I’ve been officially a diabetic for ten years now. Had my suspicions well before the official diagnosis, but in typical fashion I kept going in for fasting blood tests and I kept showing up as being within normal range. It wasn’t till I had a test after lunch that I got the bad news.
Diabetes is a cantankerous and capricious disease and it treats no two humans exactly the same. Some
people have to be put on insulin or oral medication immediately and struggle to find the right balance of medications and food. Some can go for years controlling it with just diet and exercise. I suspect most of us are somewhere in between.
I did fine with diet and exercise for quite a while. Unfortunately, I worked in an environment where my supervisors not only did not understand but made no effort to understand. My boss came from a culture where food and eating are very important and I think she took it personally when I said I couldn’t eat the food provided for departmental parties. I had no choice. It was greasy, salty, high in carbohydrates and sugar. I would try to find something reasonable, somewhere on the tables, but often I couldn’t.
One party, there wasn’t even any diet soda. I sat there with nothing until one of the supervisors unearthed a warm, dusty can of Diet Pepsi from somewhere. They didn’t even spring for a cold can from the vending machine. I think that was the nadir. After that, I really preferred to be assigned to work with the public while everyone else was partying.
I eventually went on medication. Like most people I went through a long period of adjustment, including a major change when I was taken off the beta blocker and other ineffective blood pressure meds by the first doctor in 20+ years who was able to figure out what was causing my blood pressure problems and do something about it.
I had about a year of good blood sugar control with just metformin, one of the most common drugs, but then something went flooie and my blood sugar levels started climbing. I asked for an appointment to the diabetes clinic, figuring it was time to give the specialists a shot at it.
And so, this week I started giving myself insulin injections at bedtime.
Many Type 2 diabetics have the idea that if they have to start taking insulin they have somehow failed. I didn’t, and don’t, see it that way. This gives me much more control over my own treatment. I get to adjust the dosage till I find what works. The doctors trust me to figure it out, and that in itself makes me feel very good.
The injections themselves are not painful in the least. I know we’ve all been conditioned to think that “shots” hurt, and I’ve certainly had plenty that did. I fretted a lot before giving myself that first injection. But insulin needles are not much thicker than a human hair and less than half an inch long and there literally is no pain. The anticipation was way worse than the actual event, like so much else in life.
So, here I am on my way to better control and better health. I feel positive. I feel good.