.. and I’m really quite upset about it, thank you very much.
What started as a purely vanity-driven inquiry has turned into the actualization of my biggest fear. It sucks, for so many complicated, irrational, deep-seeded reasons. Let’s explore them!
I saw Dr. Online about some weird symptoms I’ve been having: thirst, a craving for salt, thinning hair, a second head growing out of my left knee. Nothing I found online told me exactly what kind of cancers I had, so it was time to ask an expert .. who didn’t have any answers, so she requested I have some blood work done.
The results came in the next day, and showed that I had too many blood – but nothing drastically alarming, or anything that would account for my symptoms. I was asked to follow up with Dr. Online (who was a man this time), who didn’t see anything unusual in my results .. so he requested a second blood test to see if my levels changed. He also requested a urine test, because peeing in a plastic cup is the most dignified thing you can do in a public washroom. Off I went.
I received a phone call from Dr. Online’s office the day after my tests. No big deal, they said, but you need to go to the hospital RIGHT NOW OR YOU WILL DEFINITELY DIE. Okay then. Turns out one of my bloods was so off the chart I was in immediate danger of falling over all dead. That would seriously put a crimp in my day-to-day schedule, so I packed up a bunch of phone chargers and had Ed drive me to the Emergency Room, one of my least favourite places on earth.
There was a lot of waiting. Someone came around and took more blood (which I am running low on at this point). I peed in another cup – I am not getting any better at it, so I mostly just peed all over myself – and waited some more. Wait, wait, wait. Lots of waiting. Good times.
Eventually, a flesh doctor came in and delivered the news: I have diabetes. Not pre-diabetes or diabetes of the butt or kawaii diabetes, but full-on here’s-your-moustache Wilford Brimley diabeetus.
So. That was the emergency, then: my blood sugar was in the Danger Zone. They kept asking me if I noticed myself peeing more than usual, which is entirely unhelpful – not only am I on medication that’s SUPPOSED to make me pee all the goddamn time, I have a tiny, tiny bladder. Pee frequency (peequency) is not something that would ever cause me any alarm. The other symptoms I’ve been having are so vague – headaches, grumpiness, lack of sleep, exhaustion – that they can be explained away by anything. I have headaches because I always forget to wear my glasses in front of the computer. I’m grumpy because I’m hormonal and people are jerks. I can’t sleep because I stay up way too late every night playing games on my phone, and I’m exhausted because I’m not getting enough sleep. I’m fiiiiine.
Except I’m not fine, and now I have to go on even more medication and change my lifestyle and not eat delicious things. Also, I kind of hate myself and can’t get past the blame stage: this is all my fault because I am fat and gross and stupid.
Logically, I know better. There are other factors at risk: my age. My mother, who is the Canadian Diabetic. I’m an Aboriginal Hispanic South Asian Asian of African descent. I got them big ol’ depression, and that tiiiny little heart issue. I’m a fatty who really likes garlic bread. The only box left unchecked in the entire “you’re gonna die” list is giving birth to a big ass baby, and frankly I don’t remember what I do every single year – there could have been a big ass baby in there somewhere.
So, yeah. I was always at risk of diabetes, but it was still one of my biggest fears. I’m not so much worried about my health as I am deeply ashamed of myself and wanting to hide in the closet until everything goes away. That’ll work, right?
I’ve never been a big fan of myself, but this is .. something else. But why?
A Tragic Backstory
It’s been drilled into me since the age of 7 that the very worst thing I could ever be was fat. Then, as if to spite my mother, I was a fat child who was fat on purpose, just to make my mother look bad. You can’t love a fat child! No one would blame her if she gave me away. It didn’t matter what else I was – serial killer, bed wetter, space cowboy – as long as I was thin. But because I wasn’t thin, my other qualities didn’t matter. I haven’t been 7 for a very long time, but my mother’s words echo in the darkest corner of my mind and get louder every time I have a bad day. I’m fat, so nothing else about me amounts to a hill of beans. On my good days, I can acknowledge the positive – I can be cute, sometimes I am smart, I have a funny – but even then, underneath all of that, I am a disappointment because I am fat.
I have diabetes because I am a big fat lump who brought this on herself by sucking so hard as a person. The shame is clinging to me like plastic wrap. It’s suffocating. I can’t free myself, can’t see past the behemoth I’ve become. I’ve thrown my life away to be a statistic in US-Fucking-A Today. I deserve this.
