Vulnerability and Accountability

So this isn’t easy for me to say publicly. It isn’t a life-shattering thing in any way, but admitting it makes it true.

I’m diabetic.

I’m diabetic and have been for years. Gestational diabetes with Middlest, and it simply never went away. That was almost eight years ago.

Not only am I diabetic, but I’m wildly uncontrolled.

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This is because I like baking too much. I’m too busy looking after the children. The medicine makes me sick. I forget to take the shots. What have you.

I don’t want to admit I’m ill. I don’t want to admit that I have this chronic sickness that makes me dizzy, that makes me forget things.

image(43)Today I felt awful. Tired and irritated and jumping out of my skin. My entire body ached. I was exhausted. I couldn’t concentrate, and I was cranky.

I went to my room for a bit, hoping that I could get away from the pain and irritation. I just wanted to be left alone. But then I thought, “You know what? I bet my sugars are high. Let’s check.” This was a huge step for me.

I don’t check my sugars for a reason. They’re always high, and also hello denial! I don’t want to have a chronic illness. I don’t want to be broken.

But I also can’t continue to live like this. Suck it up, Buttercup! Face reality. Grab the bull by the horns. GET BETTER.

My glucose level was 354. Which is frightening. I discussed this with a dear friend last night and he said that’s how high his glucose was when he had a heart attack. I said, “This scares me.”  He said, “Perhaps I said it to scare you.”

That’s what true friends do, so you know. They scare you when you need it.

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My daughter painted my nails. Aren’t they lovely?

I do have an insulin pen that I seldom use. I have medication. I know I need to eat regularly. That’s my biggest problem. I just kind of forget until it’s nearly too late.

Anyway, here we go! I said it publicly. I’m a diabetic and I hate it with everything I have. I hate the vulnerability of it. I hate the changes that are taking place. I’m giving up the Coke Zero, which is insanely hard for me. We’re tossing out my emotional crutches. I cried today as I poured my sugar out into the trash, but my husband and I have committed to a real food, diabetic-friendly program that will, hopefully, stop me from poisoning myself and calling it “comfort and caring.”

I’m already going through withdrawals, although I’m tapering the Coke down instead of going cold turkey. But it’s more than that. It’s knowing that I can’t just bake a cake when I’m stressed. It’s figuring out that I need to take care of myself, when that’s such a hard thing to do. Quite honestly, I don’t know how. I haven’t the slightest idea. This is shaking my foundation a bit.

Hi, I’m Mercedes, and I’m realizing I’m very sick.

There. Vulnerable, and now accountable.

Wish me luck, my darling friends.

Thanks for your help, my friends. 🙂

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13 thoughts on “Vulnerability and Accountability

  1. That was incredibly difficult to do, and I’m proud of you for doing it. I understand chronic illness, as I’ve lived with them (yes, *them*) since 1997. They’ve prevented me from having children. About a year ago, I realized my diet also needed to change, and that’s made all the difference in the world. You can do this.

  2. Mercedes, I cannot tell you how much this blog has effected me. I was diagnosed with diabetes almost three months ago. I was stunned at the news and didn’t really believe it at first. I only told one person who was not family. I was so embarrassed. I thought there was something wrong with me. I asked the doctor what I could do and he told me the best I could hope for was to control it. I was so scared of what was happening to me that I committed to him that I would change my lifestyle.

    Now I read the labels on EVERYTHING. Carbs are akin to death for me. I drink my coffee black, I eat ice-cream made from frozen peas, my pasta is made from black beans, my cereal is second cousin to cardboard, and I break down and cry when I see someone eating fried haddock. I limit myself to one scotch, and then only on weekends (okay, maybe I cheat on that a little). I drink tons of water and tea. And, while I love cigars, I went almost the whole three months without smoking one (I did have one a day while on vacation).

