Saturday, January 13, 2007

The numbers game

"So, Rita, how you feeling these days?"

That's the terms that my friends use these days to ask about my diabetes. I never know how much of an answer to give. "Fine" seems trite, but a more detailed explanation, like "Well, my A1C number is higher than my doctor would like, but I am on a combination of meds, which initially didn't have much effect, so now I am sticking to a under 20 grams per day carb plan plus meds, which seems to be helping a bit" causes people's faces to freeze into polite, but faraway stares, eyes glazed over.

So, it's better to just say, "Fine, thanks!" So I do.

The truth is, I am learning to live with it. I have made some progress:
  • I don't cringe and feel like I am losing consciousness when I prick my finger anymore, which is a relief.
  • I am not plagued with panic about how long I will stay healthy anymore. The thoughts of possibly having to inject insulin in the near future don't feel as much like a death sentence as they did back in September, when I was first diagnosed.
  • I have managed to kick the bread/sugar/rice/pasta/potato habit and most (not all) of the resentment that went along with it. The numbers on the scale were never enough of an incentive, but for some reason, the fear of the blood monitor flashing a high number at me is enough to keep me on the straight and narrow, something I have never been able to do in the past.
  • The magic number is 125. More days than not, I am at or under that.
  • The numbers on the scale are slowly going down, but they no longer matter to me. Neither does the incentive/punishment of fitting or not fitting into certain clothes, looking or not looking like a certain person, or any of the hundreds of other things I used to entice/torture/bribe/withhold from myself in an effort to forcibly change my ingrained bad habits. Outward appearance used to be my sole focus; I spent alot of time and effort on worrying about how I looked, or didn't look, or should look. I never considered or cared about the toll that was being exacted on my health. That seems to have all slipped away. The only thing that matters now is preserving my life.

Despite all of these epiphanies, I still have several "areas for growth" (that's Human Resources politically correct terminology for things that I am still fucking up):

  • I don't exercise nearly enough. For diabetics, exercise is crucial to keep your sugar levels straight. For some reason, that hasn't clicked in my head yet.
  • I don't drink nearly enough water. Never have, still don't.
  • I only test my blood sugar level in the mornings. I really should test through the day. I don't.
  • I don't eat three meals and three snacks a day. The Diabetic Association frowns upon that, and me, probably. But truth is, I threw their diet in the garbage after the first month.
  • I still lean heavily on "mock" foods, like diet candy, diet soda, and other stuff that lets me fool myself into thinking that I can still eat junk. I should kick those, too, even if they are supposedly "legal". It's probably as risky as an alcoholic drinking "near beer". It feels like its just a small step back onto the real stuff. That would kill me.
  • I haven't done anything to decrease my level of stress, another big important thing for people living with diabetes. I don't know how.
  • I have put off going back to the doctor to have a new A1C level drawn. They have called me twice. I am going to go next week. That's what I said last week. And the week before.

So, for all of you who have asked, thank you. This is probably way more than you wanted to know. Maybe seeing these words on my screen from time to time will inspire me to "challenge myself with opportunities to enhance my growth areas", or whatever.

No comments:

There was an error in this gadget