Not knowing yourself...

- 4 mins read

Just before Christmas 2018, and I mean literally on December 24 2018, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I’d been seeing some signs for a while, and there is a history of it in the family (I’m a fourth generation diabetic) so the diagnosis was not unexpected. Indeed it was kind of a relief to have something that explained why I had not been well for a while.

Turns out I’d probably been diabetic for about a year before I was diagnosed, things crept up on me, and I just blamed it on getting older (I’m currently only in my early 40’s), so I just did my best to manage on my own, but towards the end of the year I was getting more and more unwell, and push came to shove. December 24 was the first day of my Christmas break, so I booked myself in to see my doctor, and the diagnosis was quick.

A spot check of my blood sugar showed a reading of just over 18, normal is around 5 to 9. I had a problem. Straight away I was placed on medication that reduced my bodies production of glucose, and increased my sensitivity to insulin.

You see that’s what I learned about diabetes, that type 2 is generally the pancreas not producing enough insulin to manage the glucose used for energy, and the insulin that is produced not being as effective as it should be anymore. Something of a double whammy.

Another thing I learned was that while diet had an impact on whether you develop type 2 diabetes, the biggest factor for me was genetics, you can control what you eat, but you are stuck with your genes, at least for now.

In short order I was being case managed by a nurse, and had seen a dietition. The latter was very confronting, you don’t realise the full impacts of seemingly healthy foods on your body. The rule seems to be that the more processed something is, the more likely it is to be an issue.

The ensuing diet and minimum 40 minutes per day of brisk walking ensured that I dropped from 103kg to 93kg in just over three months, that meant I dropped two pant sizes in a short period, the local op shop got some quality donations from me during this time as I’d buy new clothes and donate the ones I no longer fit, and sometimes they were only a matter of six weeks old when donated.

I seem to have settled now, I’m not sure exactly what I weigh, as that’s not the target, the aim is health, the number is a by product, so the only time I get weighed is on my four monthly case checkup with the nurse and doctor.

This led however to the weird sensation of not recognising myself in the mirror for a while, and it was really weird. I had a somewhat round face being over wieght, but now I have noticiable cheek bones. To be fair I’ve always had cheek bones, but now I can see them defined in my reflection. This loss of weight in the face has made it a weird experience to shave, the facial contours I’d known for decades were suddenly changed, and I cannot really express how darn weird it feels to take a razor to my face, and shave, especially with the side effect of slightly looser skin there now. I have managed to cut myself a few times, and have recently decided to revert back to an electric shaver as it’s safer that using a razor for me now.

Currently I’m six months into what will be a lifelong journey for me. I’m in a better place now than I was last year, but I’m always learning. I’ve done well to get things under control, but maintaining that ongoing is always the challenge.

I’ve come to terms with the new reality, and am doing the best I can, and most days that is good enough. At the start of the year I was doing well if I went four days without feeling sick, now I’m no longer counting the days between bouts of being unwell, and this is easing the frustration that I felt because I felt my body was letting me down in some way.

Accept what you can’t control, and focus on what you can. That’s what I strive for each day, and most days it works for me.

I’m going to be ok.