I've been feeling off for some time now. Fatigue, aches and pains, chest pains and recently dizzy spells have been added to the list. Back when I had the scary chest pain, my doctor sent me off to be drained of blood in the name of testing.
Late yesterday afternoon, the doctor's office called. Nope. Not lupus coming back. Not cancer.
I have diabetes.
As you might imagine, this diagnosis means a major life-shift for me. Gone are the days when I could indulge in classic Southern Sweet Tea (my absolute favorite drink that's not water). Sorry to all you sugar replacements - you just can't beat real sugar in sweet tea. Gone also are things like Phish Food (Ben & Jerry), Nestle's semi-sweet chocolate chips, birthday cakes, Krispy Kreme donuts and mocha lattes. Not that any of these things ever had a regular spot in my life, but it was nice to be able to have them every once in a while.
I have to go to a Diabetes Education class on Monday to find out about food and how to prick myself, and what other lifestyle changes will be in store for me. I'll find out about medication (I am going to need a bigger pill box if I don't get myself straightened out soon!) and insulins, which I hope won't ever be a factor in my treatment. I get stuck enough with needles as it is now.
But being the information maven, I stopped by Barnes and Noble last night on my way home from work to scarf up a few books on the subject. In "Tell Me what to Eat if I have Diabetes" by Elaine Magee MPH, RD, there is a list on page 11 that gives the warning signs of Type II diabetes. They include: Frequent infections, Blurred vision, Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal, Tingling/numbness in hands or feet, Unusual thirst, Frequent urination, Extreme hunger, Unusual weight loss, Extreme fatigue, and last but not least, irritability. OMG - I have all of those - except "unusual weight loss" (which figures since I've been trying to lose weight for years). Diabetes can also lead to high blood pressure (check) and cardiovascular disease (check) and renal failure (not yet, phew).
So, armed with a little information, I'm starting to make some of the changes that I know are coming. My sugar consumption will go WAY down. I'm walking the dog every night for about 40 minutes, which is good - and a relatively recent habit. It's a start. I'll know more on Monday, but until then I'll keep reading and start making recording my food and drink intake a habit - because keeping track of that stuff is going to be REQUIRED now.
Honestly, I'm a little bit relieved. Diabetes is a big deal, but not nearly as scary as what I was imagining I might be facing. So I'll do the things requried of me, incorporate them into my life and get on with living now.