I know better, I really do. If someone else shared this news, it would be met with sympathy and encouragement. Those don’t apply to me, though, because this is my fault.
What Comes Next?
I have a prescription to fill, and an appointment with my heart doctor tomorrow. I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and need to stock the house with food I can actually eat. I had planned to clean out the pantry this weekend anyway, so I’ll toss out the snacks and carbs while I’m in there and replace them with .. I don’t know yet. Kale, I guess. Can’t wait.
I need to figure out my head and try to shake off the shame and guilt I feel. I won’t be telling my mom the news – I’m not really in the mood for an “I told you so” lecture. Keeping things from my mother is my standard MO; she doesn’t know about the heart failure (also my fault, obviously). I’m mostly really good at hiding my demons, but this particular one is not something I’ve faced before. This post is basically step one: admitting to myself (and, uh, the internet at large) that I have diabetes. The thought of sharing that – confessing it – to the world sort of makes me want to throw up and die, so I guess I’m on the right path.
Ugh. I really fucking hate kale.
6 thoughts on “it’s the end of the world as we know it”
I wish I could take a giant eraser and erase all your shame and guilt. It is not your fault you have diabetes. My brother was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 10, and my dad suffered terrible guilt because he felt like it was his fault because it came from his side of the family. Shame and guilt are not rational and it would be nice if you could just erase them and replace them with logic. Sorry :(
If you do diabetes badly enough for long enough, you might eventually destroy your kidneys (like my brother did), and then you need a kidney & pancreas transplant (which he got), and then you won’t be diabetic anymore. Maybe that’s kind of good news? Except that waiting around for years for your transplant is pretty awful, so it’s probably best to avoid it.
None of this is probably making you feel any better, but I know for sure that you can be a diabetic and still have fun and eat good things. My brother even said it was easier to control his weight when he was diabetic because he could fool around with his insulin levels. There is no denying that diabetes totally sucks, but I hope you get all the information and support and love you need to figure out how to live with it.
There isn’t a condition on the planet that’s a match for you once you have a good cry and decide Shit’s Getting Real Now. Make Diabeetus your bitch.
Lady, you’re awesome. If your head tries to tell you otherwise, you punch it in its damn face.
Long time reader, infrequent commenter. Long story, short version: I too was diagnosed with the diabeetus last August, so I’m ahead of you a few months. After meds and diet changes, it’s basically just adding in a few extra steps to the eating process. Check blood, inject insulin, eat. I do miss all you can eat rice, potatoes and pasta, but the smaller amounts I can have now, I appreciate more. It’s all a trade off. You’ll be ok, this is just another thing, no blame needed. Life happens, you turn a bit and keep going forward. You’re awesome, never forget that.
So, several times in recent years you’ve gone to the hospital and within a couple hours a doctor or nurse will tell you that it’s amazing you’re still alive.
I assume this is some sort of superpower or otherwise some amazing genetics. Perhaps your great-grandfather gained some special ability from the super gonorrhea and passed it down to you.
I think our mothers must have been related in a past life. My mother told me that my fat meant, in no particular order, that I would never get married but if I did manage that feat, I would have 2 snotty-nosed brats by the time I was 21 and he would beat me, that I would never get a job, that I would die by age 30. Instead, I went to university and to grad school. I married the love of life who is a woman and raised dogs. I am 52 and far from dead. Even through a decade of ulcerative colitis I am still fat. Oh and we raised dogs. She also told me I would get diabetes. The only time I had diabetes was when I was on prednisone for my ulcerative colitis. However, I have been on Metformin (a diabetes drug) since 2000 to control my PCOS. I am also on another diabetes drug, Victoza, it was supposed to help me lose weight but my body likes its fat and refuses to part with it under any circumstances. Genetics.
So, all this to say, you are fine. It’s not your fault and mothers suck some times. If it’s type 2 diabetes then a lot of it can be controlled through diet and meds. If you need insulin then you need it. It’s no different than any other disease that requires medication. Diabetes is an auto-immune disease and there is no shame in that.
If you want to chat more about it, send me an email. Try to take it easy on yourself. And, I wouldn’t tell your mother. No good will come from it.