Dear Body

Dear Body

One Month Ago:

Dear Body,

I’m trying to listen carefully to you, but I’m still not understanding what you need from me. You told me before about needing more restorative sleep and I’m glad we’ve got that sorted out. I know there’s more, though. Please be really, really clear with me about what you need so I can take appropriate action.

Sincerely, Me

 

Three Weeks Ago:

“It would be worth checking your blood sugar again,” Dresden told me one morning, shortly after I woke up.

“Oh?” I’d been checking it occasionally in the mornings for a fasting number. It had been hanging out in the low 120s for years, my HbA1C test results keeping me in the prediabetes range for over two decades after increasingly severe cases of gestational diabetes with each pregnancy.

I grabbed my test kit and took a reading. 150 mg/dL. That can’t be right. I chose a test strip out of a new container and tried again. 152 mg/dL. Oy.

Maybe it was a fluke, a one-off. Or maybe not. I began testing two hours after every meal and taking a fasting reading every morning for the next several days. My after-meal numbers were largely fine, but my fasting numbers were all over 145 mg/dL.

I made a lab appointment to get my HbA1C checked. It was time, anyway.

Twenty-four hours, a high random blood glucose reading (nearly the same as my own test kit reading), and an A1C of 6.5% later, I made an appointment with my doctor.

 

Two Weeks Ago:

“You now have type 2 diabetes,” my doctor said. “And celiac disease. And your blood pressure medicine, even at the increased dosage, isn’t working.”

I nodded, knowing all this but not thrilled about hearing it said aloud.

“I’d like to add a second blood pressure medication, as well as add another diabetes medication to your metformin,” she continued.

From her pre-appointment email, I knew we’d be talking about this, so I’d done quite a bit of reading. I knew from my own health history that adding a calcium channel blocker was the best second medication to add for my blood pressure and that a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1) was the best additional diabetes medication.

I told my doctor as much, adding, “All of the other diabetes medications have weight gain as a side effect. I really don’t want to add any more weight.”

“You don’t?” she bantered back.

“I really don’t. In fact, I’d be happy to find someone else to give my extra weight to. Is that possible?”

“I’m afraid not. Losing it is your best option.”

“I’m worried about losing it,” I told her. “If I lose it, someone might find it and try to return it to me. How about I just release it back into the universe to be recycled as some other energy?”

“I like that plan,” my doctor said, finishing writing a prescription. “And this will help.”

 

One Week Ago:

The new/added blood pressure medicine is taking a bit of adjustment. It makes me very sleepy and dizzy, so I take it at night, but it still leaves me a bit off in the morning. Two very interesting things: my resting pulse is now easily 10+ bpm lower than it was before the added medicine and what had felt (or I had interpreted) as constant low-grade anxiety seems to be gone. Now I’m wondering if I could sense my higher pulse and that felt like anxiety. It’s certainly possible. At any rate, I feel calmer now.

My new diabetes medication is a weekly injection. Among the side effects—or benefits—it slows gastric emptying and decreases appetite. No kidding! I’m now eating one-third to one-half of what I was last week because I feel full sooner and am less hungry throughout the day. Its effect on my blood sugar began working immediately. My fasting blood glucose after the first injection was 95 mg/dL. My fasting blood sugar hasn’t been this healthy in over 22 years.

 

Today:

I’m still getting used to the new medications, but the blood pressure medication’s side effects are slowly easing. I still feel calm more often. I don’t have that feeling like I’m going to jump out of my skin. I’m delighted that my stomach no longer feels hunger as often. My acid reflux has lessened considerably. I can go an entire day with my blood sugar readings never going higher than the 90s. I’ve released five pounds. I’ve had no other side effects.

My way of eating remains a personalized combination of gluten-free, lower-carb, anti-inflammatory, and low caloric density (read: fruits and vegetables especially).

It’s all taking more energy at the moment to pay attention to all of these things and monitor my health, but I’m now aware that my body spoke loudly so that I could take action. These medications may be temporary until I reverse my diabetes and hypertension or they may be long-term. I’m okay with either one.

An overwhelming majority of my first- and second-degree biological family of origin had diabetes, hypertension, and heart and/or kidney disease. Many died from untreated or poorly controlled diabetes, leading to renal and heart failure. I refuse to follow in their footsteps. My genetics may have made insulin resistance, diabetes, and high blood pressure a matter of “when,” not “if,” but I have the power and the resources to manage and potentially even reverse them in a way that my body will accept.

For the record, my body has already rejected several other modalities of healing. Further, I did not know that one person could be allergic to so many essential oils, Chinese herbs, and other supplements. Even with all its faults, Western medicine is working for me right now.

 

This Afternoon:

Dear Body,

Thank you for speaking to me so clearly. You seem to be much happier now with more medical support. I will continue to listen carefully and will do my utmost best not to make any of my lab or test results mean anything about my worth. I appreciate you housing and guarding me through this lifetime, and I want to take good care of you. You, too, are one of my guides.

With love, Me

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