I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in May 2006. When I left my doctor’s office I felt like I had been hit in the stomach with a 4 x4 post. I was in shock and angry (mainly with myself for being over weight, more on that later). My first stop was to my pharmacist. As he filled my new prescriptions for my diabetes medication and testing supplies, he asked “Travis when did you find out that you were diabetic?” My response: “Counting today?” His response: “Oh, so you are still in shock.” I said: “Yes I am”.
My second stop was at Lowes. Why Lowes? Because Lowes has tools! I decided that I needed “shopping therapy”, and now was the perfect time to build the shop that I have wanted in my garage. This was an excellent time to start this project because my beloved wife, Tanya, was safely tucked away at work and was not present to offer any objections.
I went to Lowes and bought a drill press. I then went by Honest John’s and bought a scroll saw. I also stopped by Agri-Supply and made a quick list of other items that I would need. After spending some money, my anger and shock subsided, which was good because I needed room for my depression, which was trying to find room in my brain.
When I arrived home with my new purchases I went to the refrigerator in my garage, removed the recently purchased case of Natural Light beer, and took it across the street to my neighbor, Mike. While Mike was very much appreciative of my gift (Natural Light is his favorite beer), he now had a problem. His mother, who did not approve of him drinking beer, was on her way to Statesboro for an extended visit. I figured the beer was now his problem and he would have to deal with it.
Why did I give away the beer? Two reasons:
1. My diabetes medication warned that alcohol could dangerously lower my blood sugar.
2. I was over weight and beer was not going to help me lose weight. I was no stranger to the concept of “moderation”, but that still did not mean that I practiced it. Why have one beer when you can have two? Why have two beers when you can have three?
For the next few weeks I struggled with depression. I was no longer normal (at the age of 43). I resented having to make changes to my life style, check my blood sugar before breakfast and before supper, have snacks on hand in case my blood sugar got too low (ok keeping snacks on hand was not going to be that hard, but we are not talking candy bars),but I realized that they were necessary. My wife, my mother, and my doctor were very supportive. My doctor even called me late one afternoon, a few days after I was diagnosed, to inquire about my blood sugar readings. He did not criticize me when I told him that some of them were above my maximum limit, but he did encourage me. I partly blamed myself for being diabetic because I had been overweight all of my adult life. I have finally accepted that genetics plays a role in one being diagnosed with diabetes, and that being over weight increases the chance of a diagnosis at an early age.
My plan to lose weight was simple. I reduced my intake of beverages that contained calories, reduced the size of my meals, and reduced my calorie intake by changing my eating habits (no more snacks late at night). Since 5/06 I have lost about 42 pounds. I did not plan to lose a large amount of weight in a short amount of time. I know people with Type 2 diabetes that quickly lost a lot of weight only to gain it back again. That is not in my plan. I continue to make adjustments to my eating habits.
There is an upside to all of this, I have gotten smaller. And I have discovered that I really like it when people stop and exclaim: “You have lost weight!” I have also discovered that it is fantastic to have to give away clothes that are too big.
My own doctor has advised me that even if I maintain my blood sugar within prescribed limits and maintain a healthy weight, I may still suffer from poor circulation, kidney problems, etc. I am determined to reduce my risks as much as possible. There are no guarantees, but there is always hope.