Update: Progressing well...but so ashamed

Since my diagnosis (January 18, 2012)I've finally gotten my BG under control (which I am very happy about). When I was admitted into hospital two weeks ago my BG was 512. Now, thanks to my diet changes and medications (glipzide and Metformin, however you spell them) the numbers are vacillating between 108 and 160 (and declining...today it was 63 after lunch...which was really low so I ate a few carbs too many). My body is still adjusting to the changes...and I still feel kind of weak but better nevertheless. Everyone tells me I'll feel like this until my body gets used to my "new normal".
With that said I went to my eye doctor and she said that my vision is still perfect and the slight blurriness that I'm enduring will clean itself up (just keep my blood sugars from going out of control again. That is a none issue. I fully intend on keeping them in control). Today was a really good day, my first in a few...
Yet and still I am still having issues about having diabetes.
I know that it was nothing I did wrong. I recently learned that my uncle, who is also tall and slender, is a type 2 diabetic as well (and there are other family members who have it also. So I know I'm no longer some genetic freak who just popped up with this).
Be that as it may...
The fear and shame is overwhelming. So far I managed to tell one of my friends and that is because he is living with HIV (which made it easier). He was very supportive and said that pretty soon my diagnosis will be like living with a 6th finger. Encouraging, yes. But have I internalized it? No.
I told everyone at work that I took off for a week because of the flu, not the reality. I really want to be honest but it is so difficult right now. I am scared of how people will see me. I am afraid that everyone's perception of me will change and they will go from seeing me as fit and able to someone who is feeble and needs special assistance. And the last thing I want to hear is, "Oh I am so sorry for you."
That and Diabetes scares me so much. I've not had a decent night of uninterrupted sleep in weeks. At first it was because of diabetic symptoms (the dehydration and all night urination)...now it is nightmares about Diabetes: strokes, heart attacks, amputations, gangrene, and et al. I sleep with the television on because I'm scared to sleep in the dark now.
Then mornings are the hardest for me sometime...I get up thinking about it, thinking about having to test my blood (my index finger is nothing but a pin cushion now), my adversarial relationship with food (seeing a nutritionist helped a little bit...but I am still scared of whatever goes into my mouth now. I don't even enjoy eating anymore. I just do it to stay alive now), and worrying about what it is going to be like when I go back to work (I am on temporary leave of absence). Furthermore, I hate that no matter how GOOD my BG is I'll never get to enjoy eating anything again...because I will always be one bad food choice away from a huge spike (I can't be mad at Paula Deen for having a burger. Sometimes I want to just say fuck it and have a bag of Skittles). Every year for my birthday I would buy myself a white cake with icing...I love white cake with white icing. Now it is just a memory.
All in all my biggest hurdle is not the disorder itself but my own hang ups.
Eventually I am going to have a more positive attitude about this (I am working on it)...but I just came out of my crying and moping stage. Now I'm just trying to figure out what this means for the rest of my life.
I want to be a happy, healthy, and vibrant old man someday and this just really threw a kink into my plans. I can be I just have to make all of these adjustments.
Thanks for listening.

Hi Type2Tommy! I'm sorry you're feeling stressed out and overwhelmed right now. You don't need me to tell you again that this is normal and will diminish with time, but here I am, telling you anyway. The emotional component of diabetes kinda comes in waves. Feel free to come to us to vent. We've heard it all -- and felt it all -- ourselves over the years. Shock. Denial. Anger. Resentment. Acceptance. Belly laughs. Frustration. Irritation. Burn out. Calmness. Yep. All of it. Here is a big (((hug))) from a Type 2 diagnosed approx. ten years ago.

Your BG's were a LOT higher than mine were at diagnosis (mine was more like a 12-hour fasting of 140, caught at my annual physical.) I imagine you must have felt horrible in the 500's with no clue as to what was wrong! Yikes. Of course it will take some time for you to recover from that and adjust to normal blood sugar again.

Two quick tips that work for me (we're all different so I can only speak for myself):

-- Switch up the fingers and use the sides of the fingers (about an eight of an inch in from your finger nails), not the very tips or pads. If you rotate through fingers and use the sides, it will probably hurt less, heal more quickly, and result in less scarring and loss of sensation in your fingers. I'm a classical guitarist so I baby my fingers and after ten years of testing, testing, testing they're still fine. I also press HARD on the poked site with a bit of clean paper towel after I put the blood on the test strip. I find the pressure reduces the perfusion/bruising under the skin and I get a lot less pain (maybe 3% of the residual pain I got before I figured this out.)

-- Make a list of your 25 favorite foods and go over this list with your dietician or your new diabetic buddies. You might be surprised at what you can still have, or have with small modifications in preparation. Maybe you can't eat an entire "Paula Deen donut burger" (ew!) but you can still have grilled lean ground sirloin, sliced tomato, sliced onion, pickles, mustard, etc. Maybe you'll have it "Atkins style" without the mealy white-bread bun -- use two thick leaves of lettuce for your "bun" -- or skip the high-sugar ketchup and use a little tomato paste instead, but you can still have delicious meals. Lower carb doesn't necessarily mean the days of enjoying food are over.

Hi Tommy! Don't be ashamed for being a diabetic. You did not do this to yourself and this is something you have to deal with like it or not. I was diagnosed 2-3 years ago and I still not used to the fact that I am a diabetic. You are fortunate enough that it was caught in time. Remember you have to live with this no one else. Food is still my greatest hurdle and I am still trying to refine my eating habits. I love to cook and especially bake. You just have to find a person or somewhere that does diabetic friendly cakes. Your life doesn’t have to be different because you are a diabetic. I am the only one in my family with this illness and this does not mean between my mom, dad and siblings, this mean there is absolutely no one in my family with diabetes. You are not alone in this. There are many like you out there. If you need a friend to talk about your experience, you have one right here. You take control of diabetes, don’t let diabetes control you.. :0)

What helped me the most over the years was having hobbies that didn't have anything to do with diabetes. Music and partying when I was younger may not have been the ADA/AMA recommended "activity" but I did a lot of work trying to keep my BG in line without too many (5? 7? something like that?) problems.

