Saturday, January 23, 2010

Living with Diabetes

I was diagnosed with Adult Onset, Type II Diabetes in 2004.  Sure! I wish it hadn’t happened but more than that, I DO wish it had been diagnosed much earlier. If it had, I may not have all the damage brought about by having too much sugar in my blood and having it continue undiagnosed for as long at it was. I tried to place blame on my doctor.  Why didn’t he catch it sooner?  It’s not like I wasn’t seeing him enough. Certainly they were drawing blood from me on a regular basis. Isn’t it normal to check for blood sugar levels any time a sample is sent to the lab?  Apparently not!

I knew that diabetes was present in my family’s history. Why didn’t I believe it could happen to me too?  Why didn’t I list the symptoms and do a search using my computer and have the results page throw up a warning flag in front of my eyes that I couldn’t ignore?
Would’ve – Should’ve – Could’ve…BUT DIDN’T.

There’s no going back. It’s a serious mistake. I don’t feel any better about myself knowing that thousands or perhaps millions of others do the same as I did.

SO…Today I continue to pay the price for believing that I was different; special and perhaps Immortal, immune to the afflictions that beset so many other human beings on this planet, in this nation.
I could list all the complaints I have today and everyday that I KNOW are related to the disease but I doubt that any of you really want to read such a list.  You don’t; Do you?  Who wants to know that there’s another miserable person out there?  That information does little to reduce another’s own daily suffering.  I know it never helps me at all. 

I continue to live with it and try to enjoy life as much as possible.  Believe me…It’s better than the alternative.  I’ve seen what happens to those who choose to ignore the seriousness of diabetes. It’s not pretty and I don’t want to do anything that will take me there any quicker than is absolutely necessary.
I went to my Doctor yesterday. It was not a scheduled appointment. I had called his office a little over a week ago because I saw a reading on my glucose meter one morning that worried me a great deal. 258.  The highest reading I’ve ever seen before that time was 175. That was bad enough. I like uniform, even numbers ranging between 90 and 120.  That’s what I’ve become accustomed to over the last six years or so. Certainly I don’t want them going over 160. That’s the range my Doctor gave me as a positive goal.  I’ve done very well at achieving said goal and feel self-satisfaction at being able to maintain it. I was so relieved to discover that the problem was related to some defect in my glucose meter, the test strips or my personal procedure technique.  I've since returned the suspected devices to the manufacturer and they in turn supplied me with a new testing kit. Thanks Bayer, Inc. I had to purchase a new kit from my local CVS for twenty bucks because I couldn't do without one for the three to five days it would take to receive the replacement.  I now have a spare...just in case. 

My Doctor and I went over the latest lab report resulting from the blood I had drawn a few days back. No protein in my urine, cholesterol levels GOOD, A1C – 5.9. My Doctor added that his own numbers should look as good as mine. He has had a heart attack. Thank God, I’ve been spared that experience. My blood pressure was 127 over 77; in his words “You can’t beat that.”  Blood flow in the neck was good, so was my heart and lungs.  I complained about not being able to sleep well recently because my right shoulder ached and throbbed all night. He checked it out, putting me through a few movements and probing my shoulder with firm finger pressure while I moved it this way and that. I believe you have inflammation in and around the joint that may be the result of some common conditions in men of your age. I’ll give you a cortisone injection and see that helps. It DID and I’m very thankful. Slept well last night. Nowhere near the pain I’d been having. It’s all GOOD!

Then, before he released me with the usual paper work and words of encouragement, he moved closer to the examination table, purposely invading my personal space, leaned in a bit and said “Clarence, you can stop worrying about your diabetes. It’s as under control as diabetes gets for anyone. You are doing GREAT! I’m so glad that you are taking your disease so seriously. You may outlive me.

I felt pretty good when I left his office but I’m still worried about my eyes.  I’m not sure the increase in the “floaters” I’m seeing in my left eye is due to diabetes. I’ve had that problem a long time. What with having cataracts in both eyes, plus the floaters, I fear that I’ve going to face serious vision problems in the near future.  That would certainly SUCK.  Putting my Suck-O-meter in the upper ranges.
My life isn’t GREAT but I’m thankful for what I do have.

I’ll leave you with a little advice. If you even suspect that you could have a blood sugar problem; PLEASE, I beg you, have it checked just to be sure. It’s so easy to do. Your Doctor can do it right in his/her office. They usually keep a glucose meter on hand. Or, perhaps you know someone or have a family member with the problem; they wouldn’t mind letting you use their  testing supplies to check it yourself. If you do have a problem and catch it early, believe me, you’ll be thankful you did.  I hope you are spared all the negative affects that I cope with daily.  It’s too easy to detect. There’s no need for anyone else to suffer as I have.

FYI: Symptoms of Diabetes (Most common ones)
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger (especially after eating)
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry)
  • Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Loss of consciousness (rare)

One more comment:  For a diabetic, there are few things worse than an undependable glucose meter. It's wrong on so many levels.  Time to push the Panic Button and do what it takes to fix the situation.

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