I just returned from the doctor. There is good news and there is bad. The good news is that the new doctor was personable, asked lots of questions, talked to me instead of a computer, and gave me a good sense of well being. The bad news is that my A1C reading was 9.1.
I have an autoimmune disorder that acts like Lupus without the rash. Most days I feel like crap. On the outside I look great and full on energy, but on the inside I fight to function. I’ve had this disease for many years and I don’t run to the doctor every time I feel sick. But a few years ago I was scheduled to fly to Portland to see my grandchildren and I felt awful. Too sick to get on a plane. So I called my doctor and made an appointment. Eight hours later I had a diagnosis. Diabetes Type II. Yeah, happy birthday to me.
That was four years ago and it’s been a daily battle. The first two years I was able to keep my A1C numbers in the 6.1 range with diet, exercise, and oral medications. Then the numbers started climbing and no matter what I did I couldn’t bring them down to a healthy level. So I wasn’t surprised when my new doctor told me my A1C was high. What surprised me was that it had jumped two whole points in six months in spite of a low carb diet and exercise.
People with diabetes have bodies that don’t use insulin properly. Over time their pancreases can’t make enough insulin to keep their blood glucose at normal levels. Their pancreases may even stop working.
According to a recent report, there are about 27 million people in the U.S. with Type II diabetes. Another 86 million have prediabetes, which means their blood glucose is not normal, but not high enough to be diabetes yet.
So why am I telling you this? To bore you? To make you sad? To scare you?
To warn you. To encourage you to pay more attention to your health so you won’t end up like me, pricking your finger twice a day, counting carbs, and wishing you didn’t have to watch every thing you put in your mouth.
I was naïve. I knew lots of people with diabetes. I knew so many I began to believe diabetes was innocuous. People didn’t die from diabetes. Well, yes, they DO die from organ failure and heart disease, all a result of diabetes. Television commercials lead you to believe living with diabetes is no big deal. You can go to picnics. You can eat hot dogs and corn on the cob. You can smile and dance and have fun.
The reality is living with diabetes is HUGE. It’s hard work. Even with diet and exercise most days it feels like I’m are playing Russian roulette. I’m afraid to test my blood sugar because I don’t want to see the high numbers. It scares me and makes me depressed.
Be smarter than me. Any type of diabetes is a big thing. If your doctor says you are prediabetic, pay attention. Stop eating flour, sugar, and high carb foods immediately. Begin an exercise program and stick to it. Keep your blood glucose numbers between 80 and 100. That way you can truly be happy and healthy and smile and dance and have fun.