Wednesday, April 15, 2009

O is for . . . Openness

Today tastes like olives and okra, oysters and oatmeal, Oreos and opopanax.

Well. Where to begin?

Tonstant Weaders will no doubt recall (because every word here is a pearl without price, ha-ha) that I've written about how fall tends to be the sucky depressing time in my life, filled with the smell of loss and frost even as the days shorten and the few leaves turn.

Fall 2008 was the maggot-ridden cherry on the pus-covered excrement sundae of Worst Fall Ever.

I went to the doctor's office for my semiannual urinary tract infection. I came out with Type II diabetes. (Rather like the Englishman who went up a hill and came down a felon. That was NOT what I had in mind!!!)

And here's the thing. I am an intensely private person in so many areas of my life. I share odds and sods, and sometimes surprise people with what I'm willing to say out loud, but this . . . well, this was different.

Honestly, if DH Gareth hadn't been with me at the hospital, I wouldn't have told him for a while.

As it was, I held onto to my secret for weeks, smoldering like wet leaves on fire, wrapped up in my judgment and perception of how others would judge me. If I hear one more person pontificate on how diabetes is TOTALLY avoidable, I will rip their living heart from their chest and eat it in front of them, saying to their glazing eyes, "THAT was totally avoidable, dumb-ass."

Hey, it's just protein, salts, and water. Shouldn't screw with my sugars too badly. (Thanks for your concern.)

And yeah, that's a lot of where my head was at. Three times a day for the rest of my life I get to stick a lancet in my skin and be reminded that I am TOOO STOOOOOPID to TAKE DECENT CARE of myself; can't even manage to FEED MYSELF RIGHT, F'R GODSAKES; and probably shouldn't be out among the ADULTS WITHOUT A LEASH. Anger and shame flambe with a sidecar of fury and humiliation.

Is this like pregnancy? Never having experienced the latter condition, all I know are the anecdotes that get told about how random strangers walk up and put their hands on your belly, how everyone has at least one horror story about how they were in labor for eighteen weeks and couldn't have any pain medication at all, and how their friend/sibling/third cousin twice removed tragically lost their child due to some ham-handed fuckup by the medical profession that left Little Turtle Dumpling dying in momma's arms, whispering, "Why did you fail me, o mother mine? How could you have brought me here like this? I loved you . . ." with their last gasping breath.

And it's kind of the same way. Others in my circle of friends have come up snake eyes on the sugar cube dice, and when they speak up, everyone has a story about an uncle or a friend or a friend's uncle who had the condition and either lived a long and happy life or had multiple amputations, starting with the toes and working inwards until he went blind, had a stroke, and finally died of a heart attack after being reduced to a drooling torso in a wheelchair. At fifty. And it's too bad, because diabetes is so easily avoided. *slowly I turn, fingers flexing, step by step, inch by inch*1

So. Not counting on much support from that end of things.

I don't intend to turn this into Spike's Sainted Blog, where it's all Chronic Disease all the time. However, it is a part of my life now.2 It won't get better. There is no cure at this time; just management. Kind of like addiction, only I can't take a vow of abstinence and stop drinking.

Although not eating would cure the condition, as much as it can be cured. Three weeks or so, and I wouldn't have diabetes any more. The side effects though, the side effects of that cure are a bitch. And permanent, to boot.

Back to openness, and secrets, and spilling your guts. (Not literally. I haven't heard you say the "A" word yet. Which "A" word? "Avoida--" *slowly I turn, fingers flexing, step by step, inch by inch*)

I've been telling the people it directly affects--the people I (used to) break bread with first, so we can plan around grains and carbs and meals when I may or may not be allowed to eat. The folks at the office, so they understand when I suddenly turn white and clutch the wall at about 3:35 p.m. when my sugars crash with an audible thud.

Ah, but the 'rents.

The damned disease makes frequent appearances runs gallops up and down both sides of the family tree. And yup, there's a genetic component. According to the American Diabetes Association, there's a certain amount of risk simply due to the way humans are constructed--it's a design flaw. Raise that to 1 in 13 if you have a diabetic parent who developed the disease after age fifty. 1 in 7 if you have a diabetic parent who devloped the disease before 50.

Anyone want to guess what happens if you have two diabetic parents? Anyone? Bueller?

Your risk is one in two. Flip a coin; tails you lose.

Can someone gimme "avoidable"? *slowly I turn, fingers flexing, step by step, inch by inch*

Yeah, choose your parents carefully.

And speaking of parents, how does one break the news that you have the family disease? "O hi, Mom, how's the weather? Uh-huh, and Dad? Uh-huh, and by the way Ihavediabetes. Isthatthedoorbell? Nicetalkingtoyoubye." Mmmm. Not so much. And I surely don't want them to read it on the blog. (Reason number 493 not to let your folks know where you keep your diary . . . Hi, Mom!)

It's not going to be easy. That much I know. So I'm tying up a shoe of Damocles here with this post, written ahead of time. (And even writing this has been tough. I keep running away and circling back. I've spent over five hours on this.)

