Learning to Live with Type 2 Diabetes at Age 50 – Facing the Demon
Visit to Family Dr
Only a couple of months ago, I went to a new family doctor to get a sick note for work due to a viral infection that laid me up for a week. Since this HMO had no medical record for me, having changed just months before, the doctor wanted lab work done. I told her I would think about it and did not want to do tests due to very stressful news I had recently received that I was aware had affected my health. I took my sick note for work, along with a referral for laboratory work – you know, the usual blood and urine tests.
In no great rush, I waited for a vacation day from work to go at my leisure. Walking from my house to the clinic, a motor scooter ran into my left arm, coming up from behind me on the sidewalk. I committed the plate number to short-term memory and immediately phoned the police with my cellphone to report the incident. The woman on the phone told me I would have to go down to the station to file a complaint, to which I told her that it is not worth my time.
Tests Revealed Type 2 Diabetes
Agitated, I walked into the clinic and went directly into the nurse’s room to have my blood taken; deposited the container with my liquid sample and walked out. I knew I had an appointment with my family doctor and did not even look up the test results online. A week later I went to see her and she confirmed my suspicion that my blood sugar was high. In fact, it was VERY high and even my a1c, a test that calculates the average for the previous 3 months, was very high. By all accounts it was no small miracle that I did not end up in some emergency room or urgent medical center. Although the bad news and motor scooter incident had some bearing on the results, such a high value meant that the disease broke out big time.
Prior to doing the tests, I felt increased thirst, discomfort in my feet, neuropathy, blurred and distorted vision, dizziness, lack of balance, inflammations that did not go away and other signs that were subtle but noticeable to me. When the doctor told me I had high sugar, I was not at all surprised. She then kept repeating how when the pancreas does not secrete insulin, there is sugar in the blood and sugar in the blood is poison in the blood. My reaction was one of anger and I said that I wanted to die and did not want every ambitious health worker within a certain radius to save me. I told her that western medicine has no cure for diabetes to date and that no amount of glossy paged pamphlets and mumbo jumbo will convince me otherwise. She said that it is true that there is no cure but that treatment can prevent complications such as stroke, diabetic coma, heart attack and that for that they have hard fast evidence. My blood pressure, which has been 120/80 all my life, was suddenly high.
Mentors who suffered CVA and heart attack
In recent years, two serious mentors in my life in the discipline of natural medicine fell victim to seriously debilitating disease. One suffered a massive stroke (CVA) and the other had a massive heart attack and is living with his daughter with a visiting home nurse who comes every day. Both shunned doctors and took no western medicines. My fear of stroke or heart attack is that, living all alone, there is absolutely nobody who will help me if the worst should happen.
Dear doctor gave me samples of tablets and instructed me to take one a day, late at night. I did this and, as she requested, again had a blood sugar test 2 weeks later. My sugar level came down considerably. She was pleased and told me to continue but also told me to go to the diabetes clinic of the HMO and get a home monitoring kit as well as free samples of the medication. She kept telling me that mood is very important. What can I do if I get bad news and am not in the best mood? I fought her every step of the way but also did everything that she recommended. I told her that with my modest budget, the only physical activity I can afford is walking, which I do every day with my dog, Pnina Rosenblum.
Improved vision, blood pressure and other symptoms
Since taking the medication my vision is clearer, I’m less dizzy and my blood pressure has normalized. I feel weird, as though my body has become unfamiliar to me and has been invaded by something foreign – a demon of sorts; that this diabetes is diabolical. I am doing my best to face the demon and am confused when in spite of everything, my sugar suddenly peaks for no apparent reason. I feel more symptomatic since taking the medicine and would prefer to adhere to a natural regimen and be tested in, say, 6 months’ time but doctors have no patience; they insist on frequent testing and my busy lifestyle, running a household on my own and working (thank G-d) full time, don’t give me the luxury of doing things at my own pace. Suddenly the risks are far greater for heart trouble, cancer and other debilitating consequences. I pray that G-d will help me and try to put my anger and resentment aside. Easy it is NOT.
This new stage of my life and my birthday gift at age 50 are new to me. I hope I will gain control and am working hard not to live in denial.