I have always wished I were one of those Nike ad kind of people- running shoes bouncing up bleachers with Eye of the Tiger blasting through my earphones and a smile on my face as I pushed myself to the absolute limit. It didn’t ever pan out that way. I was a klutzy kid who broke bones all the time. A long time ago I made peace with the fact that I wasn’t the cheerleader or the Barbie doll, and instead I made a goal to just be a healthier me.
Then a few years ago I was seeing spots and feeling bad all the time, my feet were swollen, and I finally broke down and went to the doctor. As one of the many uninsured Americans, I avoid the doctor at all costs. I don’t wanna owe $300 for an aspirin, so I have become pretty good at taking care of myself. Or so I thought…
That doctor told me he thought I was a diabetic, but I didn’t wanna spring for the complete lab work up, so he made a guess based on a few finger sticks and gave me some pills. I already knew I’d had some issues with Congestive Heart Failure, so I wasn’t too surprised to add that to my list, because both of those conditions were on my grandpa’s list, and I seem to take after him. But I wasn’t going to accept it. I was not going to be a diabetic.
So, I lost 80 pounds, took the pills, started working out, and last summer I was on top of the world feeling like I was making the most amazing progress. Then, I ran out of the pills. But hey, I felt great, my blood sugar wasn’t going up, and the doctor wasn’t willing to call in any more refills without new lab work, so I just didn’t get any more medicine.
For months I was fine. Completely fine. Chasing my kids, cleaning my house, going to work, I had it all under control. I had dodged the bullet, I thought! Then a few months ago, I started to get tired. But who wouldn’t be tired? I’m raising 7 kids, from the ages of 4 to 18. I have 5 boys playing baseball, 2 girls in dance, one senior year happening before my eyes, that’s enough to wear out any mom, isn’t it?
I noticed I felt sluggish and swollen. Like I was water logged. And there were pains everywhere. My back was hurting, my stomach was hurting, my head was hurting, but I kept trudging through, thinking this would soon pass.
Then when I went with my daughter on her dance trip, I realized I was really struggling to feel okay. I couldn’t sit in the chairs as long as the other moms could, it hurt to much to stay in one spot. And I had to pee every 10 minutes it seemed. I could drink 15 drinks and still be thirsty. I started to think, maybe, just maybe I should go to the doctor.
But no, I held off a few more weeks. Until the numbness in my hands got to be so frustrating. I tried to cook dinner, but it took me twice as long because I couldn’t cut the chicken very well. I tried to brush my hair, but it actually hurt to hold the brush. I tried to put on mascara, it ended up smudged. Forget typing, it has been utterly confusing. I type really fast, but when your hands are numb, suddenly you don’t feel the keys and then you wonder if you hit them all and it just makes your brain go crazy! They call in neuropathy, I call it RIDICULOUSNESS!
So two weeks ago, I went to the doctor. She said I was indeed a diabetic and that diabetes was attacking my kidneys for sure. She scheduled me for some labs the next week. I was steadily feeling worse and worse. By last weekend I was so nauseated I couldn’t hold anything down. I threw up until I could throw up no more. By the time I made it to my follow-up visit Monday I wasn’t in the best of shape.
I spent a day in the hospital being fed some IV fluids, some medicines to jump start my recovery, and then I headed home to face a week of “rest” to get back to my old self.
So that was my big wake-up call. Not only were my kidneys being attacked, but my heart and liver were in trouble too. I hate being sick. I hate going to the doctor. I hate pills. I gag before I even put them in my mouth because it just bothers me to need medication.
I was absolutely humiliated when I had to pick up my stockpile of prescriptions. But when my little boy threatened to beat up the doctor who turned my arm black and blue, I realized, I just have to deal with this. I have to take these pills so he won’t shed anymore tears.
For now, I am going to admit that I’m diabetic, and I’m gonna swallow them down, but I will find a way to get rid of this. Even if it means saying goodbye to Coca Cola and Sweet Tea, I’d rather drink nothing but water for the rest of my days than have these pills with my name on them…
But I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t see the silver lining in this cloud, and I know what my silver lining is. My husband did the dishes! He did the dishes, he washed some clothes, and he called to check on me twice today. Not bad for husband I got at Wal-Mart!