Pour Some Sugar (Substitute) On Me

Le Sigh. Double Le Sigh. So I, uh, have Type 2 Diabetes. I’m still not used to saying this. I don’t like it. It’s not fair. I’m pissed about it. Frankly, I’m still a bit in denial. I just can’t accept that I now have to deal with this too.

My entry from Saturday goes in-depth about my emotional reaction to the diagnosis and how I’ve handled it, or rather how I took a swan dive off the cliff of sanity. This post will be about more of the nitty gritty details of what I’m dealing with in terms of testing my blood sugar, seeing a nutritionist, diabetes specialist, and so forth.

So the diagnosis came down around late September. After a couple of weeks of letting it sink in/me calming the fuck down I went in to see my primary care. Now I love Dr. Raney, but she terrified me on that visit. What sticks out in my mind from our conversation was her talking about blindness, loss of limbs, organ failure, and how my body will rapidly age even more than it already has from my existing health issues. I also recall the room beginning to spin, my heart pounding, and it becoming difficult to breathe. Yup, full on panic attack. I know them well.

A few deep breaths, tears, a damp tissue, and pity faced doctor later I walked out of the office with a prescription for Metformin (at half the therapeutic dose) and the blood sugar testing kit, as well as a referral for a nutrionist and a pharmacist who specializes in helping newly diagnosed diabetes patients. Eventually all drugs, supplies, and appointments were gathered and made. Fabulous. More health care shit to deal with.

October 25, 2012 came and I went to my first appointment for the day: the nutrionist. I admit I was a bit skeptical. The only other time in my life I had consulted a nutrionist was my last semester of college. I was having horrible stomach issues and the doctor felt a change in diet could help. What the doctor didn’t know was that I had horrific PTSD and mental illness that was untreated so I self-treated via starvation, had recently begun making myself throw up after eating, and that I did drugs and drank like a stage 4 alcoholic, but managed to function fairly well. After a horrible set of incidences I went cold turkey on everything and I started tip toeing towards health. Of course I wasn’t doing any of it in the right way, but at least I knew I had to make changes or I’d never make it to see 25.

Enter Malibu Barbie, er I mean the nutrionist. She was so goddamn upbeat I wanted to grab her by her blonde hair and beat her to a bloody pulp. I was going through, what I now know, was with drawl from alcohol and drugs and my brain wasn’t kicking out enough serotonin to even me out and because of a recent attack my PTSD was out of control. I was in a sorry state. The last thing I needed was this perky bitch going on and on about how much she loved her Kashi cereal-Yes, she really did that.

So there I now was, a fat, gimpy, eating disorder relapsing, highly skeptical woman waiting on the next skinny, insensitive, stupid bitch to come out and talk to me like I was just a fat, lazy, lard ass who has no one to blame but herself for having diabetes. Shockingly enough, Nila the nutrionist, was actually pretty great. She was kind, empathetic, didn’t speak down to me, and worked with me where I’m at in my life and health. We spent most of our session talking about the various types of carbs, how the body processes them, and what they mean for me and my blood sugar. There was also discussions around various services that could help me to get fresh produce and other healthy foods given that I suffer from lower mobility and am not always able to go grocery shopping and I don’t have the cash flow to pay for grocery delivery.

Overall our first appointment went well. The only thing that got under my skin with Nila was that she refused to listen to me in regards to how my body felt. I was incredibly exhausted from running around all week to other medical appointments (you need to remember that chronic pain and anxiety are exhausting so I don’t have the energy of a healthy 33 year old woman) so I was having a difficult time staying focused. I mentioned this to her and she insisted that it was because I hadn’t eaten. I told her that wasn’t the case. I had only been awake an hour and half and that was usually around the time that I ate, if I was going to eat that is. She disagreed with me a couple of times until I rather firmly told her flat out that she was wrong and that I knew my body and she didn’t. She looked rather surprised, the way most people do the first time they see “happy” and laid back Jen put them in their place, and backed off. Damnit, I’m an adult and I have chronic health problems that I’ve dealt with since childhood. I know my body. Don’t argue with me and talk to me as if I’m an idiot. I’m highly educated, intelligent, and well versed on my health problems. Don’t talk down to me. It won’t end well.

I scheduled my follow up appointment with Nila for November (which I’ve already had). I grabbed a veggie sandwich on whole wheat from Subway and was off to my next appointment.

Now I was at the Fenway Community Health Center’s South End office (I was at their Fenway location previously) waiting to meet with Tulip. Tulip-Yes, that’s really her name-is a pharmacist who works with patients who have diabetes. I don’t entirely understand her training and so forth, but Dr. Raney (my primary care doc) wanted me to see her so there I was. I got there early so I sat down to eat. Just a couple of bites into my sandwich out she came. When she realized I was eating she told me to take my time and she’d come a bit later.

Eventually I’m in her office being introduced to her pharmacy student interns. Before I’ve even fully become settled Tulip launches into what she does. She instantly uses my meal as her jumping off point:  “I help patients learn how to take care of themselves. I noticed you were eating Subway. For example, I would tell you to get a 6 inch grilled chicken on whole wheat rather than a foot long meatball on white bread.”

