After having had my fasting blood glucose test repeated on 10th December 2015, following a result of 10.7 earlier in the week, I had a feeling that the news was not going to be good. So, when the doctor phoned me at home at 5.30pm on the Friday night, to say that it had been 10 this time, type 2 diabetes was confirmed. He invited me to come on the following Tuesday to discuss the diagnosis and we left it at that. I remember feeling a bit shell-shocked, as you think it only happens to older, fatter people than me. OK, I was pushing 40 but you think of it as affecting people in their 60’s and above. I also knew that I was overweight, but at that point thought “only” 2 -3 stone overweight. You have visions people losing limbs, having trouble with their eyes and I was determined from that point on that I was going to do as much as I could to help myself and not get into that state.
At that point I decided that I wouldn’t tell family and friends just yet, as I couldn’t handle the constant questions while I was still trying to digest the news myself. The only person I told was my husband, who I knew would be supportive and would read up on as many things… actually who am I kidding? – make that more things than I would. He would then sieve out the dross and direct me to the “good” bits. Probably useful is more like it. We both did a fair bit of reading over that weekend so that we could be prepared with questions for the doctor on the Tuesday.
Tuesday came round. I knew that the diabetes had been caused by my own weight but I thought about all the changes I had already made to my diet and lifestyle and was ready to hit the doctor with it. So he started to tell me what it all meant, how it was all down to my weight and my unhealthy diet. But my diet actually isn’t that unhealthy. In the grand scheme of things, I ate a pretty balanced diet. Plenty of fish, fruit and veg, salads and with the odd cake. My cholestorol was only 3.6, so that pointed to the fact my diet wasn’t bad, didn’t it? Yes, but the doctor could not admit that and congratulate me on getting something right. “It is where it should be” was the best he could muster. My HbA1c was 59, apparently it should be under 42, so that seemed wildly high to me, where he didn’t seem too concerned. He gave me a booklet to read, asked if I had questions. Questions? I had a million questions, but could I think of any right at that time? Of course not. All I could think of was how unfair it was and how his manner made me want to punch him. I HAD made changes – I had cut out sugar from my tea completely in the previous 8 years, I didn’t drink anywhere near the fizzy drinks I used to (a can a day down to one or two a week), I was eating more healthily and had managed to lose 2 stone in 2014 (albeit putting a stone back on), I was doing 2 exercise classes a week plus a program at the gym (which I had been referred to by the practice nurse due to elevated blood pressure). “I know that you must hear this every day from people sitting here in front of you, but with me it is the truth but I can see that you don’t believe me” I said to the doctor close to tears. “Whatever you are doing…it…is…not…enough” was his answer. Pauses for emphasis. It was all I could do not to actually punch him. Bedside manner like Doctor Crippen. My husband stepped in as he could see how upset I was, and asked what this meant for the future. The doctor looked at us both as if we were stupid. Basically we were told that that was it, I now had Type 2 Diabetes and would have it for life, getting progressively worse and I would need more and more medication and assistance. There didn’t seem to be any other hope. No diabetes remission or reversal, which I had read a bit about. No hope. Off you go and get progressively worse. I told him I wanted to try to manage it with diet and exercise rather than going onto medication straight off and could see the scepticism in his face and that gave me even more determination to prove him wrong.
Next: Next Steps