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Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Spoonful of Sugar....


It all began one day in late October when I woke up feeling as if I couldn’t see right. It was like some kind of haze covered my eyes preventing me from looking into the distance. Objects not right up close looked blurry and foggy. I couldn’t make out things like signs, faces etc. I couldn’t see the projections on the wall in a meeting at work. I couldn’t see the backdrop screen in church. I couldn’t see the football game I tried to watch on TV.

It was somewhat frightening, but I didn’t say anything to anyone right away. I decided it was probably some sort of allergy thing or infection and that it would go away. But it didn’t. I finally told my husband and he insisted I make an appointment at the eye doctor. I didn’t want to. I thought there would be no point because soon everything would clear up and having a new (much stronger) prescription for glasses would be a waste. But I did it anyway. I couldn’t get into the eye doctor for about a week.

During this week, my vision worsened. I experienced headaches from eyestrain. Finally, by the end of the week I was convinced there was more at work here than old eyes so I called the doctor’s office. They could see me Friday afternoon. I drove myself there even though I knew I couldn’t see well enough to be driving. By the time I got there I had a horrendous headache, felt weak and shaky and was running a slight temp.

To my surprise, the attention of the medical staff at the clinic was immediately grabbed by my eye problem. I guess it was the suddenness with which it came on that concerned them. They examined me, drew some blood and scheduled an MRI mentioning things they wanted to rule out such as stroke or tumor. OK. Now they had my attention. MRI scheduled for Tuesday. Monday morning was the eye dr. appointment, and yes, they still wanted me to go.

I spent the weekend sleeping a lot as they insisted I take allergy medicine even though I told them I couldn’t stay awake if I did. My husband had to take off work to drive me to the eye dr. on Monday. I saw a new doctor I had not seen before (because of my need to have the appointment immediately). I dreaded explaining the whole circumstance to her, but she understood and addressed the vision issues like she saw it every day. Dr. Conway told me she suspected a blood sugar issue was causing the problem. After many tests and much discussion she sent me home saying my eyes were healthy. I was to let her know the results of blood tests as soon as the dr. called.

The dr. called that afternoon and yes, sure enough, my blood glucose levels were extremely high. (Nearly 400 with normal being about 120). Blood sugar. I confess I was rather naive about such things but I was intelligent enough to know what “blood sugar problems” probably meant. Still, nobody said the ‘D’ word. They did tell me I needed to be in their office first thing Tuesday morning and that btw, I could skip the MRI.

Long story short, Type 2 Diabetes. I would have to eliminate most carbs from my diet and add more exercise. I could take glucose inhibitor pills instead of insulin for the time being, but I would have to do the ‘poke my finger thing.’ My vision would improve and return to normal as the blood glucose levels went down.

They did. It did. In fact, my distance vision is now better than it was before this happened. I have no need of my old glasses. I have grown used to poking my finger so that I don’t mind it quite so much. My readings have gone down to normal levels. My dog Angel loves the walks I take her on now that I try to exercise more. I feel better all the way around. The one thing I am still trying to come to an understanding with is my relationship with carbohydrates. I don’t need or want sweets and desserts. Recipes that cut the sugar don’t interest me. What I miss desperately is bread and potatoes. Sometimes I am tempted to have a little more carbs than I should, but I always see the results in my next pin prick. Vegetables and I pretty much don’t like each other. Protein is OK but a hamburger just isn’t the same without a bun or fries. I put onions on most everything these days. I at least still have that indulgence. What ‘carb-less’ food is there that can’t be improved upon with a little onion for flavor?

One thing I have noticed that astounds me is the widespread belief that people with diabetes got that way because they ate too much sugar. Entirely untrue! It is not a self-inflicted disease. Please don’t add this insult to the injury one already feels when being faced with a Type 2 diagnosis.  Sugar has never been my weakness. Bread, potatoes, pasta, yes – but not sugar.

And the point? It’s just this. I have learned I don’t need potatoes or even bread to enjoy meals. I live a healthier lifestyle as a diabetic. I am healthier, a few pounds lighter and stronger. It’s all good. Everything – even the bad stuff – works for good. And guess what? As long as my family and friends are there to care about me and pray for me, life is pretty sweet, even without the sugar.

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