Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Growing Old With Diabetes by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

It's hard to believe that we're into a new year. I hope that this finds you all well. No, I mean it. Being well does not mean that all sickness is gone and you're ready to hit the snowy slopes. If that is true, than I congratulate you, but to me, being well is a state of mind. Being well means I WILL NOT GIVE UP!!

Having diabetes can mean a lot of depression, especially after the holidays, because during the holidays, we usually gain weight. Here we are, another year older and not much wiser. Diabetes is a diabolical illness. It is a tenuous balance between weight-gain and weight loss. It is especially difficult to lose weight since the loss of a single pound can send your blood glucose levels spiraling downward. Exercise, along with diet, can mean ups and downs that boggle the imagination. I've been doing both, and it is very slow, since a little too much, along with not enough testing could send my blood glucose suddenly down into hypoglycemia and shock. So I'm being careful.

I test about six times a day. I've had doctors who have denied prescriptions for more than three times a day testing. If you have one of those doctors, send them packing. No one should have the right to play God with your life. I'm a great patient, as long as I have a good doctor. I've fired more than one doctor, and I've told off a few others. It's important that you have a doctor who makes you feel confident and cared for. The bottom line, however, is this: you are the only person who cares most about you. You must be your own physician. You must know more and care more for your own body than any doctor you will ever have.

The irony of all this is that when you do take care of yourself, and you must, often the doctor finds you less appealing. Have you ever had a doctor who said, "I have to get off the phone! I have sick people to care for?!" Ah yes, I have had that doctor, more than once.

One of the problems with growing old with diabetes, are the other diseases that also attack your body. It feels, sometimes, as though I'm falling apart bit by bit. Like an automobile, first a fender falls off, then the steering wheel, then the side mirror, then the tires, then the motor... Well, you know. I also have asthma, trigeminal neuralgia, arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetic neuropathy, heart arrhythmia due to my medications, and so forth. You, also, have a host of medical conditions, and the whole package can cause depression and a desire to give up.

I have had friends who gave up. A friend of mine periodically would decide, today I do not have diabetes. Then she would stop her medication, head to the pancake house, and she would order everything on their menu. She would then proceed to eat her way into the emergency room of the hospital. She hurt her friends, her husband, her children, and she hurt herself.

Another friend would simply take the day off from diabetes, stop her medication and head to the bakery or a restaurant and eat whatever was chocolate and available. Why they did this, I never understood. For them it was a way to take control, but they held hostage everyone in their family. We do not have that right. Going off of our medications and deliberately eating everything in sight is NOT taking control. It is letting the disease take control of us. My family is worth more than that. Any sacrifice, any struggle is worth the effort, for myself and for them. We must put our health, and the love of our families, before our selfish desires.

My friends, if I seem as though I'm preaching, I hope that you will forgive me. If I am preaching, it is only to myself. I have been selfish. I have worried my family. And the worst of all things has happened in my life, giving me a frightening wake-up call. My precious husband, the love of my life, has had a heart attack, and he almost died. Praise God, he survived through life changing surgery. Immediately the whole family went on his diet.

Because of this near tragedy, I am eating better than I have in a long, long time. Slowly, I am backing down on my insulin. Slowly, I am taking baby steps with exercise, all the while realizing that every step forward requires an adjustment in my thinking and an adjustment in my medications. It's not easy, but very slowly, I am losing weight, and I am feeling encouraged. I have gone from I can take control to Please God, take control of my life!

So, this new year, I have not, nor am I making new years resolutions, dooming myself to failure. I am reevaluating my life and my choices, and choosing to be all that I can be, through the grace of God, for Him, for my family and for myself. So help me God!

Heavenly Father, I know that there is for me, and each of us, a time when we must say good-by to this world, and enter the eternities. However, for today and tomorrow, I pray that you will grant me the time to glorify you with my life until You come for me, to take me home. I love You, Lord. You know that, because you can see my heart. I have been lazy. I have been willful. And, worst of all, I had given up. Please Lord, light my path, and make it straight before me, as only You can.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Email Jaye