Thursday, October 15, 2009

My journey so far

I'm somewhat new to diabetes, but yet I'm not.  I had gestational diabetes with all five of my children, born in 1993, 1996, 1999, 2001, and 2004.  As a result, I've been researching diabetes for over 16 years.  During my second pregnancy, I found out the test for gestational diabetes was actually a screening test to see who would become Type 2 later on in life.  It wasn't until after that they realized that women with elevated glucose levels during pregnancy had certain complications.  Large babies with underdeveloped organs is the one that stands out the most in my mind.  Knowing that my odds of becoming diabetic because of having gestational diabetes *five* times were high, plus having a family history (my mom is diabetic as was her father), I knew that it was almost certain that I would become diabetic.  I accepted that, but tried to hold off the inevitable as long as possible.  I started working out, something I never did before.

Although I was never really into exercise, I was never overly overweight.  Yes, I could stand to lose about 40 lbs, but I didn't look like the diabetes poster adult.  I am 5'8" and my heaviest (non-pregnant) weight was only 196 lbs.  I wore size 16 jeans.  In January 2008, I got serious about my weight.  When I started, I was 192 lbs.  By that fall, I had gone from a size 16 in jeans to a size 10.  Unfortunately my diabetes diagnosis had snuck in about two and a half months after I started losing weight.  In late March 2008, my doctor's nurse called me to tell me that I had Type 2 diabetes.  My fasting glucose was 129 and my A1c was 6.9, not dangerously high but high enough for the diagnosis.  Typically a diagnosis is made after two fasting tests of 125 or higher, but given my personal and family history my doctor and I didn't feel the need for a second test.

Luckily (or not), because of my previous experience with diabetes, I didn't go through a lot of the normal emotions that most diabetics go through when they first get diagnosed.  There are days that I just would like to say, "Ok, I'm tired of this diabetes thing. Where do I go to send it back?" Unfortunately, as we stand now, there's no cure. Once you have diabetes, there's no giving it back. It's yours to keep forever and ever.

That is totally not fair! Last year I got a new pair of shorts that were too big. I could take those back! We opened a package of hamburger one night that smelled bad. I got to take that back! Why can't I take this diabetes back?

So what can I do? I can help raise money and become an advocate so that maybe they'll find a cure in my lifetime and I can give back my diabetes. Maybe I'll have the peace of mind knowing my children won't have to test their blood sugar, watch carbs, or avoid eating a whole bag of M&Ms in one sitting when the mood strikes them. I don't know if it will happen, but all I can do is try!

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