SUGAR, PIE, AND HONEY BUNS
Forty five years ago, the Motown Sound boomed out a song by the Four Tops that would become one of the most popular songs of the era. I Can’t Help Myself. Walk up to just about anybody in any town in America today, and sing the first line, and you’re sure to find someone who will join in smiling all the way. The first four words “Sugar pie, honey bunch” are synonymous with quick movements, rolling of the hands, swaying back and forth and belting out “You know that I love you” with the best of them.
That’s how I feel about sugar, pie, and honey buns. That is until that fateful day in January of 2010 when I was told “You have Diabetes” by my (new) family doctor. In my forties for several years now, I tried to make a point of making that annual physical, come what may. October of the year before, life finally let up enough for me to go in. That was the 29th. Everything seemed fine, and I was given the usual referral for the blood and urine work. Well, life set back in and I found myself greeting in the new year with those same forms still stuffed somewhere in my tote bag. Feeling more sluggish than usual, with an impending trip to Atlanta looming on the horizon, I finally went in on January 8 of the new year for normal annual the blood and urine tests. That was on a Friday. I honestly didn’t give it another thought until that Monday I received a frantic call from one of the receptionists exclaiming “You have to come in as soon as possible. The doctor wants to talk to you about your blood work.” This is the wrong thing to say to someone like me. I began grilling her but she wouldn’t budge on the details. I made an appointment for the next day. Almost twenty-four hours later I found myself being introduced to a new doctor (my former doctor moved to Florida at the end of the year) and being told “You have Diabetes.” No more Sugar, Pie or Honey Buns for me!
YOU KNOW THAT I LOVE YOU
That wasn’t all. This new doctor was just full of good news, wasn’t she? My Cholesterol was also high. High enough to put me on medicine right away. Everything else she said would have been a whirlwind had I not remembered some wise advice my Sister n law once told me: Take someone with you because very often you won’t remember half of what you’re told. If you can’t take someone with you, then write down everything the doctor says. She should know, she’s a nurse. So there I sat, writing down everything this new doctor was saying, my head spinning the whole while. I was being signed up for nutrition classes. I had to see a Diabetes Specialist for a one on one consultation. I would have to stick my fingers several times a day to check the levels of sugar in my blood. My life would never be the same. There is no cure for Diabetes. I wrote it all down, the AC1 levels, the LDL numbers, all the while mentally ordering the tears welling up in my eyes not to fall. I breathed in and out as I made my way past the reception area down the elevator across the parking lot and back into my car. There the tears spilled. Fear, confusion and gratitude. Gratitude? Yes, gratitude. It could be worse. Much worse. I could have an incurable disease. These two diagnosis are things I can control. Just change my eating habits, that’s all. No sweat, right? I mean, I have no choice. And that is that. Or, so I thought.
I CAN’T HELP MYSELF
That was a little more than three years ago. The first year was a breeze. Literally. I went to the classes, met with the specialist, began poking my fingers, reading everything I could get my hands on, and eyes on concerning Diabetes and Cholesterol. Began cooking, baking, and actually eating green food. I could do this!! I even lost 9 pounds when I went in for my check up. I began sharing my diagnosis with family and friends. My family showed their love and support in leaps and bounds. Little by little I began cheating. First at work, where no one could see me. Then in the car on the way home. It wasn't long before , I’ve cheated every single day. First it was just the fried foods. No sweat on the sweets, or breads, or carbs. But then I began cheating on those too.
I LOVE YOU AND NOBODY ELSE
But then reality set in when yeast year when my doctor let me know that my A1c was so high that she recommended I be put on the diabetes medicine. I refused, outwardly defiant but inwardly I was scared straight. As I left the office I felt the determination of that first year returning and I whispered to myself Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. And that includes this."
My numbers and my weight have fluctuated greatly since then. But a health scare earlier this year made me finally face the facts that I am not that Stringbean sized teen age girl who can eat what I want and stay thin. I am a 50 plus African American woman with more than one health issue that must be taken seriously. I began cooking for myself again, and yes it's still a struggle, but today I just got the lab results back from blood work taken on September 4th and my cholesterol and A1c numbers are the lowest they've been since that fateful day in January of 2010. Today I am 30 pounds lighter and my smile is a whole lot brighter.
Almost as bright as the shiny glaze icing on a honey bun!
For more information on Diabetes, visit www.diabetes.org
Click HERE to listen to I Can’t Help Myself by the Four Tops