I took a drink of water. I felt refreshed.
Thirty seconds later, it was back – incessant thirst. I took another swig of water from my 28 oz. bottle, emptying it for the 5th or 6th time that day.
This was the second week of this constant thirst, constant urination. When I wasn’t pissing, I was pounding water at a rate that felt obscene. I was waking up three, four times a night to take a leak, waking up weakened and with my mouth as dry as parchment.
It was nerve-wracking to arrange for a doctor’s visit, but it had to be done. A few draughts of blood and a cup of urine later, I was called in for an impromptu visit. My doctor’s primary nurse practitioner, a nice guy with high intelligence and uneasy demeanor, was giving out some very twingy vibes during his preamble of what the labwork showed.
He finally brought himself to the point – “You’ve got enough signs from your blood sugar to what results we have from your other labs for me to diagnose you with diabetes.”
The NP paused, wringing his hands a bit, searching my face for some kind of despondence or melancholy. My response was slightly adjusting in my chair and nodding with affirmation. I kind of expected the news. Constant thirst + constant urination = diabetes.
It took a handful of days further before I mercifully got a complete diagnosis of Type 2. For those of you who don’t know:
Type 1: Your body, specifically your pancreas, no longer produces insulin – the hormone that absorbs glucose from your blood stream.
Type 2: Your pancreas produces insulin, but your blood glucose is resistant to it, sending your blood sugar levels to an unhealthy level.
Both of these are bad, but Type-2 is easily the more manageable – potentially even self-curable (to an extent).
It’s not a death sentence, and it’s certainly not the worst news in the world. Calling my mom to tell her the news, I could hear her breath hitch between my stammering out, “I’ve been going to the doctor for a few weeks, ” *breath of panic* “…and I got diagnosed with type-2 diabetes.” *exhalation of relief*
My family is no stranger to diabetes. Growing up in a house with a pair of Type-1’s has my palate long-adjusted to sweeteners and sugar-free dietary options, in addition to the strange symptoms of low blood sugar and the day-to-day practices of blood checking, insulin injections, etc.
It doesn’t hurt that I live with a pharmacist and am dating a nurse. Needless to say, I’m lucky to be armed with experience and knowledge, in addition to my social circle having some understanding of the condition.
As are many! Per the CDC’s 2017 report, over 20 million Americans have some form of diagnosed diabetes; almost 10 million more Americans are undiagnosed or qualify as pre-diabetics. It’s in the top 10 causes of death. It’s a condition that dates back to Edward Teach; a.k.a Blackbeard.
Monitoring my blood sugar, pricking my fingers several times a day, taking a couple different medications, and being very diligent about my diet has proven to drastically reduce my glucose level inside of a week. It sucks to be hungry most of the day, and I’m definitely jonesing for a greasy cheeseburger and french fries, but I’m trying to find the good.
I’m guessing I’m going to lose a lot of weight, and with my passion for cooking, this abstinence from sugar-loaded crap will only further refine my ability to enjoy subtle, delicate flavors. I’ve got an exercise bike in my bedroom now. My friends and family are all very supportive.
It’s not a BIG deal. But it’s definitely a little scary at first, overwhelming in the short term, and manageable as hell in the long term.
Overall, if you’re reading this and have a problem with portion control, poor diet, poor exercise, and are worried for your long-term health, now is the time to take action.
Get into the gym. Read nutritional facts. Monitor your intake. Eat less. Eat better.
…or maybe it was the last 10 years of the Bears losing at football that gave me diabetes. I’m not quite sure yet.