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It's been nearly two years now since my original diagnosis.

That story is much like others' replete with the usual misdiagnoses, terrible weight loss and diabetic complications.

At present, my glucose is largely under control thanks to the Omnipod pump that I've been using for about a month.

My life has changed radically since this began. The loss of 65 pounds of hard-won muscle forced me out of the weight room where I had been accustomed to spending two hours a day, six days a week for years. The physical strength I once enjoyed is gone and at 62,I'm not sure it can be regained. I've begun to feel old.

Several of the complications that arose during the long months of high glucose continue. Notable among them are the neuropathy, both peripheral and autonomic, that have left my hands and feet numb and swollen, my vision deteriorating, my gums degenerating, and my whole body shaking with spasticity. The latter is under some control by means of four different drugs all of which are sedative.

Amazingly, despite all the tests, two hospitalizations, and on-going treatments, I still find myself doubting the reality of the disease; thinking that today I could turn off the pump and just go back to normal with no repercussions. It is an appealing thought, but irrational.

Like many of us, I spent my early months reading extensively about diabetes. I largely, however, skipped over the bits about the emotional impact thinking it was obvious and inapplicable to a gentleman of my age. I did not realize how big a part this would play in my life as well as for those around me, especially my wife. The problems arising from the chronic daily struggles, fears, and frustrations have been unexpected, difficult and depressing. There is no way these could be generalized in any book regardless of its sophistication insofar as they are entirely individual to each of us, reflecting our personalities and relationships.

Diabetes is relentless in its demands. Today, like every day, I wonder what will come next. Will it be health or illness, success or failure?

Views: 79

Comment by Brian (bsc) on February 4, 2013 at 2:34am

I think many of us have felt very similar feelings. Once you have gotten things under control I bet you will be able to get back to the weight room. And while you might think all that muscle mass is gone, the body has a wonderful way of recovering. And remember Casey Viator suffered a terrible loss of muscle mass during his illness, but was able to gain 63 lbs of muscles mass in the Colorado Experiment.

Comment by Stemwinder (Gary) on February 4, 2013 at 6:46pm

Most of us have mourned for the things this disease has taken from us. It's not just physical things we miss. It's the feeling that we have lost control of our destiny too.

I take pride in the things I have been able to reclaim. I am fighting back and take great pride in the fact that I'm having some success against a formidable foe.

Comment by renka on February 5, 2013 at 7:32am
I feel your pain. It's very common yet very individualized. I still feel like I'm in denial after 29 years. Please don't be so discouraged. Get back to the gym, maybe not the 2 hours like before but walk and do baby steps. I know it's hard with the muscles that have atrophied and the nerve damage but excerecise will help everything. I'm going to take my own advice, I've had several hospitalizations each year for the last 15 years due to gastroparesis and diabetes. I spend bout an average of 180 days in the hospital. My leg muscles hurt real bad after my last two hospitalizations.
Comment by renka on February 5, 2013 at 7:33am
Diabetes burnout by dr. Wm polonsky is a great book
Comment by David (dns) on February 5, 2013 at 8:06am

Riva Greenberg, who is also a tuD member and who gave an excellent video chat last Friday, has also written extensively on the emotional side of dealing with this disease. Her first book, The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes, is especially relevant (and good).


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