Last week the nurse from my doctor’s office called me and said that my recent blood tests indicated that I was at extreme risk of developing diabetes.
My immediate reaction was “Diabetes? Me?” followed immediately by “Baloney.” Actually, I used a different expletive though it also starts with the letter b. My daughter used the same word when I told her the news.
It’s like this.
I exercise regularly. This places me among the 10% of Americans who do so. Specifically, I walk our dog 40 to 60 minutes a day, barring snow, heavy rain, or a polar vortex. I go to Jazzercise 3 to 4 times a week. I’m also on my feet grocery shopping 2 to 3 times a week plus preparing meals and cleaning up after those meals every day. I don’t watch lots of t. v., averaging maybe an hour an evening. I’m a self-published writer, but I try to limit my computer time to three to four hours a day.
I eat right. Those five servings of fresh fruit and veggies a day everybody is supposed to eat? I get those, consistently, and I’ve done so since I joined Weight Watchers in 2006. We’re not vegetarians, but I limit the amount of lean red meat I serve in favor of chicken, seafood, and pasta. We do eat a ton of cheese, but I take medication for cholesterol. We have a can of ginger ale in the fridge and a few more cans in the garage in case one of us gets the flu. But I haven’t had a Coke since 2010 and even then it was a Diet Coke. I haven’t had a beer or a glass of wine in at least a year. I read the labels on food at the grocery store, vigorously watch my salt intake, and avoid prepared food that has sugar of any kind. Before I retired in 2004, we ate out two to three times a week. Now I eat out three times a month.
I maintain a close to normal weight. At the time of that nurse’s phone call, I was about 7 pounds over my Weight Watchers’ goal weight. In the five days since then I’ve lost a couple.
Finally, neither my mom nor my dad developed diabetes in their senior years though they lived to be 94 and 87 respectively. (I am now 72.)
My conclusion after hearing the news that I could develop diabetes? If this can happen to me, no senior is safe.
Even though in denial, I immediately took some measures against this ailment I didn’t think I could possibly get.
I extended my dog walks somewhat and set the timer on my phone to make me get up from the computer every hour to do some household tasks.
It was painful, but I went to the cupboard and got out the wonderful Green and Black’s organic chocolate bars I recently bought at Whole Foods. “Here,” I said to my daughter. “Take them somewhere so other people can eat them.”
The day after the call, I got out my old Weight Watchers stuff, figured my 5% and 10% weight loss goals, and started tracking.
The denial phase lasted until I went online and read up on the symptoms of incipient diabetes.
I’m not drinking or urinating excessively, but a few weeks ago I developed an incredible sweet tooth.
When I took the eye exam during my doctor’s visit, my vision seemed blurred. This I ascribed to a faulty fit of my current pair of contact lenses.
Recently I’ve had considerable pain in my hands. About a month ago, my daughter and I watched A Hijacking, an incredibly suspenseful film. As is my habit while watching t. v., I was knitting a scarf. I must have really clenched up on those number 9 needles because the next morning my fingers were so knotted up I couldn’t unfold them without considerable pain. My hands are now pretty much back to normal, but for the last few weeks I’ve had chronic pain in my left big toe and some in my right that can’t be explained away.
As for the lack of genetic predisposition for diabetes, my mom and dad didn’t develop it, but maybe people elsewhere on my family tree did.
So for now I’m assuming that the test results were correct, tracking my calories, avoiding sweets, and gathering information. These measures don’t mean I’ve arrived at acceptance. Actually, I’m pretty angry about this whole deal. I’ll tell you why in the next installment of my blog.