Diabetes Awareness Month - Day 2: Prescription
I have considered myself to have always been open about discussing my diabetes with anyone who asked. Even as a child, I didn't have a problem letting people know that I was a T1D. In fact, back in my elementary school days, I would accpet payments of school lunch items such as cookies, or gogurt (which was the coolest yogurt EVER when I was a kid) in exchange for allowing my fellow classmates to prick my finger for a blood test (sorry Mom, I haven't told you that till now.) My then best friend was always keeping watch over me to make sure that no other fellow student pricked my finger incorrectly, or was too rowdy during the process. It felt like my peers looked at me like a science experiment, and the fact that I was willing to share with them the nitty-gritty details of my disease made it even more fascinating to them. Honestly, I enjoyed the attention it provided me, and somehow, it made 'being the diabetic kid' cool.
I still am open about discussing my diabetes with anyone; however, as I've aged, there are definitely a few aspects that tie into my diabetes that I'm embarrassed to talk openly about....till now. This photo challenge is helping me to be honest with myself, as well as others, in hopes of getting myself on the right track to a healthier me.
Ever since my diagnosis, I have struggled with my weight. I was a very active child; my Mother made sure there was time in the day for playing outdoors. The combination of living out in the country and being home schooled till I was in 3rd grade made it easy for me to enjoy daily romps around the property. My Mother made sure that my brother and I ate healthily too. As kids, I remember we never really drank soda, or had loads of sweets around. I still remember my mom preparing apple/celery and peanut butter snacks for us kids, and honestly, I enjoyed the fun snacks and meals she made for the family.
The months prior to my diagnosis I was skin and bones because I suddenly dropped a bunch of weight. The years following my diagnosis I was a little heavier than I should have been. Unfortunately, ever since that diagnosis day, I have been heavier than I should, or wanted. I know that I need to take responsibility for most of it, because after all, if I really wanted it bad enough I could make it happen. But I find myself constantly riding the line between giving myself a break because life with diabetes is already hard enough without freaking out about weight, but at the same time, attempting to instill even more self control on myself with what I eat and how much. I tell myself that I can't always control what my blood sugar is, and when it's high I get the munchies BIG time. It's exhausting to always feel like no matter what you do, you lose. If I resist the cravings, I get cranky because it sucks to always feel like you're denying yourself something that you really love (like junk food!) But at the same time, if I give in, I feel guilty because I know that I really didn't need to eat whatever I did.
So how does this tie into a photo about a prescription....I am getting to my point.
About a year ago, I noticed that the pounds were suddenly just packing on. I wasn't really eating any differently than I had been, in fact I had made some efforts to eat less and better which I was sticking too. I wasn't exercising any less, in fact, I was moving more during the day (not much, but a little bit more.) To my horror, I suddenly realized after stepping on the scale that I had gained around 40lbs in 6 months! I was horrified; how had I not noticed that sooner!? I immediately started problem solving in an attempt to figure out the cause. I realized that in the last few months, my blood sugar numbers had been horrible. At least 90% of the time they had been in the 200-300's (or higher) even though I was upping the insulin dosage ratio to cover it. The ONLY time my blood sugar was in relatively good range was either when I ate a carb free meal, or when I had long periods of time in between a meal and there was no carbs or food in my system. I felt like crap about the entire thing.
I immediately scheduled a visit with my endocrinologist. This all happened at a horrible time in my life; I had just changed insurance carriers and I had never met my endo before. I remember they had to take my blood pressure four times before getting a normal reading because I was so nervous and anxious about what she was going to say. It's horrible that we diabetics have to feel this way, but you never know what kind of doctor you're going to get. I had gotten unfair judgement from endocrinologists in the past, and the last thing I needed was to feel like I did something wrong by coming in and asking for help. I didn't want my own doctor to shame me because I had an auto-immune disease that I couldn't control. I am an independent person when it comes to taking care of my diabetes, and it was extremely difficult for me to admit to myself that I had reached the point where I could no longer take care of it by myself. For so long, I resisted going to my endocrinologist for help; I kept telling my partner, Alex, that the last thing I wanted was for the doctor to tell me there was one more thing wrong with me. I cried at the thought of being that young woman who has to fill up the daily prescription container and take a plethora of medications just to be "normal."
Luckily, my endo was fabulous! She was so sweet, understanding, and no nonsense about finding a solution that worked for me. She prescribed me metformin; which is an oral medication that helps your body better absorb and utilize insulin as my endocrinologist strongly suspected that my body was becoming insulin resistant. The insulin that I was injecting wasn't being used properly which resulted in ALWAYS high numbers. I immediately started noticing good results after taking it. It's typically prescribed for Type 2 Diabetics, however, Type 1 Diabetics who are insulin resistant can benefit from adding it to their management repertoire.
I was a little embarrassed at first to share that I was taking metformin; even from other diabetics I would get the comment "Oh are you a type 2 now?" and that comment hurt my feelings, more than I care to admit. But after a few months of using it, my blood sugars are better, I feel MUCH better, I crave less and it's so much easier for me to resist snacking and not inhale huge portion amounts every meal. I realize now, I don't have to be embarrassed. I am incredibly proud of the boost of progress it's helped me. Now, if people want to judge, so be it! I am not ashamed now that I needed to add this medication to my life in order to keep myself in better health. I am not embarrassed that this stuff has taken up residence on my cabinet shelt. It's not my fault that I'm diabetic. It's not my fault that I'm insulin resistant, and it's no one's fault that my body needed some help. It is what it is, and I'm finally ok with it.