Life threw Pam Burbey a curve ball this past winter when she found out she had a life changing diagnosis of Diabetes. Not a stranger to the “curve balls” dealt in life she drew from past experience and recognized that although you can’t control what pops up in life, you can control how you react to it. In just a few short months she has gained control back of her health and she is writing about her success and sharing her secrets here at Imperfect Women. You can read her first post here.
By Pam Burbey
Now what? As I left the doctors office that cold February day with a diagnoses of Type 2 Diabetes, I felt resentful and lost. Resentful, because I didn’t want to deal with it and just wanted it to go away. Lost, because I didn’t know what I was going to do about it. I had no idea really what diabetes was or what it entailed. At the time, I thought it was related to sugar consumption.
My doctor had given me two prescriptions and an order for a blood test. One for Metformin and one for Glipizide, which at the time I had no idea what either one did. He also told me to get in contact with the diabetic center and a nutritionist. I felt so sick sitting there slumped in a chair in his office, that I barely heard much of what he was saying and understood even less. With a smile on his face, he told me I would feel better before long. I didn’t believe him.
Within the next week, I received a glucose meter with directions on how to use it from a pharmacy my insurance had contacted. It meant nothing to me and I left it on the table still wrapped in the box. I also, got a call from my doctor telling me my blood test results. Yep, it’s diabetes! It’s official. He told me my A1c was 12.1, an important number for diabetics. I was to find out later that an A1c for ‘normal’ people should not be higher than 5.7, but again that number meant nothing to me at the time. A1c is a test that shows the average blood sugar level of a person over the past 2 to 3 months.
Finally, after some phone tag and misunderstandings, I heard from the Diabetic Center. They told me I would meet “one on one” with a dietician to discuss an eating plan that would work for me. I would first have to be evaluated and attend a three hour nutrition class with some other newly diagnosed diabetics. Yuck, how boring does that sound!? Here comes the resentment again. I have to take off work and disrupt my life. Sitting and listening to someone drone on about the awful mind numbing debate of broccoli versus french fries and which is better for you, is not my cup of tea. Duh! No way could I get out of it and believe me I tried.
First up was the evaluation by a diabetic nurse. She took my blood pressure and it was a little high. They had my cholesterol numbers from my blood work that was previously drawn. My bad cholesterol was way too high and my good was way to low. Weighed me. I was overweight. They were not impressed by the fact that I had lost 20 pounds because my diabetes was out of control. They measured my waist and again, another number that was just way too high. I even kinda sucked in a bit and again they were not impressed. Checked my feet. It was determined that I have neuropathy! In other words…my feet are numb due to nerve damage from the diabetes. I was instructed on how to check my feet daily and never go barefoot. If I sustain even a small cut and am unable to feel it, an infection could develop and worse case scenario would be an amputation.
I sat down with the nurse and she showed me how to check my glucose. My first attempt at checking my blood sugar and I bent the lancet and I bled all over! The lancet is a small, sharp object that is used to prick the skin. Resentment made an appearance. I don’t want to do this. Second try, second finger bleeding all over and now a nice little bruise appears. I hate this! After bandaging my fingers, we or I should say she decided we needed to set some goals as to where I
want should be in three months. The goals ‘we’ decided were for me to lose nine pounds (again I remind her I just lost 20 ~ is comprehension not her strong suit?) and bring my A1c down to 8 or the mid 7 range. It was that moment I realized diabetes is all about numbers and in my case they were all too high. I am a number. And not a very good one at that.
In the next three months I not only managed to meet the goal ‘we’ set (9 pounds), but I lost over 30 pounds on top of the 20 pounds I had already lost! Could someone please hear me on that? I didn’t bring my A1c down to 8 or 7, but 6.1! It was all due to the nutrition class I didn’t want to go to and the dietician I didn’t want to listen to that turned a light on for me. Imagine that. They actually know what they are talking about.
I look forward to telling you more about what I learned and what worked and continues to work for me in my future posts.
Pam is the mother of a son and daughter and the grandma of an adorable boy. Pam shares a house on the beautiful Kankakee river with her two furbabies, a fierce dachshund and a shy spaniel, searching for life’s answers and only finding more questions.