The phone call

07/14/2021

It has been over two weeks since I got a phone call that helped shift my focus back to where I was before January.

I grew up in a family that was never healthy and had bad habits that would eventually lead to diabetes, heart disease, or a stroke.

It was normal as a kid to see people in my family start drinking and smoking at an early age.  Back then in the late 70’s and early 80’s smoking was the norm.  In my high school we had a smoke hole which was frequented by both teachers and students alike.

I smoked my first cigarette at the age of 12 and I smoked for 19 years before I quit for 3 years, started smoking again and eventually quit for good in 2006.  The longest time I had quit smoking prior to that was when I was pregnant with my kids.  As of July 1st, of this year, it has been 15 years since I last had a cigarette. 

I also decided in 2019 it was time to quit drinking all together, but I was never really a drinker to begin with and only drank when I was on work trips, social gatherings or when I was smoking.  I also moved away from drinking due a binge drinking problem in my early 20’s.

These are still bad habits prevalent in my relatives and their families.  These are also bad habits that anyone can quit but you must be willing to let it go.  You must find a reason that reminds you every day why you are changing.  In my case, it was my kids and my own health.  I did not want them to grow up and see me go through the same health issues.

I grew up in a family where get togethers were all about the food. Then as we got older and had our own families and jobs fast food was the go to meal if things were busy due to our hectic schedules.

The next issue that my family faces is diabetes.

That was the subject of the phone call that I had received.  It was overwhelming and I was so stressed out to hear them say that I may be diabetic.

After I speaking with the doctor’s office once they got my lab results, I knew right then and there that it was not going to be my path and I needed to go back to the way I was eating prior to January.

In January, I started this new school and along with the exhausting work schedule came the bad habit of just grabbing something to eat.  Prior to that I was cooking meals which were mainly vegan or vegetarian.  Then I started drinking more sodas and adding more sugar to my morning cups of coffee to stay up during the day.

When I got the phone call stating the results of the bloodwork showed my A1C level was a 9.5 and my glucose was 287, I took the time to look up what those numbers meant and what was the best approach to correcting it.  That day and those first 3 days afterwards was the hardest.  I quit cold turkey the sugar and the caffeine to just get it out of my system. The withdrawal from it was intense.  I have never had a headache that lasted that long before and nothing was working to help it subside.  My son bought some no added sugar whole fruit popsicles and told me to eat one on the 4th day.  That small amount of sugar helped tremendously.  I mainly slept for those 4 days, but my son was there to watch over me.

It has been 15 days now with no sugar or caffeine and the fogginess has finally worn off.  I can concentrate better.   I started counting calories and carbs again to start dropping the weight plus started monitoring my glucose levels daily buying a glucose meter that first day.  I also started walking again. I have lost 5 pounds so far.

The results of those lab work were sent to my primary care provider, and we had an appointment seven days after the first call.  A second set of labs was done with me doing fasting beforehand.  It still caused some concern, but my levels were much lower than previously. My A1C level was < 4 and my glucose was 117.  Because of the huge drop in the A1C it was sent to an endocrinologist, and I have another set of bloodwork to be done by the August.  So, all of that is still pending.

I have monitored my glucose every day and it has stayed within normal levels and my overall average has been 145.  My morning averages are around 114 and the highest it has gone after any meals is 170.

I switched back to eating my vegan and vegetarian meals and only went off my diet when we had a family reunion this past weekend but then went right back on it the next day.  I have had fast food a few times in the last two weeks, small meals like a burrito, a taco, slices of pizza or a few chicken tenders staying within my calorie and carb count but it still made my sugar go up somewhat.  I know that I am not going back to the way I was eating before, and fast food is not going to be my norm.

At the reunion, I had a visual reminder of where I do not want to be in the next 5 to 10 years.  Most were diabetic or were morbidly obese. Others had suffered a stroke, had seizures due to alcoholism or had heart disease. A few suffered back and neck problems. Another one had partial amputations of their toes due to not taking their diabetes seriously.  One of my cousin’s sons was there and he had lost a lot of weight, so I asked about it.  I was told he had a heart attack and was diabetic.  He is barely in his 40’s.

It was too easy to get sidetracked by fast food and yes, I enjoyed it, but my waistline and health were beginning to suffer because of it. 

It took years to get my family away from processed foods consisting of frozen, canned, boxed, and anything with white sugar, high sodium, and bleached flours. We also gave up red meat and pork sticking mainly to chicken, turkey, and fish. It has only been the last 3 years or so since we started moving towards a mainly vegan or vegetarian diet.

That moment was my wake up call to go back up to what I had been working on all these years of trying to maintain a healthy life.  

I know that if I want a life that allows me to enjoy the experiences that it has to offer then my health and well-being must be at the forefront.  Otherwise, what is the point? 

I do not want to monitor my glucose constantly or take insulin every day to be my normal.  I also do not want the scare of waking up to chest pains and thinking it is a heart attack.

I worked too long to move away from those health issues and give myself a chance at living a long healthy life.

I want to be there to see my children and any future families they have grown.

It took a phone call to stop me in my tracks and put me back on that path again.

Thank you for stopping by.

Have a wonderful week!

Peace, love, good vibes, and good health to you, always!

Suzanne

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