The Journey is every bit as important as the destination
I was first diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes 15 years ago. BUT, looking back, I think the signs were there much earlier. At age 23 I had my first child and by the time I was 33 I had spent ten years trying to have another baby. Through my searching for answers and dealing with issues, it was discovered that I needed a hysterectomy – right away. I was frightened, I was upset, I was depressed. But nothing prepared me for the days leading up to the procedure when I was found to have very high sugar. They wanted to postpone the procedure. I argued that I hadnt fasted before coming in and that it must have been something I ate or drank. They agreed that it the morning of the procedure my sugar was okay, they would go ahead with the operation. Thankfully, the procedure went on as scheduled.
Then came the depression. I wasnt done having kids. AND what in the heck is Diabetes anyway!
Through many twists and turns, and within only three months of that hysterectomy, I started the process to adopt a baby boy. I also started on medication – oral medication at the time – and managed to lower my A1c from 13 to 7. And I thought – WOW – Mastered That. I planned to move on. I HAD Diabetes, and now I dont.
Silly me. I had no idea. Diabetes is not a light switch you turn off and it goes away.
I didnt follow through with Dr. Appointments, I truly felt I was cured.
In the meantime I adopted that baby boy – and two years later was Blessed to learn he had a biological sister – whom I also adopted. In fact, tomorrow is September 12th – and it marks 11 years to the day that my daughter arrived in our home (she was just over a year old at the time).
I took about another 5-6 years before I really faced the Diabetes issue again and it snuck up on me in a huge way. I went for an eye appointment and my prescription had changed – but during the exam, the doctor told me that she was sending me to a Retinologist.
It was the latter part of 2012 when I started the ongoing process of Retinology appointments every four months, usually followed with laser surgeries to stop the leaking behind my eyes. I have had fifteen procedures since that time. It has been a very scary two years for me.
The Journey. Through the adoption process I learned what it meant to be an advocate for your children. You cant sit back and wait for things to come to you. If you want something, you must speak up for it, make the phone calls, be proactive. I fought so hard to be able to adopt my son, and then also my daughter. If they needed services in school, I was their advocate. BUT I wasnt advocating for my own health. I trusted my general practitioner – and sadly, he let me down. It was the Retinologist who gently took me by the hand and explained to me about diabetes, about what was at risk, about how to advocate for myself and be proactive.
I found an endocrinologist. I told my doctors to put me on insulin because I wasnt able to bring my A1c down and my glucose readings were high. I insisted on being on blood pressure medication and cholesterol medication. ALL of these things could have and should have been suggested by my general practitioner. None of the them were until I started fighting for my health.
I learned what metrics were and set goals, learned what the ideal fasting sugar read (70-110 for me) and the ideal two hour post meal (under 180 for me). I started testing five times a day and charting everything – EVERYTHING. Having the answers made me feel more in control and slowly – but surely my A1c was coming down.
All those years ago my A1c was 13. With oral medication I lingered on but managed to keep it between 9 and 7. After I added insulin and learned about healthier food choices – I started to see that A1c go from 7 to 6.9 to 6.5. My last A1c was 5.9.
What was once a mystery to me – I now accept. I now understand. Perhaps the biggest part of my journey is that I learned that no one is going to want this for me, more than I do. I cannot rely on a general practitioner, nor blame him for my complacency. I can rely on me. I learned to advocate for my children, their education, and through the process – I am not my strongest advocate as well.
Diabetes is life long. It is an ongoing journey. I will take medication every single day – I will test every single day. I will eat an occasional sweet without guilt because I understand how my body handles the sugar, and I will continue to be successful because I have so much to live for.
If I were to give you any advice – it would be to ask ask ask. If something seems wrong – ask someone. If you are unsure of anything – ask. Dont wait for someone to suggest it to you – and dont just take the advice of well meaning friends. Anything you are told, you can research. YOU are in control.
Back to my journey – consider this: If it were not for my diabetes – I would not have my beautiful family. Its amazing how doors may seem to shut, but windows are wide open! Embrace who you are – all of you.