borderline 207 mg/dl to 89, well within normal.
Does That Mean I’m Out of the Woods?
No, sadly it does not. But it means that I have a fantastic control over my diabetes at the moment. It will be a never ending battle, but I am starting out on the right track. I am exercising daily, eating better foods (mostly), and keeping strict accounts of what I do every day. I have to keep at it, and though there will be moments in life that I’ll stray from the path, if I want to keep this thing called life going I’ll have to learn how to course-correct when needed.
So, for the foreseeable future, I will watch my food intake. I’ll make myself take those long walks. I’ll remind myself not to eat those tater tots, or that slice of cake. I’ll also write soon about the curiosity of diabetes, depression, and the odd evening out of my emotions that this whole adventure is revealing. More on that next time.