I need to have broken the news before this publishes. If I don't, and I get a Rowling-style Howler from the 'rents, then it's my own damn fault for being too much of a chickenshit to put on my big girl panties and pick up the phone.

There. I've set up an auto-publish, and *gulp* the date's a lot sooner than I thought it'd be.

Well, I've said it before. I don't need inspiration. What I need is a deadline. And now I have one.

1. Hmmm. A human head is often compared to a cabbage in terms of consistency. I wonder if SKIN is much different? I'd think not; there's a lot of bone in a head. And you can avoid the rib cage handily . . .

2. Hence the tag, "Too Sweet For My Own Good." Read 'em or dodge 'em, but that'll be the thrust of these posts. I can feel several rants coming on . . .


azcrazy said...

god dammit...that sucks!

Roy said...

Ripped out heart can be stuffed with garlic cloves and marinated in a pineapple and cabernet mix for a tasty roast.

If they're really pissing you off and you rip out their lungs too, why, you're on the way to a haggis stuffing. You'll need onions and croutons too.

Sorry to hear the news though.

fillyjonk said...

Sorry to hear it.

I also am sorry you're having to deal with Judgey McJudgersons. I wish that every news channel on the planet was required to run PSAs saying, "Diabetes is NOT always caused by poor diet and inactivity" but I doubt they'd do that. Because too many people have too much invested in being all judgey.

fillyjonk said...

Ugh, I'm sorry to hear that.

And I'm sorry you are having to deal with Judgey McJudgersons. That stinks.

Spike said...

@ Roy--Cabernet? Really? I would think a Merlot with pineapple, but this is worth trying . . .

@ Fillyjonk-- And the worst Judgey McJudgerson is the one sitting right between my ears, o' course.

fillyjonk said...

Spike, I hear ya on the "worst judgey mcjudgersons" I do that crap to myself.

In part, because years and years and years ago, my gyn made an offhand comment that "[minor and not-really life-changing chronic condition you have] MIGHT go into remission if you lost some weight."

Every year after that I went into a mania of trying to drop - hell, even THREE pounds - before the annual checkup so I could be the Good Patient.

Later, I come to learn that the minor chronic condition is not CAUSED by weight gain; weight gain is a SIDE EFFECT of it.

But I still beat myself up for being "too fat." And I still yell at myself the mornings I'm too tired/too allergy ridden/too whatever to get out of bed at 5 and do the Mandated Workout (mandated by me).

I wish I could get rid of it, but I can't, quite.

Roshi Doshi said...

Hey, for what its worth. No horror stories here. I know several folks with Type II. Its a little hassle but managable.

I know you'll be fine!

Screw the judgers...

havi said...

If I hear one more person pontificate on how diabetes is TOTALLY avoidable, I will rip their living heart from their chest and eat it in front of them, saying to their glazing eyes, "THAT was totally avoidable, dumb-ass."Oh, man. I so know this feeling.

Also: ugh. I'm sorry you're having to go through all this hard.

And yeah, wanting to rip hearts out for being hard when you what you need is for someone to acknowledge how scary, uncomfortable and generally awful this is for you ... seems like a pretty healthy reaction to me.

Bullwinkle said...

Damn that sucks! Sorry to hear.

I'm fighting the coin toss - its still up in the air (so, I guess, its just a matter of time) and I dread the day that I have to tell people. I may just point to your post ;)

I've got a diabetic dog (seems kind of like the universe is taunting me with that one) so I know the management drill. To that I can say, hang it there - it gets easier as it is more familiar.

p.s. Havi sent me over; omg, great post.

Slackermom said...

That sucks. My soon-to-be ex was diagnosed at 35. Not overweight, athletic. Doc didn't even want to test him but hubby insisted because his mom had it. And sure enough . . . So, now I know my kidlets have a 1 in 7 chance. That sucks too.

The other thing that sucks - the "common wisdom" from the medical community - lose weight by eating a low fat diet (which usually means relatively high carb). Diabetes isn't always caused by a poor diet. And prescribing a one-size-fits-all diet is just stupid. Hubby started eating a low carb diet and exercised a little more. And he was able to control it without medication longer than the doc thought he would.

Lille Diane said...

I found you through Havi, too. Ugh here, too. Your writing is beyond great. Beyond fabulous. We have the "bete's" in our family, too. Your post inspired me to have myself checked. I will return to visit you, Spike.

Not to be "one of those" peeps trying to tell you what to do but... (BUT I'm saying "but" with my whole heart...) My son has "the betes", as he call it. He has the most amazing, and hilarious, outlook on life with the "betes". He has 6 videos called "The Betes' on youtube. Just search The betes... you will find him. NOT promoting him. Just want to give you a really good laugh (probably more like 287 lol's). And a new friend.

Thanks for being real.

mhm said...

(If I hear one more person pontificate on how diabetes is TOTALLY avoidable, I will rip their living heart from their chest and eat it in front of them, saying to their glazing eyes, "THAT was totally avoidable, dumb-ass.")

Get the same feelings with my "arthritis". Don't let them get you down, hold in there. Rant and scream. It helps. In the end, you'll know who your real friends are. Can I have a little honey mustard with that heart?