Oh mama that minute she said that I was pissed! I stopped her right there. I told her that there were some things that obviously needed to be stated by from the start. I informed her that I had an eating disorder for most of my life that was tied to my history of abuse and had recently been triggered by my PTSD and the diabetes diagnosis so she should watch herself. I also went on to tell her that I had about 4-5 inches of a 6 inch VEGGIE sandwich on whole wheat with minimal low fat dressing and two small slices of cheese and that that was all I had to eat all day. I went a step further to tell her that just because I was fat did not mean that I sat around on my ass all day stuffing my face with pizza with my only form of exercise being the clicking of the remote! Of course I also told her that I have severe knee, neck, and back problems and that I’ve had three very serious knee surgeries this year and that as a result I am limited on the type of physical activity I can get. Once I was done very firmly, but calmly, telling her all of this, her interns looked terrified and she apologized, but looked unfazed. I wanted to bolt.

I spent the next hour listening to her talk about different ways to get good nutrition and so forth. Some of her meal suggestions were pretty good. I’m not a big meat eater, and while I like beans and tofu there is simply only so much a grrrl can eat. I love my veggies, cheese, and pasta/bread/rice/etc. Protein is difficult for me to get into my diet and Tulip was helpful with that as well as with good suggestions on healthy carb foods that would help satisfy my need for rice and such. She was NOT good at listening to me though when it came to my limitations regarding exercise. I finally became so sick of telling her things like “No, I cannot go speed walking for 30 minutes. I’ve had both my knee caps realigned. It hurts to walk at a normal pace just a few blocks.” “No, I cannot do yoga. My neck, back, and knees don’t fully bend and I’m not cleared for that sort of activity.” Eventually I just tuned her out. This was not the most productive medical appointment I’ve ever had. We did discover though that my blood sugar was on the lower side.

I checked my blood sugar at home for the first time on October 28, 2012. I had a full blown panic attack. I was actually trembling from anxiety. Thankfully my blood sugar was 121 which is within fasting range. Then again I was barely eating. Every time I’ve checked it since it’s stayed in the 120s regardless of my anxiety (which raises blood sugar), if I’ve exercised (lowers blood sugar), or what I’ve eaten or if at all. Granted, I haven’t checked it much. If you recall earlier in this post I mentioned I’m still somewhat in denial.

Next Steps

I’m seeing Dr. Raney tomorrow. I’ve requested that she test me again to see if I really am diabetic. I just can’t accept it. My body is so broken. I feel so broken. I feel so weak. I feel so unlovable because I’m not perfect. Many, many people have proven time and time again that they won’t love me because I’m not perfect. I just don’t need diabetes too. It’s such a devastating disease. It attacks every last part of the body. How strong can one woman be?

I’m also getting a whooping cough vaccine and my vitamin D levels tested which are supposed to be important to diabetes in some way.

On another note…

Seems diabetes can also affect the sex drive. I haven’t had much of that over the last several months. I’ve always had the sex drive of a teenage boy, but not for a while now. Of course there’s next to no research on diabetes impact on women’s sex drive. Shocking, I know. Perhaps the diabetes has had an impact, but let’s not discount the downturn on my sex drive due to the 3 horrible knee surgeries, the PTSD, the excruciating depression, the incessant panic attacks, how G ripped my heart out of my chest, how most people just aren’t interesting enough to warrant a coffee with let alone to grant them the pleasure of my body, and, le sigh, the fact that the very few people I’ve cared for just haven’t seemed to care as much in return.

With all of that said though I think I’ve also just been ignoring my desire for sex and sensuality. I’ve been having sex dreams almost every night for the last week and have been pretty consistently listening to Jason Mraz’s Butterfly. Have you heard that song? Oh you must listen to it. Go on Youtube and listen to the solo version he does for RollingStone online.

Mmmmm he’s so sexy! I don’t care if it’s cliché: I love the slightly scruffy white boy. I love curly hair! I love the singer songwriter who’s intelligent and soulful! When I think of a man like him I think of the perfect day spent in bed together being playful, affectionate, having mind altering, amazing sex, and talking for hours. He’s the type that I crave. At least as far as men are concerned. Women are a different story. Oh women….

Must. Catch. Breath.

Ok, I’ve cooled down.

Yeah, I’ve been ignoring my desires. No doubt about that. My guess is it’s because I’m distrustful. I’m so tired of being drug through the mud. I’m so tired of being lied to, taken advantage of, used, taken for granted, and just all around fucked with. It just feels less and less worth it. Ignoring desire seems better than dealing with all the bull shit and pain because, believe me, I’ve put myself out there plenty. I’ve tried time and time again to be open to people and circumstances and the universe and whatnot. My openness is closing down. I’m feeling about as open to people these days as the Republican Party is to, oh I don’t know, science!

I did finally break though. I had a rather physically satisfying encounter last night. He certainly wasn’t anyone I’d want to, you know, talk to, but it was a needed tryst for sure. The last ex-see previous entry-so fundamentally fucked up my sense of right and wrong in terms of trust that being physically next to someone has been difficult on me. Last night was physically pleasurable without any fear or panic…other than the worry he might want to stay the night 😉


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