“We got the results of your bloodwork and you’ve got type 2 diabetes and the other levels looked fine…” said the nurse with all the gravity and seriousness of a mechanic telling me my wiper fluid was a little low.
In her defense, I’m sure she had a ton of calls to make and diabetes is almost as common as allergies. Plus, I’m sure it’s not easy to tell a complete stranger, “You know the way you’ve been eating? Every day for your entire life? Well, stop or you’ll die. When are you be free to come in for a follow up?”
But the fact remained: my claims that I bleed grape jam were truer than I could have imagined.
The first thing I thought was, “Well, this should motivate me to eat better.”
The second thing I thought was, “Will this be expensive?”
But then I came to my senses and thought, “How can I monetize this?”
So here we are. I’m blogging about it. Because everybody knows the real money is in blogging.
A Brief History
I love food. Fatty, greasy, cheesy food. Tex-Mex, German, Italian – these are three of my food groups. Macaroni and cheese is the fourth. I love to gorge on food. I eat until I’m suffering, until I’m sick and ready to tap out. Some of you who know a thing or two about the human mind might categorize this is as a disorder. And you might be right. But if loving food is wrong, well, apparently, I don’t want to be slender.
Also, check this out: When I was drinking, back in the dark ages, on my way to work in the morning I would stop by 7-Eleven and pick up an Orange Crush and a bag of Cheetos and be proud of myself for eating a breakfast that covered two of the food groups.
And I didn’t feel this way because it was the 80s and we thought those things were healthy, like how doctors recommended certain cigarettes in the 50s. No, this was my skewed sense of reality. And I’ve dined on it ever since.
Look at me. LOOK. AT. ME.
I’m not large, per se. In some circles (read: these guys I know), I’m what is known as a “Skinny Fat Guy.” My arms and legs are slender. My chin and gut, no so much. Honestly, I resemble someone in their third trimester.
I’ve always been the type who believes it’s not how you look, but what’s on the inside that matters. But I haven’t been happy with my bowling ball belly and Jabba-style chin. Little did I know that my insides were a Hieronymus Bosch landscape, giving me fuzzy feet, headaches, crankiness, and a whole host of other things that make me pretty miserable.
Take Two of These. And One of These. And a Couple of These. And That One Over There.
So here’s the good news: Like Wesley’s diagnosis in “The Princess Bride,” I am only mostly diabetic. Here’s some science. And, yes, I’m winging most of this.
One of the things they do when you get bloodwork done (other than whether you have enough of it), is an A1C test. According to the CDC, “The A1C test measures the percentage of your red blood cells that have sugar-coated hemoglobin.”
Note to self: start working on a cartoon character to sell to a healthcare education company that will teach kids about the dangers of diabetes. Call it the Sugar-coated Hemo Goblin©. Do you see what I did there? It’s fun.
So the higher the percentage of sugar-coated hemoglobin, the more diabetic you are. According to the CDC, who think they are sooooooo mart, the normal range is below 5.7%. Prediabetes is 5.7% to 6.4%.
Did you know people who are prediabetic are not preparing or training to become diabetic? I did not know this. But now I understand why those who told me they were prediabetic scowled when I would respond, “You’re so close! You can do this! Let’s flag down the ice cream truck!” Lesson learned.
People with “full-blown” diabetes are 6.5% or above.
My score? 6.6%. That’s an F+!
I didn’t ask if they round up or if maybe I was being penalized for my prediabetic japes, but the doctor was confident I could bring down my A1C into a safer zone, a zone where I wouldn’t have to worry about shots or blood tests or anything.
He prescribed a handful of drugs. The only one I remember is metFORMIN. Then there’s something for cholesterol (My cholesterol is high. Like 8,000, I think? I may off a little.) and then there’s an appetite suppresant to make me less hungry and irritable and stop looking at me.
The toughest part, of course, will be the diet. I’m on a low carb diet that is an abomination unto the Lord. And I also have to exercise.
And I have to blog about it. Apart from blogging being akin to a money tree, it will keep me honest. Blogging will require discipline. Discipline which, as my bulbous midsection will prove, I don’t have.
I’m also hoping this little… milestone in my life will force me to contemplate other matters, too. Why was I put here? What am I doing? Who left their cup on the end table without a coaster?
So I’ll use this little blog to track my progress, to discuss tips, tricks, and hacks I discover and come out on the other end of this a different person. A better person. A person who isn’t asked, “Party of four?” when he walks into a restaurant.
Also, at the bottom of this page, you’ll see my Twitter handle. If you would like to check-in or keep me accountable, please do. Maybe we can learn stuff together. Stuff like, “Stay away from that mean old Sugar-coated Hemo Goblin©!”