I’m back on a low dose of a type 2 diabetes med.
It sucks to have to admit that the YEARS of lifestyle changes I’ve made and adhered to just weren’t enough for this stage of life.
I’ve talked for years about working so hard to get off of meds. And I have spent 8+ years backing it up with a lot of hard work to stay off meds. I had some major heartburn along with a few tears, over having landed back in the land of pharmaceuticals. I feel like a failure on some level. Yet I’m not dumb. I don’t want to die or loose limbs or suffer organ failure and I KNOW that’s the possible result if I continue to deny the situation. And throw in that I did a whole lot of damage for many years. As my friends who were there 10 years ago remind me: I was warned that if I could get off of all the meds and embrace a different lifestyle; at some point meds might still have to be re-introduced.
It appears that now is that time.
Hello again. (I’m saying that in a flat, unenthusiastic, bored-teenager tone…)
I held my own for a long time. Eight years give or take. Got off meds and stayed off meds. Then menopause hit. Perimenopause to be precise. It hit me hard, backed over me, peered out the window and ran over me again just for good measure. In doing some research I’ve learned glucose resistance is common for women during this stage. I’m metabolically messed up anyway… So… I have to be extra careful and mindful. It has been increasingly obvious that I wasn’t going to wait this out with familiar tactics and tools.
After some stalling and hand-wringing, I went to the doc to ask for help taking action before things got totally out of hand. I knew – thanks to my trusty Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) that my numbers were not great. You want that line FLAT and low as much of the time as possible. Bloodwork backed up my concern that things weren’t where I wanted them. I was doing everything I knew to do, everything that had worked up to this point. Exercising, lifting weights, sleeping, drinking lots of water, no alcohol, low carb/healthy fat foods, trying to limit stress. That line should have responded by flattening out and laying low. It stayed jagged with random big spikes.
We talked about all the options and decided we could do one of two things; let me keep doing the things I was doing and see what happened or we could introduce a little pharmaceutical assistance and see if my body appreciated the help.
It was up to me.
I opted for some help.
My body REALLY appreciates the medical assist. I need some help to get through menopause and not fall neck deep back into full-blown type 2 diabetes. Three weeks on the new med and I have good numbers and feel so much better. It was the right thing to do.
I keep thinking about the fable of ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’. I was that character for oh-so-many years. For decades I would go to docs overweight, miserable, escalating health issues and totally unwilling to change. They would ask about my health habits and I would lie. To their faces. I would lie. I would plead with them to give me a magic bullet or cure me or solve the problem. The part I never voiced out loud was that I didn’t want to have to do any work. I wanted something to magically fix me and I thought that if I told them again and again that I was doing everything and I needed help – they would finally stop making me work at helping myself and they would just FIX IT.
That’s not how it works. Especially when there are some much bigger/deeper issues at the core.
Shame. SO, so much shame and wildly ineffective coping mechanisms for dealing with it. It kept me from taking action and making changes for years. I would tell docs I was doing ‘everything I could’ and leave their appointment and cruise through a drive-through to drown the shame in a value meal… I was binge eating and hiding it. I was not exercising. I was not being compliant with meds/protocols. I didn’t know how good life could be running and adventuring and being healthy — I thought the only thing that could provide that kind of comfort was food… Took a really good therapist to help me begin to untangle that mess.
Fast forward: I found health, therapy and life. It’s a long story. You can buy the book. Literally. 🙂
Now I’ve been sitting in a docs office telling her I am doing everything I can. And I need help. I became uncomfortably aware of all the times I had said those words to health professionals and NOT MEANT THEM. And I’m proud of myself for being brutally honest and upfront and battling the shame this time. This time I really genuinely meant them.
I’m on 500 mg of Glucophage. It’s a medication I know well. It’s meant to be combined with lifestyle changes. It does have some side effects; gastrointestinal ickiness. Still doing ALL the things I was doing to help myself and getting a little medical assistance to get my numbers to go/stay low.
It is working.
I am proud of myself for knowing when to ask for help. I’m proud of myself for taking the help even though I was also battling the feelings of taking a BIG ASS STUMBLING STEP BACKWARDS. I vowed when I made all of those changes almost a decade ago that I would try to do the right thing for my health moving forward. And I am keeping that promise to myself. Even with some mixed emotions about having to swallow a pill; this is in fact the very right thing for right now.