    My wife is supporting me like crazy. She watches out for high carb foods. She only cooks foods that I can eat. And most importantly, she goes for walks with me every night. I have lost ten pounds over the first two months and I am sure I have lost more since then but I haven’t weighed myself. Tomorrow I go back to the doctor for my first check up since I was diagnosed, and I am praying my sugar levels are down (I refused to check myself during this period for personal reasons that might not make sense to you – but then again, maybe they would).

    I so wanted to do what you have done here but I kept chickening out. Thanks, Mercedes. I’m right there with you and will be sending so many good, low carb thoughts your way. 🙂

    • Scotch won’t elevate your glucose levels. It actually lowers it. Alcohol is dangerous if you’re taking medication because it can make it go too low. Sugary cocktails are a different story, but red wine, scotch, gin, vodka straight up will lower your levels. It’s good not to drink when diabetic. Just be sure it’s for the right reason. Be well. I have been dealing with diabetes since the age of 18. I’m 51.

    • As a follow-up, I went to the doctor this morning and he was extremely happy with my progress. My sugar was down to 140 (from 270) and my ACL’s (?) were down to 7.1 (from 9.5). I’m still working on it too. He told me that my risk for heart attack went down from 20.5% to 12.5%, a big improvement (normal risk for someone like me is 5.9%). So, I will keep on, keeping on.

  3. I’m so sorry! Giving up baking would be horrifying for me too — I wish I new some good “treats” for diabetics. I’m sure they’re out there! I know how hard it is to take care of yourself. Last week I texted my husband asking what I was forgetting that I needed to take care of and he responded “Yourself.” Which was so true because I was super stressed. So I asked him out on a lunch date. 🙂 I hope you can find happy ways to take care of yourself and feel better! Take care.

  4. Diabetes is a big theme in my family. I am borderline. No medication. Usually diet and exercise keep my numbers in check, but I am a sweets lover. Even trained as a pastry chef. My mom started out borderline at age 27. She ignored it for decades and is now suffering serious complications. My husband has diabetes and it has complicated his cancer treatment. In fact, during his first round of chemo and radiation back in 2012, it was the diabetes that nearly killed him–sugar got as high as the 500s. Put him in the ICU for two weeks and a rehab center for another four. How’s that for crazy? All of this and I STILL don’t regularly check my sugars. And I STILL don’t make use of my diabetes friendly cookbooks. And I STILL Skip meals all the time. I don’t know that it’s denial so much as overwhelm. It is overwhelming to change my life so radically. To live with the structure and…mindfulness…necessary to keep this issue in check. Life is not simple as a diabetic. Not at all. But what’s the alternative? Go temporarily blind, like my husband did when a build of of glucose cause inflammation of his optic nerve? Lose a leg like my mom has? Or develop the neuropathy they both suffer in their hands and feet? Thank you for posting this. It is inconvenient. But it has kicked me right in the pants. 

    Carrie From: A Broken Laptop To: clahain@yahoo.com Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 10:24 AM Subject: [New post] Vulnerability and Accountability #yiv7154365197 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv7154365197 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv7154365197 a.yiv7154365197primaryactionlink:link, #yiv7154365197 a.yiv7154365197primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv7154365197 a.yiv7154365197primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv7154365197 a.yiv7154365197primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv7154365197 WordPress.com | Mercedes M. Yardley posted: “So this isn’t easy for me to say publicly. It isn’t a life-shattering thing in any way, but admitting it makes it true.I’m diabetic.I’m diabetic and have been for years. Gestational diabetes with Middlest, and it simply never went away. That was a” | |

  5. Take your insulin regularly and you won’t have to live the life you fear. I’ve been dealing with this for 33 years. I promise you, I’ve eaten cake and carbs and everything else I’ve wanted from time to time.
    You can’t think of yourself as broken. You are not. Your body has a glitch that you can work with. Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone. Your body just doesn’t process it well if you are “type 2” (your pancreas works fine. It’s your cells that don’t allow the insulin in.) if you are type one, your pancreas was attacked by a virus that damaged it. There is a whole spectrum in between. I am what my endigrinologist calls 1.5. My exhibit like a type one but my pancreas works. Crazy stuff.
    There is a lot of medication to try. The right combination will work for you. But you have to take it consistently or it won’t.
    Sorry. Long comment. 🙂

