It’s been about 10 years that I’ve known about my diabetes and the fact that it means I should consume no white sugar, no white flour. In the beginning I took it quite seriously.
I remember sitting in a restaurant with tears streaming down my face as I ordered a turkey sandwich on whole wheat with lettuce, onion and mustard while my family members ate french fries and burgers.
Do I tend toward feeling sorry for myself? Oh fuck yes. It’s not a trait I like, not something I feel pride in, but at least I’m honest. I’m like a walking pity party with balloons in my pockets.
Initially, I lost about 60 pounds using the diet pill Phentermine. Probably not a fantastic idea since my mother’s addiction to diet pills is one of the reasons she’s been a fucking maniac my entire life. Years ago amphetamines were much harsher and left you feeling like your hair was standing on end.
She went to a mental hospital, knew the diet pills were her true issue, but rather than admitting to it she allowed them to give her shock treatments. She came home with craft projects like yarn octopi and leaf ashtrays.
So I’m not that crazy, but I did stop using insulin because it made me gain 20 pounds in a single month. That’s not my idea of a reasonable solution. It’s not even healthy. Many diabetics just keep adjusting their insulin and eating whatever they want and that’s how you go blind and lose limbs and kidneys.
However, that also happens when you let your sugar run unchecked, which is what I’ve been doing for the past year. I’ve tried several different medications, like the shot in my stomach that made me constantly nauseous.
Evidently there is no substitute for eating right and exercising. This freaking disease is a twisted bitch and it’s such a joke that I’m the one in the family who got it. My mother and brother were always much bigger. Of course, he’s dead now so that’s not saying much.
I also have hypothyroidism and high cholesterol, we’re talking over 300 (which means through the roof). I also refuse to take medication for the cholesterol. The one thing I do take is Synthroid for thyroid because after I quit taking it my gynecologist said, “You know you can drop dead, right?” Evidently that’s the way I need to be spoken to because I take that shit religiously and on an empty stomach, just as ordered.
Unfortunately, every six months my thyroid levels have to be tested in case the medication needs to be adjusted. My prescription runs out. I dread it because the doctor invariably slips in testing for the diabetes. Blood sugar is supposed to be less than 120 in normal people. My most recent A1c shows that for the past 3 months mine has averaged around 312. Basically it means I’m a walking time bomb for a heart attack, which is how my grandmother died at age 57. I turned 52 next week.
A diabetes educator was brought in during my last appointment and she stated that what I’m doing is similar to hooking up to an IV filled with glass shards. The doctor had already mentioned how difficult it is to purchase one shoe at a time, or 1.5 shoes, since another patient of his recently had his toes removed due to gangrene. They both agreed that dialysis wards smell terrible, which is a problem because even though I’m excellent at sitting still I do have a sensitive nose.
Sitting still is what got me into this fucking mess.
So this week I’ve been trying. Except trying means I tend to obsess over the food and can initiate a binge, which I did on Saturday. No, I’m unfortunately not talking about an exercise binge. It wasn’t even an apple pie and ice cream or a white cake and sugar cookie binge, it was just that I kept eating and eating and eating, looking for some kind of bizarre satisfaction that never really comes.
I was a food-a-holic, a sugar addict, long before becoming diabetic. It’s kind of a family tradition. My sister, the smoker, is the only one who escaped its lure.
Sugar is my cocaine, my heroin, my best friend, my escape, my narcotic. If given a choice between any food in the world, I would eat nothing but sugar. I don’t like broccoli, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, brussel sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach or cucumbers.
A lot of people don’t realize that white flour becomes sugar once it’s consumed. My daughter has nicknamed me “Biscuit” because of my propensity to open a raw can of dough at 2 a.m. and eat the whole thing. Yes, I’ll even ingest them raw while waiting for the rest of the can to cook.
So Sunday, the day after the binge, my blood sugar was 340. Sometimes I can tell when it’s high because my vision blurs. A lot of the time it’s not really noticeable. Except any large meal which includes carbohydrates puts me out like a light. Boom.
Each day since I’ve done a little bit better. Yesterday I even exercised. My food was completely clean, nothing white, no sugar or flour. However, I had dinner at 9:30 pm. I need to stop eating no later than 7.
Even still, it’s a rare thing for me to do that well. I am no longer taking diet pills, which sometimes left me eating almost nothing and staying up all night. It’s a vicious cycle that leads to depression, anxiety and wack-a-doodle.
This morning my sugar was 240. I have already exercised once since that reading. I plan to do well with my food, exercise again, stop eating at 7 p.m., and hopefully it will be lower tomorrow. I’m searching for the solution, which is not always simple to find. Even my doctor claims that if I lose another 20 pounds the diabets might just disappear. Everyone is different.
It frustrates me that I’m told a potato is worse than ice cream. Carrots are maybe okay, maybe not. I’ve eaten nothing at all and still had high sugar, which makes no sense to me. It’s trial and error.
I mention all this to my husband.
He does not say “You’re doing great,” or “I’m glad you’re trying.” He does not say, “I understand your frustration and I’ll do anything I can to help.”
He says, “Yes, but then you have to do it all again tomorrow. You can’t just do it today!”
It seemed unbelievable to me that he would say the one thing which would most likely make me react with
“Well, fuck it then.”
I wished I didn’t hear him right. But I did.
So Mr. Helpful appeared surprised when I said, “Well, aren’t you a fucking genius?”
How lucky am I, to live with someone so incredibly insightful?
Yesterday my daughter waved a fork full of brownie mix in my face and asked if I’d like to lick the spoon. I know she’s reacting to my own schizophrenic behavior regarding my own health, but really?
Fuck diabetes. Fuck sugar addiction. Fuck family support.
Success is the best revenge.