I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Sanofi to write about the realities of diabetes as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.
Since I last wrote about my health and my continued, rollercoaster of a weight loss journey, I have lost 20.2 lbs! I know people say this type of thing all the time, but I really feel like this is it. This time is different because so many health problems that I have been having over the course of the last 10 years all directly tie into my weight, and I’m tired of feeling like crud all the time.
Back in 2006, at the ripe young age of 26, I was diagnosed with PCOS, extensive endometriosis, and insulin resistance. My doctor put me on Metformin and a specialized diet for PCOS. Within 6 weeks, I had lost 30lbs and I felt great.
But, I felt great. So I eventually stopped taking the medicine and gained weight again.
I’ve ridden this same rollercoaster for 12 years now, and I really am beginning to see the impact of my decisions over the years. I have pernicious anemia, ADHD, constant exhaustion, tingly toes, insane acid reflux, I get fluid in my ears that just sits there for no explainable reason, and I’ve even struggled with losing weight doing exactly what I’ve always done to lose, and that has been the most frustrating part of it all.
The overarching issue here is my blood sugar regulation. Several years ago, my bloodwork set me at 1 point under pre-Diabetes. I knew then I needed to get more serious about what I ate, but I never did that for longer than a few months.
With the onset of COVID and Type 2 Diabetes being a comorbidity, I knew I had to get my health figured out, and STAT. I am nearing 40, and making this a priority so that I can spend the last half of my life being healthy and active became insanely important to me. That’s exactly why I made the decision to find a healthcare provider who is well-versed in obesity and weight loss, and who views each patient as a whole person with their own, unique health profile.
I want to be honest about my journey because maybe someday, a woman going through the same things as me will remember this story and put her health in the hands of someone who cares and will treat them as an individual person. There is no one path for all people, we each have different paths.
My path looks like a couple medications and supplements. This wasn’t an easy decision for me to make. After years of wanting to control this by diet, but not consistently succeeding, I had effectively killed my metabolism and my Pituitary Gland had rolled over and died.
Like in my journey, there is generally a 6 year lag in starting treatment. For that entire time, uncontrolled blood glucose could be damaging numerous organs in your body. For instance, people with poorly controlled blood glucose had increased risks for heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. That’s why it is so important to get diagnosed early and start lifestyle changes and treatment early and then stick to them. I had the opportunity to do that 12 years ago, and I failed. I can’t keep making the same mistakes, and I’m pleading with you that you not be like me.
I know that at the root cause of my rebellion against my diagnosis is self sabotage, I’m *so* good at that. I sabotage myself constantly, in every area of my life. I do it in relationships, in my work, with my kids, and with my own health. That’s why I knew I had to involve a mental health professional in my journey. I am also fortunate enough to have an extremely supportive spouse. I couldn’t do any of this without him. Getting friends and family members on board has been instrumental in my success the last 7 couple months, and they will continue to be a support for me.
It feels really good to have a team surrounding me now, asking the hard questions and getting to the root of my problems. I wish I had seized this opportunity when I was 26 and saved myself from over a decade of frustration and undiagnosed, seemingly unrelated symptoms.
Don’t be like me. If you know your health is on the line, or something just isn’t right, find a provider you trust, one who treats you like an individual. If you fail the first time, keep searching. They’re out there.
Type 2 Diabetes is more serious than we give it credit for. It is responsible for heart disease, kidney disease, hearing loss, vision loss, and nerve damage which can lead to digestion dysfunction, sexual dysfunction for both men and women, and for some folks, nerve damage in their feet may lead to amputation.
And yet catching it early, working with a team of healthcare professionals, and really taking ownership of your health can move the needle in the right direction for a long, healthy life.
Here are some facts about Diabetes that I find interesting and want to share with you all –and for anyone interested in more details on the latest treatment options available for people diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, I will be covering that in more detail in November as part of this campaign:
Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input. The survey, which includes additional education on this topic, will take less than 10 minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with diabetes and your care team, which will help us develop future educational initiatives. Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize and to send a follow-up survey as part of this same initiative.