Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Always Something There To Remind Me

Day Three...look at Me!

Click for the Language and Diabetes - Wednesday 5/18 Link List.
There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I'm willing to bet we've all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don't care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let's explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.

I am a diabetic who tests my blood sugar. And I've never thought about it before. I use the term PWD (Person With Diabetes) because it's easier to type. I read this today. And I thought it was interesting. Mostly, because I really had NEVER thought about it before. I don't want to be seen as just a diabetic. I want to be seen as an intelligent, well rounded woman. But part of that intelligence is because of diabetes.  

Let's back up to 2010 and before. I have played soccer since I was three. But until around 2011, I never exercised outside of that. I ate whatever I wanted because it seemed like it tasted good. I didn't know shit about nutrition. And I mean nothing. I would have told you corn was a healthy vegetable. At my heaviest, I weighed in at 204 pounds. Bulimia helped with that one. I made a lot of generalizations about diseases and health because I didn't need to look stuff up. If I heard it once, it was probably true. I was probably a 6 pack a day Coca Cola drinker. Sweets were never my thing other than that. But, man potato chips and onion dip were such a relief any time of the day. I ate anything microwaved, and I would say it was probably about 50% of my diet, the other eating out. The activities I enjoyed were sitting on the couch, watching television, drinking with friends, sleeping, occasional writing, eating, and spending as much money as I didn't have. I rarely saw a doctor and it didn't even occur to me to care. Besides, if they said I would need blood work or a shot, they weren’t going to get it. I passed up meningitis vaccinations and a tuberculosis  test in high school to avoid the needles.

I spent a year in misdiagnosis. From August of 2010 to July of 2011, I was a type 2 diabetic, taking Metformin, with tingly hands, who was thirsty all of the time, peed a lot more of the time, and lost ninety pounds and LOOKED phenomenal in a bikini. Was I eating less crap? YEA! Was I exercising a little more than I used to? YEA! Therefore, I knew everything I needed to know. I was doing everything right. I was reversing MY diabetes!

July 23, 2011, this all changed. I got an early Saturday morning call from my endocrinologist saying that my a1c was in the 18 range and I needed to go to the ER immediately and get insulin. Then, on Monday he had set a nine o’clock appointment for me to come in and talk about our course of action. So, I did. And I was terrified. On Monday, after two days of MDI’s, I hauled myself into my Endo’s office. He set me up with a nutritionist and talked about eventual insulin pumps, a personal trainer and a slew of doctor’s I would need to start seeing.

The nutritionist blew my mind! Did you know that drive thru food is terrible for you!? And frozen meals have little-to-no nutrients because of all of the preservatives? What about how your body interprets soda and juice the same way? Or that you should have at least 35 minutes of continual exercise three to four times a week? How about that pizza has more carbohydrates in it than just the bread? Or that everything has carbohydrates except meat, cheese and fat? Yea! Me neither! I see her twice a year for a refresher of all the things I forget.

Now, exercise has become a part of my life. I eat what I crave, but also what I need. Dinner is usually my healthiest meal. Although, now that I eat breakfast every day, breakfast is a close contender. My favorite vegetable is between raw broccoli or cooked Brussel sprouts. I am 5’5 and I weighed in at 151 at my last doctor appointment last week (I don’t own a scale at home because I would focus on that as much as my CGM graph.) If I have a question, I look it up or ask someone that knows because I know firsthand how annoying it is when people think they know something about Diabetes and they are talking out of their ass. I’ve only spent about 6 months off soda, so I probably drink between 2 and 4 diet cokes every day. (EVERYONE HAS A CRUTCH GET OFF MY LAWN.) I dig small pieces of dark chocolate sometimes, and chips are still a vice, but I do a serving instead of four. I haven’t owned a microwave in over a year and I only use the one at work to heat up my lunch, that is usually left over from the night before home cooked meal from scratch. Now, I love running, writing every day, coloring, networking, reading, going to the park, drinking with friends still, diabetes advocacy, and going to see movies by myself. Between the dentist, the OBGYN, the eye doctor, my endo, my general practitioner, the nutritionist and the occasional ER or orthopedic surgeon, I see my fair share of doctor’s. And the needles, well, they aren’t as bad as they used to be.

I still don’t know that much about my health. I’m still learning more and more every day. But, damn I know more than I did six years ago.

I am not insulted when someone refers to themselves as a person with diabetes. Or says they check instead of test. But, I am not a person who has diabetes. I am a diabetic. It changed me. It made me who I am. I test because those mathematical numbers make a difference in the way I handle my life and the way my doctor looks at what is my best treatment.

Sure, I am a person. But don’t discount what defines me. I don’t. 


  1. Woo Hoo! Three days in a row for both of us! Aren't we special?
    Chips and onion dip! Me, too.
    The weight loss? I thought dieting was simple. Oh well. Just think, we would not have met except for the D.
    So - that makes me happy.

    1. ME TOO! I wouldn't trade it! (most days ;) )