Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I just got back from one of my walks. I cannot stress enough the importance of daily exercise. Diabetes is such a debilitating disease. It begins to consume you. God knows how long I've had it. Certainly, it’s been a lot longer than when it was officially diagnosed last week and there’s no test to determine when it stealthily crept into my life. There are many out there who have no clue what may be lurking under the surface.

This morning, my arms were tingly from my elbows to the tips of my pinkies, all along the lower part. From my knees to my toes, I go from numb to exaggerated bouts of the same thing. Today is no exception. I've felt that way all morning and when I walked, my legs felt like they were made of lead. Sometimes, my toes feel like someone hooked up jumper cables and turned the juice on in quick, stabbing pulses. Then, it goes away. There isn't a day that goes by when I don't feel achy and fatigued. Some days, I have no energy at all. Today, I actually feel better than usual in spite of the numbness. One way to explain the ache is to try to imagine someone taking a knife and scraping the meat off your bones. Perhaps, that description is a little too harsh and I never really feel that bad, but it gives you an idea. At times, my heart pumps so strongly, it feels like it is going to explode out of my body.

Since I began taking the medication, my sugar has slowly dropped. I keep waiting for a small miracle to happen, that I will gain my strength again. I'm sure I will. Little things bother me. Lids on jars that, in the past, were so easy to remove are proving more difficult. Frustrating little things that gnaw at your very fiber. Sugar levels that ran in the 200-400 range are now down to 100-170. 170 is still too high, but it is an improvement. Last night, it was 136. This morning, it was 154. The closer in margin, the better. Saturday night, it was 276 and I have no idea why. That morning, it was 160. I don't think I ate anything wrong. Other diabetics have told me that's one of the strange things about it, that there's no rhyme or reason why your numbers can vary so much. You can eat something one day and repeat it the next and your numbers can be strikingly different.

Every night now, I have to get up about a half dozen times to relieve myself. That's a symptom. Of course, I drink lots of water now. I have to. Life as a diabetic must take on a very regimented structure. I should strive to eat at the same times every day, in spite of the fact that I am always hungry and sometimes nauseous. I should consume the same amount of calories per meal, per day, too. Food groups must be balanced, such as protein at every meal, especially in the morning. Proper sleep is of the utmost importance. Getting up to pee every hour is exasperating and disturbs the natural rhythm of the mind and body.

I can't take aspirin or ibuprofen any more, on account of the Glipizide. One of the warnings is to not take any over-the-counter pain medications without talking to your doctor. Instead, I asked the pharmacist if I could take Tylenol. Yes, you can. I think they know more about drugs, anyway. I also told her what Dr. Chang said about Lisinopril not helping the kidneys. She asked me if he knew what he was talking about. She told me to finish taking it and to demand a refill when I go back again. I said I don't go back for another month and I only have a 2 week supply. Take it every other day, she said. I don't know, maybe Dr. Chang has been in practice too long. Everyone else at Shepherd's Hope has been great, but he was not kind to me. The doctors and nurses there, and most of the other staff donate one night per month from their regular jobs. I don't think pharmacists would contradict a doctor unless they are pretty adamant about it. I started taking it the next day. Soon, I will have a primary care physician. That person will keep close tabs on me and will more than likely set me up with an endocrinologist, who will make sure I am put on the proper path. All diabetics react differently. All need special care.

When I was dealt this hand, it took me a while to adjust to altering my "set in his ways" lifestyle. I always played by my rules. No one ever wants to think they will get permanently sick. Where did I go wrong in life? What could I have done differently? Believe me, those are dumb questions and there is no truth to them. What is true is that I am sitting across the table from diabetes. I will play my cards right. I will keep a close watch on my opponent. I may not always win, but I will never fold. I will not be intimidated. So it must be true with any disease or disability. It's the game of life you're playing and you never let the one sitting across from you get the upper hand.

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