  6. Mercedes, I have been a diagnosed Type 1.5 diabetic for at 13 years now. I can tell you that the biggest key to getting things under control is to test, test, test your BG levels. Also, see a dietician. You will find out that you do not have to throw all of your carbs away and avoid them at all costs. You will learn that by testing you can find out which foods negatively affect your BG levels. The ONE food that makes my BG levels go crazy is white rice BUT if that white rice is in sushi that doesn’t happy. Does this sound crazy? Well it is but that is how diabetes rolls. It is different in every single one of us. Diabetes does not affect any two people exactly the same way. That is something else you will learn from a dietician.

    If there is a diabetes clinic in your area, and I suspect there is, you can get “wrap around services” from a specially trained diabetes educator, a dietician, doctor and more depending on how that clinic is set up. It puts you in control of your diabetes because you will get the support and education you need to fully deal with this condition.

    Once you get your BG under control then you will be able to live your life more casually because you will know your triggers and you will understand your BG levels better. Actually once you are completely off of the Coke Zero you may find that your BG levels are much more in control than they have been in a long time because artificial sweeteners actually have a negative effect on diabetes. They trigger the craving for sweets and make it harder to stay on track. There is a lot of documented, peer reviewed information about this phenomenon. It is not just an Internet Urban Legend. This is one reason that it annoys me to no end that artificial sweeteners are still recommended for diabetics but that is another issue.

    I understand forgetting to eat. I am terrible about doing so. I adjust my medications accordingly. My doctor is very aware of how I adjust my medications. This is not something I do without have discussed it with my doctor and my dietician. You can learn this too but you have to test, test, test and then test some more to learn how your body is working. For a while I had to make myself eat in order to bring my BG levels down. That’s right, I had to eat to get my BG levels down because not eating made them go up. I told you that diabetes is crazy.

    Also, if you are sick, stressed, etc. it can affect your BG levels. Be sure to check your BG even more frequently at those times.

    Last but not least learn what BG level is best for YOU. If my BG goes under 120 I start to get sick. By the time it gets to 100 I am having serious symptoms of hypoglycemia. Most doctors want you to keep your BG level around 100. For me that would be very detrimental. My best BG level, proven over time, is around 140. Some other diabetics reading this right now may be gasping at that high number. My HbA1C is now 5.3 and has been for years. Obviously I am doing something right and my doctor agrees completely. When I started out my HbA1C was 13.8. I have come a long way over the years. I have been my own advocate and by testing I have learned what works best for me. Testing is the key. It will teach you about your body. Do not be afraid of testing. Also, make sure to totally scrub your hands with warm water and soap before testing. That will give you the best test as will testing on your fingertips rather than anywhere else.

    Mercedes, you can do this. Diabetes is nothing to be ashamed of and is is not a character flaw although some misguided “health experts” try to make it sound that way. This is another soapbox I will stay away from right now.

    Do not despair. You have friends. You have a support system and you have the power within yourself to find a way to control diabetes. You are lucky to have insurance and the ability to get the supplies that you need to test and treat your illness. Rejoice in all of the good things that you have going for you. Allow them to hug you and feel their warmth. You have the right stuff. You can do this.

    Hugs, Ardee-ann

  7. I don’t have diabetes or any advice to give. But I do love you and I’m glad you are taking steps to take care of you. I also know about eating “comfort food” and emotional eating and I can tell you right now if I had to throw away on my sugarbombs I’d be crying too. You are not alone. Here is a **>>HuG<<**.

  8. Oh, my friends! I cried when I read your comments. Thank you so much! There’s such a sense of shame and “This is a disease you bring on yourself” and “What should I have done differently?” Thank you for sharing this part of yourselves.

    A Fan, that is FANTASTIC news! Congratulations! You’ve been working hard and I’m so glad it shows! You’ve inspired me. ❤

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