Today was my big day! That’s right, what everyone looks forward to… Diabetes Self Management. WOO! No no, please, try to contain your excitement! There’s already too much energy in the room.
The class today was broken up into two core sections. First, food and the role it plays in diabetes, otherwise known as “you’re never going to eat the same way again”. The class was insightful; they went through how diabetes works and why it’s screwing with your system. They also explained why having a food plan is important so as to make sure your sugar levels are always in a good spot.
One thing they also pointed out, quite clearly, was that there is no cure for this disease, nor has anyone ever been cured. You can get off the medication if you try hard enough, but no matter what you try you will always have diabetes. And no matter what, deep down inside, the disease is still trying to do its best to try and kill you. But at least if you eat right, exercise, all that jazz, you can get off the medication. From what I was told, this remission is relatively rare (but not impossible!).
Which brings me to the second part of the class, which should have been called “shit that will happen to you if you don’t keep this disease in check”. Assuming that you don’t make the changes they recommend, you can lose one of the following:
- Your feet
- Your eyesight
- A properly functioning cardiovascular system
- Your ability to get your freak on with your significant other or random stranger
- Your kidneys
On the plus side, I was given a new meal plan to follow. When I left the hospital, I was told to have a specific number of carbs broken up into four meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack. Now that the dietitians had my latest lab data, specifically my lipid panels, I had something a bit more customized. My new schedule is as follows: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. You’d think that, given the larger instances of the word “snack” that I would be living the high life. Nay nay… These “snacks” are only 15-20g of carbs at a given time.
But now, thanks to my stupid lipid panel results and the fact that diabetics have a higher cardiovascular risk, I have to also watch my cholesterol, sodium, and anything else that people usually classify as “tasty”. At least I’m going to be intimately familiar with nutrition labels. Me and my new food log are going to become really good friends. I’ve decided to name my food log… Kujo comes to mind.
In the end I at least know what I’m up against. I have to make some more adjustments to my diet and get used to tracking my food (or, more specifically, the various contents of my food). I’m getting into the habit, starting today, of checking my feet on a more regular basis. Given the amount of times my boys step on my feet, this is actually a pretty big concern for me. As much as I would love to lose my feet and have cool, bionic things… err, no, never mind!
It’s funny that there were so many people in my class today who have been diabetic for years, but still attending a diabetes management class. What it tells me is that no matter how long I’ll be managing this disease, there is lifelong learning involved.
On a completely unrelated note, I checked my patient portal this morning to enter my fasting results and noticed a new lab was available. Unknown to me, my provider, as part of my latest lab work, ordered a Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase (GAD) test. Yeah I really had no idea what it was either, until I spoke to my friend Mr. Google. Apparently this is one of the tests that is used to determine whether or not you are Type 1/1.5 or Type 2. My result came back as 0.00, which (from all of my research) demonstrates that I am a Type 2. So I finally have an actual answer. Whew! Unless I misread something, in which case I’ll find out later from my PCP.
One final note… If you see my photo for this post, you’ll see the the cover of the Diabetes Management book they gave us at class today (which I’m putting with the other two I got at the hospital). Tell me that the mom in this picture is not the creepiest thing you’ve ever seen… She has that look in her eyes that says to you “I’m poisoning his meal and he doesn’t even know it”.