Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Apparently, the good Lord has decided that my life isn't complicated enough already. Fibromyalgia, vertigo, nausea? Too easy. Having to strap myself into an apparatus & breathe through a Hazmat mask everytime I want to get some sleep (AKA the horror of sleep apnea)? Come on! Attempting to live peacefully in the same house as my parents (one of whom has only a tenuous grip on her sanity)? Cakewalk. Flooding in my basement & siding popping off in chunks? Girl, please!

So, here's what happened: I went for my semi-annual checkup with my rheumatologist a few weeks ago, which always includes some basic bloodwork to check for possible side-effects from all my various meds & treatments. All went well, so I scheduled my next visit for 5 months from now & went on my merry way. A week later, Mark goes to our family physician for a routine check, just to get his prescriptions refilled for another year. He comes home that afternoon, looking a little frazzled. Concerned, I asked him how it went... Wrong move! Mark then proceeds to tell me that he is fine, but that our doctor told him that I had type 2 diabetes. Um, what?!

Apparently my rheumatologist had checked my sugar as part of the bloodwork he did, and had sent a copy of the results to my primary care doctor. "Aha!" thought I. "Well, that explains it. He didn't tell me to fast before having my blood drawn, and I know I had breakfast and lunch that day. So I'm sure that result wasn't accurate." Still, I thought it would be smart to take some random glucose readings at home, just to see how things were on a regular basis. My mom has a meter that she doesn't need to use anymore, so I borrowed it for the 2 weeks between hearing this news & my next appointment with my doctor.

Suffice it to say that I was less than thrilled with the results... My first reading, taken before breakfast, was 237 mg/dl (for those of you who may not be familiar with normal glucose levels, my understanding is that fasting glucose is supposed to be 110 mg/dl or less). The following days were no better: 256... 197... 243... 222... 195... 281. The best (?) reading I had in that two week period was a 165. Subsequent testing ordered by my doctor reinforced the ugly truth.

And that's the story of how Mark gave me diabetes. I mean, what the hell?! He's no longer allowed to go to the doctor without supervision - the last thing I need is for him to come home one day & tell me that I've got the plague or something. Unbelievable!

Seriously, though, I think Mark has been more worried about all this than I have. Poor guy! As much as I like to tease him about the circumstances of my diagnosis - and I really, really do - it would have to suck to be in his position & have to tell someone you love that they have a life-altering, potentially fatal disease. As I expected, he has also been nothing but supportive and understanding, signing up to go to diabetes care classes with me (4 weeks in a row!) and listening patiently as I obsess about all the new information I'm trying to absorb. Mark has always been my hero, but now I might seriously have to look into getting him a medal or something.

As for me, I'm still feeling a little shell-shocked by the whole experience. I can't say that the diagnosis was a real surprise - I'm very overweight, more sedentary than ever before, and I usually base my food choices on what's the most convenient at the time. Of course, I can blame some of this on my fibromyalgia, but the truth is that I knew better and still did nothing to avoid the possible ramifications of my lifestyle - including diabetes. I take full responsibility for my predicament and the poor choices that led me here... well, except for the part where Mark gave me diabetes. Bastard. ;>)

But the first choice I made in dealing with my new lifestyle was to look at all the positive things that I have going for me. Again, as much as I love to tease about it, I was actually very lucky to have been diagnosed at all in these unusual circumstances. I don't know why my rheumatologist chose to check my sugar to begin with, but it certainly would have been at least 5 months from now before he discussed it with me - assuming he noticed it at all. Had the nurses or staff at my primary doctor's office not noticed the result & flagged it for the doctor - which happens all too often, in my experience - I may never have heard about it at all. So I feel lucky to have doctors & nurses who didn't let my potentially life-threatening problem slip through the cracks.

I know it sounds bizarre, but I also think that being disabled has actually worked to my advantage in this situation. I don't have to worry about juggling meals, glucose checks, meds & insulin around a job, for example. I have plenty of free time to do research and learn all I need to know to keep my sugar as normal as possible. And most of the research I've done has stressed the psychological effects of a diabetes diagnosis, pointing out that most people go through some permutation of the 5 Stages of Grief when they learn of their condition - grief primarily based on the loss of a normal life, and having to face the future with a chronic, incurable illness. Well - been there, done that! I know that I'll have to make a lot of changes in my lifestyle over the coming months and years, but my past experiences with debilitating health conditions have prepared me for this in ways I would never have imagined.

Unfortunately, my existing health problems may also be the biggest stumbling block for me in getting my glucose under control. The best treatment for me right now is to lose weight and get lots of exercise - things that are exponentially more difficult to do with fibromyalgia. But I feel really positive about making whatever changes are necessary, and if I'm lucky, I could end up healthier and feeling better than I have ever been.

Of course, all of this could have been avoided if my husband hadn't given me diabetes in the first place. *Sigh!*

1 comment:

SaoirseDaily2 said...

Welcome to the club! It is a challenge everyday.