Shortly after I was put on T’s insurance scheme (dependent spouse person here), we registered me with his Primary Care provider and I was scheduled for a series of health check-ups. For no real reason, just a regular thing. It came as a surprise to me that T did blood work every couple of months and they ran tests to check all sorts of things.
When I was in Singapore, my company encouraged us to use the remainder of our annual medical benefits (if we had anything left) to get a complete check-up. Usually this costs anything between S$200-S$500. And other than that one annual check-up (which I honestly wasn’t very diligent with), there was the annual Pap smear. That was all.
So at the end of last year, these American doctors discovered that I had Vitamin D deficiency and also diagnosed me with possible diabetes.
After the holidays (a wonderful Thanksgiving in Arizona and delicious Christmas in New York), I did another 2 rounds of lab work and it was confirmed that I had Type 2 diabetes. It didn’t come as much of a surprise even though I didn’t exhibit any symptoms. My mother and grandmother both have diabetes. And because of mismanagement, my own mum has to contend with insulin jabs before every meal now. I was determined not to have that happen to me.
My doctor has put me on Metformin (3x daily) and some other meds. But even then my blood glucose wasn’t satisfactory. I was even told to buy a blood glucose monitor. Now, here’s the thing – I have 6 tattoos though I’ve been tattooed 8 times (covered 2 up). 2 of my tattoos are larger than palm size, yet I’m afraid of needles in me. I fear getting my blood drawn because I think the needle might break inside. A tattoo needle goes in and out quickly so while there’s a searing sensation, I don’t worry too much. Also, I don’t see the blood till it’s over. The idea of deliberately pricking my finger everyday to draw blood from myself is horrifying!! So for more than a month after I bought the blood glucose monitor, it just sat there on our bedroom sideboard.
Then came the mandatory Diabetes education classes conducted by the Health Education & Wellness Department of Health Plan of Nevada. T who’s been very supportive about this, went with me to my classes – drove me there and sat in for those 2-hour sessions. He was afraid I might bail each time and I honestly always drag my feet about it. Those classes were actually really informational and time passed quite quickly in each one. I even learnt how to use my blood glucose monitor after my first lesson.
So I’ve been monitoring my blood glucose levels with the techniques I learnt even though I still dread it. The last time I showed the data to my doctor he thought they looked pretty decent. However, to me, the numbers are still not ideal because I’m on medication and I feel like they should be much lower. Shouldn’t the medication help you adjust to “normal levels” instead of just “acceptable with diabetes”?
I’ve been slowly trying to live better over the last few years and while many do not agree with my increasingly restrictive dietary habits, I know that I feel better now than I did in my 20s when I was 30kgs heavier. In the mid-2000s when I was still teaching, I weighed over 100kg, in 2010, I was 85kg and now I’m consistently well under 70kg. As you can see, I’m not crazy about extreme weightloss and I was taking my time to do it as comfortably as I can because I’m doing it to prevent premature aging and death, not to be thin.
So now because of this latest diagnosis, I’ve started another journey experimenting with more whole grains, eating brown rice, less refined sugars, using Splenda and Stevia to bake, no big meals after 6pm unless on special occasions etc. For the last 2 months or so, I have been eating differently, guzzling water in desperation and will now try to get my physical activity levels up again – I kinda fell off the hot yoga bandwagon because life had other plans for me for the last 3 months then decided to take that away.
My goal is to reduce my Metformin dosage and be healthier by the time I turn 36 in September. T has also joined me on this health kick. My moving-in has caused him to gain about 25kg in just under 8 short months and we want to live a long time with each other so I’ve been tasked to put him on a diet too!
So watch this space as one of us fights Type 2 Diabetes and the other banishes his gut! Huzzah!!!!