August 2008 is when my life changed forever. My wife and I had been to a convention. It was a chaotic three day event with barely a moment to breathe, let alone eat healthy. At some point I must have been bitten by a bug of some sort. Right at the top of the back of my thigh. What started as a bite quickly blew up into a full blown absess. I had to endure a five hour flight sitting on this thing. I was in agony! I popped Tylenol all the way home like it was candy. That was the longest five hours I’ve ever experienced.
I went to a doctor the day after we returned home. He told me it would need to be surgically removed as it was now too big to lance. I was admitted to hospital the next day. As is usual, I had a blood test after being admitted. Purely routine. Or so I thought. I had the surgery. I then woke to the news my fasting sugar was 320.
I was informed I was a diabetic.
I didn’t really understand at first exactly what that meant. I’d heard of diabetes, obviously, but I didn’t really know that much about it. I remembered reading an autobiography written by a soccer player called Gary Mabbutt. He was type 1 diabetic and he had to inject himself with insulin before every game. You’d never have guessed it if you’d seen him play. He used to cover every blade of grass in every game and was often one of the hardest working players on the pitch.
Once I was out of hospital, the first chance I had, I bought a book, the Dummies Guide to Diabetes. What I read frightened the life out of me. Now I knew what I was up against. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure, liver failure, amputation…the list goes on. This horrifying disease can cause so many dreadful complications.
I went through the usual phases: Denial. Anger. Why me?
The years since have been a constant struggle. My A1C has been up and down. My fasting sugar levels have been up and down.
My emotions have been up and down.
Now, I’m controlling it. I’m exercising. I’m eating a (reasonably) healthy diet.
Now, my A1C is up. My fasting sugar levels are up. I can’t be bothered to exercise.
Now, I’m back in Control.
The endless vicious circle.
This has been my life for the past six years.
It’s a rollercoaster ride.
It’s a whirlwind.
It’s a never ending vicious cycle, just waiting for the next time I fall off.
But at the end of the day I’m determined to win, to keep a good quality of life. My biggest fear is going blind. I actually fear that more than dying.
The one constant positive is the GCcontrol shakes I’ve blogged so much about. They really do help. But they are not a cure. They are only a tool. They are only at their most effective when combined with exercise and a decent diet. I don’t eat anywhere near as healthy as I should, yet they continue to lower my sugar when it is high.
With or without the shakes, the battle goes on. I’ll continue to post updates. I just wanted to share my story. To anyone out there who has been diagnosed as a diabetic, maybe it’s only just happened, I will say this. Hang in there. It’s going to be a bumpy rides. You will have your ups and downs, just like I have. But you can fight it with the right tools and with enough determination!