I should have known better.
I have always been a pretty healthy person. While members of my family have dealt with an assortment of health issues, I've been fortunate to not have those problems. Outside of the occasional cold or flu, I've never had to spend any time in the hospital for any serious illnesses.
My gallbladder was removed a few years ago, and I've had a few other outpatient related procedures over the years, but nothing serious.
My diet has been ok, but like a lot of us, I've been on many late night fast food runs. My love for potato chips, fruit juice and Skittles is well known by family and friends.
I would occasionally tell myself that I needed to cut out the junk food and start eating healthier. I would even cut out almost all of the bad food that I love, and eat a better balanced diet. But it would not be long until I was back to my old habits.
I guess the lure of sour cream and onion potato chips proved to be too much for me.
The fact that I wasn't exercising as much as I used to didn't help matters. But each time I would go in for a physical, my doctor would tell me that my blood pressure and heart rate was fine, and my cholesterol was low. So I thought that I was fine.
I convinced myself that despite my family's health history, everything would be alright.
And then a few weeks ago, it hit me.
I started feeling strange. I was tired all the time. I had dry mouth and was drinking water almost constantly. It felt like someone was standing on my bladder. I was using the bathroom hourly. My eyes were blurry, and food tasted differently.
Even though I had my suspicions of what it could be, I told myself that whatever it was, it would pass in a few days.
But after a week of feeling awful with no end in sight, I decided to see my doctor. His diagnosis was what I expected, but until that moment I couldn't bring myself to believe:
Type 2 Diabetes
After hearing those words, all those bags of potato chips, pieces of candy, cheeseburgers, fries and missed opportunities to go to the gym ran through my mind.
How can I let this happen, especially considering my family history of diabetes and the fact that I'm African American? Why wasn't I more careful about what I ate?
Even though I've never smoked and I don't drink alcohol very often, why did I receive this diagnosis so early?
After the initial sting wore off, I realized that this might be good news.
This was caught early, so my blood sugar wasn't extremely high. That means I don't have to take insulin. All I need are diet and exercise along with medication. I am thankful because many people who suffer from this disease aren't as fortunate.
They don't call this the silent killer for nothing.
The diagnosis served as a wake-up call for me to change the way I eat and live. I read and pay close attention to every meal I eat, and I'm making sure that I'm active every day. I thank my doctors for the continuing education and my family for being my support system.
I have always believed that everything happens for a reason. Perhaps sharing my story might help someone who's living with diabetes. Maybe it's for some other purpose.
One thing's for sure: I know more about myself today than I did a month ago.
And that's a good thing.
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