I have an additional confession to make and this one is difficult. I am now a Type 2 Diabetic. Why is this challenging for me to admit? Another illness? Those reading may think I have so many medical problems what is one more? And, why have I been keeping it a secret? Why have I waited two months to write about it? Why haven’t I told anyone other than two close friends and my parents? I am sure a therapist could analyze me for days and it would be quite educational.
I believe being diabetic has something to do with the stigma that follows the diagnosis. I admit that I have gained weight, but my husband will tell you that I don’t eat enough to justify weight gain or diabetes. In fact, I have to force myself to eat since other medications take away my appetite. Once again, prednisone is my life’s nemesis. “Don’t worry,” says my sweet Endocrinologist with his Indian accent, “this is one more temporary setback,” he adds. Somehow those words I no longer find comforting.
On the outside I smile and listen to the laundry list of things to do, medication to take; however, on the inside I want to scream, cry, hit someone or curl up and feel sorry for myself again — much like a few years ago during my hiatus from the world. I have never heard the term temporary diabetic, but that was how I was diagnosed. I think you are or you aren’t diabetic. However, I have been blessed with kind doctors who justify my new found illnesses and who know that many aren’t my fault.
The Endocrinologist tells me that the weight will come off since my thyroid is now regulated and when my sugar levels are controlled. However, I find myself thinking about the way society treats those who are overweight. This is one area I have given considerable thought. Is it fair that those who gain weight — whether it is out of their control or not — are treated as second-class citizens? During one episode of Oprah’s Lifeclass she discussed how she was treated differently when she was heavier. Surprisingly, even money doesn’t buy respect for those who are overweight.
There are certain people in my life who devalue me for the weight I have gained. And, even though much of it isn’t my fault, I am a seen as a lesser person because of it. There is this look of disdain or those who don’t even look at you, they don’t want to sit next to you, or are hesitant to introduce you to others. Are you a disappointment, a disgrace, an embarrassment? To me, a person’s worth isn’t the size of their body. A person’s worth is the way they treat others and how they make you feel when you are around them. I hope, at the end of every conversation, when I walk away, I leave everyone with a sense of importance and appreciation. I hope they remember me as a person — not what I was wearing or the size of my body.
One positive step I took to accept my new medical diagnosis was to attend Diabetic Classes, which are the best use of anyone’s time who are told they are diabetic. The group of nurses and dietitians who teach the classes I attended are professional and knowledgeable and teach others about the illness and how to manage life with this complex medical condition. In the class were people of all shapes, sizes, colors, ages and personalities. Half of the class had a family history of diabetes; the other admitted they needed to better manage their eating habits. To me, being in the class was a step in the right direction. It is a new way of living and learning how to be prepared is essential. In fact, I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes. “If you fail to plan you plan to fail.” This, to me, is the diabetic’s creed. In addition, there should no longer be a negative image regarding being diabetic — being diabetic means you manage your carbohydrates…you don’t let them manage you! It’s about healthy eating. Diabetic’s can have sugar…it’s just controlled. In fact, I eat more carbs now than I did before I knew I was diabetic!
Another concern I had was I believe I was diabetic months before my doctors did the appropriate blood work. In fact, I fired my first Endocrinologist and found a new one. While researching diabetes, I ran across a link where screenings are conducted to determine if you are at risk for diabetes: http://causes.msn.com/stopdiabetes#section=gallery. I think we all have to take responsibility for our own health and take advantage of available resources.
Since writing the last post for the blog I have been thinking more and more about emotional closure and searching for ways to achieve it. There isn’t a ‘how to forgive and forget’ checklist — trust me, I have looked.
What I have learned is you have to find a purpose in life — find the light, the joy….the reason to get up in the morning. It has to be your purpose — no one else’s. Maybe it’s a dog rescue, volunteer work, having another child, joining a community choir or just the sheer will to get healthier. But you have to find it, live it and fight the good fight. It’s like Tom Hanks said in the movie Castaway..”I know what I have to do now. I have to keep breathing, because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide will bring.”
With mixed emotions I just completed watching additional episodes of Oprah’s Lifeclass. The episode ‘Rising Up from the Ashes’ moved me beyond words.It focused on re-examining what life means after a tragic event happens. While I could write for days about what I learned, the most important information for those of us trying to rise up from something tragic or difficult need to look at life with a new perspective. I call it ‘My Unplanned Life’ — someone else calls it ‘My Do Over Life.’ Whatever you call your new life — it’s the way you learn to create a new normal for yourself, a new way of moving through this complex life. After all, no one ever said it was going to be easy.
I hoped following six and a half years I would have found peace, or at the very least, emotional closure. I haven’t and that is painful to admit. While there are days when I think I see a glimpse of hope, sadly there are also days when I shift my pain to other areas, and days when I see rage at the thought of the man who slammed a mallet into my spinal cord. However, now I am more aware of what I am doing, I will look for ways through, a way up and a way out of the Dr. Liar grip. A wise person said “the only way to get through something difficult is to walk right through the heat and feel the pain.” Another said “If you want something that you’ve never had, you have to do something that you’ve never done.” I believe that just about sums it up. I’m feeling the pain and I am doing lots of something’s I have never done before and some of them actually make me happy.