The Year of Living. And Dying.

It occurred to me recently that 2019 was the year I started to die.

Now I need to explain that somewhat morose comment.

Throughout my life I’ve been blessed with extraordinary health. Oh, I’ve had the broken bone or two, and some residual effects from them, but I’ve never had an illness or internal problem. For 67 years, I’ve been invulnerable. Oh, I know no one lives forever, but I never considered dying.

Contrast that with my daughter, who’s had allergies and a variety of health issues, even resulting in the removal of her gall bladder. Her mother also, had thyroid problems and other odds-and-ends health problems through the years. But not me.

Until this year, that is.

In late January, spurred on by a comment made by my dental hygienist, I visited a doctor for a checkup and was given the bad new: My Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) was through the roof and my cholesterol was way high . HbA1c is a measure of glucose adhering to blood cells. A reading of 6.5 or higher denotes a diagnosis of diabetes. Mine was twice that: 13.0!

So now I had Type-2 – sometimes known as adult-onset – Diabetes. I knew little about the disease, and what I learned was twofold: #1 – It’s a “catchall” disease, causing a myriad of problems – neuropathy, kidney failure, heart attack, even cancer. #2 – It’s self-inflicted.

Well, okay, #2 is my take on it. In essence, I believe its cause is poor diet and lack of exercise. Put another way, as Dr. Jason Fung states (I’m paraphrasing), “Diabetes is a sugar disease. The cure is to stop putting sugar in, and to burn the sugar that’s there.”

Six months after my diagnosis, my HbA1c is down to 5.6, which is just a hair above being non-diabetic. I’m sure some of the credit goes to the medications given me, but I want off of them, and I’ve been altering my lifestyle. I’m eating whole foods, avoiding sugars and processed foods, and I’m running again. I lost 20 pounds (which was not in my plan, and which I didn’t want to lose. But now I’m kind of happy that I have).

But here’s the truth: Once diagnosed as a diabetic, you never stop being diabetic. It’s like being an alcoholic: You can stop drinking and live a happy, productive life, but you’re still an alcoholic. If you drink again, all bets are off. I will have to read labels, watch my diet and get plenty of exercise for the rest of my days. At least as long as I’m able.

And that’s not a bad thing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.