Later on, I sort of had a lull, got married, had a kid, gained some weight and decided to try exercising, a little bit at first and then I said "ok, you have to work harder to take Tae Kwon Do more seriously" and started working out 5-6 times/ week. I was so tired a lot of the time that just keeping an eye on my BG was all I could do and, in fact, my A1C went up. By that time, I'd had enough martial arts kool-aid that I figured "ok, that's not where you want to be..." and decided to get an insulin pump that helped me get on track diabetes-wise but, at the same time, I was still really busy between working and working out and driving my family crazy. No more problems sleeping because I was wiped out at the end of a lot of these days!

I had to move for work and started getting into running. I'm not going to win anything but I'm out on the trails all the time. Sure it's work, and it's challenging and the 13 year-old still goes "eeew" about the spandex pants but it's good for me to get moving, it helps me feel better and I like it enough that I keep my BG in line? Along the way, I replaced a lot of carbs because I noticed that I recover from runs better after a very small "sample" during a big running week I said "$%#& it" and started eating veggies all the time. It seems to carry over to non-D CBC numbers, cholesterol, BP I dunno about the other stuff, but it also seems to help the BG numbers be pretty smooth? I don't gripe about what I don't eat, I feel like I made positive changes to feel better. None of it has been fast, this whole saga was going on since maybe 2004 or 5, but it has been a good thing to have done at age 37 and 275 lbs.

Being diagnosed with diabetes is a huge shock. It was for me. I suddenly had to face my own mortality. I was gonna die! And I too thought my demise was imminent. I even filed a new will.

But what really happened turns out to have been a different form of dying, because looking back, I did die. I left behind the person I was and I became a new different (and some ways better) person. I went through stages along the way. I like to say I went through the five stages of grief from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

  • D'Nial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Going through these stages took time. Everyone is different. It is now seven years since my diagnosis. I have pretty much come to terms with things and achieved a certain amount of acceptance. But we all feel these things.

And you have to come to your own realization, that while diabetes places huge constraints on your life, it doesn't rob you of happiness, or even health and long life. I still thoroughly enjoy cooking and eating. My friends love to come over to my house for meals, but I am making things that fit in my diet. And when I had my birthday just a little while ago, I had two cakes and I had a piece of each.

Before you were diagnosed you never had absolute freedom. There are always consequences for our actions. You just have a different set of rules now. But you still can live a long, healthy and happy life.

Glad to hear that you've at least got your BG under control. Did you ever follow up with an endo about getting the c-peptide and antibody testing done? If I remember correctly, the description of how you were diagnosed was much more similar to type 1. If that's the case, the oral meds could actually be doing more harm than good.

Either way, this is not anything you did to yourself. There is clearly a family history here and, try as you might, genetics are hard to overcome. Just please make sure you get the right testing done and are receiving the appropriate treatment. If you are in fact a T1, the longer you can preserve beta cell function, the better.

Actually, I am a confirmed type two. My test said that my body is still making lots of insulin and I'm responding well to the medications and lifestyle changes.

Well, that is good to hear (that they at least did the appropriate tests). That said, it STILL is not your fault. There is so much that is not understood about diabetes in general (all types). Scientists are just beginning to isolate specific genes that play a role in the development of various forms of diabetes. It is great that what you're doing is working and that's half the battle. Also, you could not have accessed a better community of people that can help guide you through this new reality.

As for the dietary changes....yes, I am sure it's hard to have to give up some foods that you used to enjoy. But you'll probably find (like I have) that some foods just aren't worth the frustration and bad feeling you get from your BGs going wonky. You will get used to it.

Ummmm, actually there is no way to confirm type 2. There is no test. Type 2 is a diagnosis of exclusion. You may well be type 2, but you can't be "confirmed" with any test as being type 2. You can only be confirmed as being some other type (type 1, MODY, etc).

According to my tests, thus far, LADA was ruled out.

Tommy, glad to hear you have a good diagnosis. This will help you make a solid plan for managing your D. All the folks here have given you a ton of good info and support. I know, for me, the first few weeks and even months were scary, confusing and pretty overwhelming. The best thing I did to resolve that was to come here. I read posts, followed links and learned all I could about D and how to deal with it. The more I learned the better and more confident I felt about my situation. The same goes for food. At first I ate a very narrow diet. As I understood more about my BG and using insulin I began adding things and experimenting. Again, gaining knowledge. Still working on that.

As for telling others about your D. This is a very personal issue that you will have to work out for yourself. For me, I have been open from the beginning. I saw little risk and no real benefit in not being open. I want people to know. I want to educate as much as I can. I apparently have been working on this for as long as 10 years. I didn't know. I had no insurance, but I never got sick, so I never went to the doctor. Now, just over a year after my diagnosis, my vision is almost normal, and I am beginning to get some feeling back in my hands and feet. I want everyone I know, to understand the signs of D. I want them to know I am there if they too get this diagnosis. Get comfortable with your diagnosis. Get a feel for what it means to you. Then decide the who, what and how of sharing it with those around you.

"wonky"...I really like that word MyBustedPancreas! Consider it added to my vocabulary.

A little indulgence is good, it helps with the non-indulgence days LOL Don't be ashamed, scared, you just have an improperly functioning pancreas that has to be looked after. It could have been eyes, or heart or kidneys, yours is your pancreas. Is all.