The Mighty Logo

What I've Changed in My Life After Being Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I knew it was just a matter of time before I would be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Since the passing of my mom almost a year ago, I had turned to my favorite thing to do when dealing with stress — eat. There are those of us who don’t eat when we are stressed, and those who love to eat when we are stressed. You don’t even have to be hungry to eat. You just want to eat and it’s usually not a craving for a cucumber, you crave something sweet, like things with lots of sugar. You would think by now, at age 55, I would have figured out a better way!

Anyway, I went and saw my primary care doctor back in January of this year. After taking a look at my lab numbers she said, “Your triglyceride number is still high and it’s been high for five years, what are we waiting for? I’m putting you on metformin.” I love my doctor, she is also kind of like a mental health therapist. She is the one who diagnosed me with generalized anxiety disorder and put me on two medications which have made a huge difference in my life. I still have occasional anxiety attacks, but not nearly as much as I used to. My doctor never gets rude about my weight. She more gently “suggests” what I should do. We all make New Year’s Resolutions, right? Mine was to avoid things with tons of sugar.

I have watched my dad have numerous health issues from not controlling his type 2 diabetes. He had a massive stroke a handful of years ago, 100% caused by uncontrolled blood sugar. He has been hospitalized a few times because his blood sugar has been too high or too low. He has also had numerous problems with his eyes caused by the diabetes. My brother and I both separately had a “heart-to-heart” talk with our father that we really wanted him to be around for a while and we encouraged him to eat healthier. I can now relate to what he goes through having diabetes, so I bring it up about once or twice a week when I talk to him.

A few symptoms I noticed in the years prior to being diagnosed was extreme exhaustion, always being thirsty and if I didn’t eat some kind of protein for breakfast, in the late morning, I started sweating and feeling like I was going to pass out (it’s happened a few times in Kroger while I was shopping). I had always chalked that up to the multitude of medications I take for my anxiety and congestive heart failure.

I discovered after being on a vacation last week and getting lots of rest and drinking tons of water, I came back refreshed with a lot more energy! I ate really healthy on our vacation (lots of fruit and veggies), did multiple laps in the pool, walked more than I have been, had a boiled egg for breakfast every day and no desserts.

Diabetes is a very serious disease. I have a vision that has stuck with me for over 20 years. I went to a viewing of my great-uncle on my dad’s side of the family. He had lost both of his legs to diabetes. Whenever I even get a thought of wanting ice cream, cake or anything with tons of sugar, I just think of that. I have lots more I want to do with my life. I survived malignant melanoma skin cancer and live every day with positivity. Coming face-to-face with my own mortality waiting those two weeks to see if my cancer had spread in March of 2017 was just about one of the most stressful things I have ever encountered in my entire life, because it was totally out of my control. I pride myself on always being in control. Watching what I eat is in my control.

My advice to others if that if you feel run-down, exhausted and always thirsty, ask your doctor to do some simple lab work. It may just save your life.

Getty photo by gpointstudio

Originally published: April 19, 2019
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home