November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and This Is My Story.....
SUGAR, PIE, AND HONEY BUNS
Forty seven 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 (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)". Walk up to just about anybody in any town in America today, and sing the first line “Sugar pie, honey bunch” and you’re sure to find someone who will join in singing that second line "You know I love you" right along with you. Pretty soon you'll both add in the quick movements, rolling your hands, swaying back and forth and before belting out “Can't help myself” loudly and happily.
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 doctor. In my forties at the time, 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 lab 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 for the lab work. That was on a Friday. I honestly didn’t give it another thought until that Monday when 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 told “You have Diabetes.” No more Sugar, Pie or Honey Buns for me!
YOU KNOW THAT I LOVE YOU
That wasn’t all. This 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 in law, who is a nurse, once told me: "Take someone with you when you go in for test results 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." So there I sat, writing down everything the doctor was saying, my head spinning the whole while. I had to sign 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 glucose 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 a terminal 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
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 told me that my A1c was so high that she recommended I be put on Metformin (Medicine for Type 2 Diabetes). But, knowing my rights as a patient, I refused. Outwardly I was 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 last 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 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
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