It Was No Surprise, But…

I’ve lived with the specter of diabetes my entire life. It’s the “family disease.” Type 1, Type 2…we’ve got it all. Skinny, fat, active, couch potato…it doesn’t seem to matter.

So when I suddenly realized that I was perpetually thirsty and inexplicably losing weight, I was pretty sure I knew what was happening, and a visit to my doctor verified it.

You know, you think you’re prepared for this kind of thing, but nothing really prepares you for the reality.

I’ve eaten an excellent diet for most of my adult life (whole-foods vegetarian, emphasis on whole grains and legumes), and never expected that this would make it harder rather than easier to reconcile my diet with my disease. I found myself paralyzed trying to make food choices. I once even burst into tears after paging through book after book of truly nasty-sounding “vegetarian recipes for diabetes” and shouting down to my husband “I can’t do this. The food I want to eat wants to kill me and the food they expect me to eat makes me want to kill myself.”

Even three years in, it’s a struggle. To be honest, it would be easier to go back to eating meat, but I keep hoping to avoid that if I can.

And then there’s the judgmentalism! Seeing a kid on a teen news show refer to Type 2 diabetes as “The kind you give yourself by not exercising and making poor food choices.” Hell…I probably eat better and exercise more than that ignorant puppy! Having non-diabetics asking me if I’m Type 1 or Type 2 and, upon learning I’m Type 2, saying something dismissive, such as “Oh, that’s not really diabetes,” or “you can cure that by eating better, you know.” Despite my generally good diet and fairly active lifestyle, sometimes I feel like a pariah.

I’m still coming to terms with the fact that this is my life, and will be for the rest of my life.


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