I am a 34 year old wife of a medical student, mom to a beautiful 2 1/2 year old daughter, step-mom to an amazing 15 year old step-daughter, AVP/ Senior Trust Officer for one of the nation’s 3 largest banks, CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of a household and a very Busy Woman With Diabetes Type 2 (BWWD2).
I was born in Dallas, Texas and graduated from a high school there. As a child, I was always active. Sports tended to be “my thing”. Weight was never an issue for me growing up.
I attended a small (HAH!) college on the Brazos river in Austin, Texas. While obtaining my 4 1/2 year degree in Kinesiology (exercise science; again, HAH!) I developed the keen skills of not exercising, eating bad food and drinking beer. Upon graduation, my terrible, horrible, absolutely-no-good parents gave me NO CHOICE other than to “GET A JOB” (I believe those were their exact words). Side note: my parents divorced when I was 7 and this is truly the ONLY thing I can recall them EVER agreeing on! So, off to Houston, Texas I moved. I got a job in a cubicle (=sitting for 8 hours a day) and continued to hone my skills of eating bad food and drinking beer. Needless to say, without a 40 acre campus to trudge across, I gained 80 pounds over 3 years and topped out at 250 lbs.
In the midst of my packing-on-the-pounds, I met the most wonderful man on the planet. Really. Mr. Man as I will call him, became my very best friend, my most favorite person EVER! That was 9 years ago. We were happy. I was happy. I had found who God had designed for me, he loved me for me and he thought I was a real hottie. I had ZERO reason to change my habits and lose weight. Or so I thought.
Every year during my annual OB/Gyn visit with Dr. Thayer (the BEST OB/Gyn in Houston), she would say, “TDD (The Dishing Diabetic), I need you to lose weight.” I would always nod and say, “I know.” She would recommend Weight Watchers and I would promise to start. Then another 12 months would go by. The year I showed up with an engagement ring, she laid it on a bit thicker. “TDD, you are getting married and you will want to have children. Getting pregnant at this weight would not be healthy for you or a baby,” she said. Again, promises, promises. I got married at my highest weight and knew that Mr. Man thought I was the most beautiful woman in the world that amazing night in March 2003.
August 2004 – Mr. Man announced he needed to go to medical school. Sheer relief for me. Yes, relief. I had encouraged this every since we met. I knew he had applied right out of college. I knew this was the only career he would ever want and I knew there was a box of textbooks in the back of his closet that he had never thrown out because he had never thrown out the hope. Little did I know, this announcement would be the beginning of the most unbelievable, heart wrenching, gut wrenching, exhausting, exhiliarating, joyful, nerve racking, lonely, loving, growing chapters of my life-to-date.
Forces collided and changes came in January 2005. I was done. Done with being fat. Done with the excuses. Done with wondering if I was 250 lbs at 28, where would I be at 38? And, Dr. Thayer was right, I wanted children. On 1/4/05 I had one last major pig out (food-of-choice: Double Dave’s pepperoni pizza rolls) and life as I knew it turned upside down! I joined Weight Watchers (an at work group) and began a work out program. A very dear friend who was also a very fit friend gave me these words of advice, “take your bags, keys, etc. to the the elliptical machine with you. The minute you finish, reward your self with leaving. Do not do anything else; get on the machine, work out, get off the machine, go home.” She went on the say that once exercise began to become something more postive than the-most-brutal-punishment-ever-inflicted-upon-my-body, I could begin to add weights, classes, etc. I stuck to my new program. I consistently lost a little bit of weight (.5-1.5lbs/week) for 18 months.
Back to Mr. Man. While I restructured my body, he restructured his career. He studied. He took classes. He took prep classes. He worked. He shadowed multiple physicians. And, oh yeah, he took the MCAT. Then he applied. He interviewed. And on one of my business trips to Miami (hopefully also a celebratory trip), he found out that did not get into any of the schools he interviewed with. That was February of 2006. That is the lowest point I can remember. I could not help the person I loved most. I had to sit in my front row seat and watch him hurt a hurt that knows no definition. I would actually wake up crying. The road had run out, there were infinite directions in which to turn and no guide to point us along the “right” one. Mr. Man learned about a one year program at the osteopathic medical school in Fort Worth, Texas where if he completed that year with a 3.5 GPA he would automatically be admitted to the medical school. He applied. He was accepted. And in 1 month’s time we moved to Fort Worth. That was May 2006. We also got pregnant that month. 3 months later I quit my job (I traveled the lower 48 every week at the time) and started a new one. This period could be called The Era of Insanity. By June of 2006 I had lost 93lbs with Weight Watchers and exercise. I tried to get that last 7 lbs – I mean, who doesnt like round numbers, right? – but my unborn daughter had other plans (like growing).
My blood tests at 5 months of pregnancy indicated I needed further blood glucose testing. These miserable tests indicated that I had borderline gestational diabetes. My OB/Gyn, Dr. Quist (the best OB/Gyn in Fort Worth), explained that although I was borderline at that time, I would most likely develop gestational diabetes later in my pregnancy as a result of the placenta growing and therefore putting off more insulin. GREAT! Fan-freaking-tastic! It is the beginning of October and you tell me no sugar, no flour, no potatoes or rice, and limited fruit thoughout the next 4 months, better known as THE HOLIDAYS, or The Season of EATING to me!!!
Let the Googling begin. We Googled “gestational diabetes” and read everything we could get our hands on. 2 discoveries stuck with me: 1) it is critical to your unborn child’s development to manage your diabetes and 2) 1-in-3 women with gestational diabetes will develop type II diabetes later on. Good thing only gaining 29 lbs with pregnancy and working out every day of my pregnancy would take care of both of those things, right? WRONG!
Again, back to Mr. Man. He plugged away at school. He was happy. I was happy. He re-applied to medical schools. He interviewed again. Our beautiful angel arrived on 2/10/07 and on 2/14/07 he again, did not get in. The ultimate high and the ultimate low in just 4 day’s time. But wait! This time there was a safety net. We loved Fort Worth and the school there and he had the 3.5 GPA he needed AND he was on 2 waiting lists for other programs.
April 2007 – he is accepted to Texas Tech Medical School in Lubbock, Texas. This was his 1st choice as it would bring us within 2 hours of his daughter, my amazing step-daughter. Sweet Relief!
July 2007 – We move to Lubbock.
August 2007 – We move into our 1st home.
August 2007 – Mr. Man starts school.
May 2008 – I quit my job and started new one. Mr. Man being in medical school and the ache associated with being away from him and our daughter 2-3 days every week ended the days of traveling for a career.
July 2008 – I applied for the maximum life insurance offered through my employer. If anything happens to me, Mr. Man will need it. Just think SCHOOL LOANS! Late that month I received a declination of coverage letter and a copy of my blood work. Mr. Man looked over it and said (almost word-for-word), “Your A1c is high, your fasting blood glucose is high and your glycosylated hemoglobin is elevated. This makes it look like you have diabetes. This doesn’t make any sense.” Hmmmmm, what was that about 1-in-3 women with gestational diabetes develop diabetes type 2?
Ok, I may have failed to mention one critical piece of information. Between May 2007 when I was within 15 lbs of my pre-pregnancy weight and July 2008 I gained 50lbs. Yep, that’s right, folks, I gained 50 lbs in 14 months. Apparently, I do not like change. That 14 months encompassed a new baby, a move, post partum depression, a new job and far less time with Mr. Man, my absolute best friend in the world. So, Lexapro helped with the PPD and Blue Bell (the BEST ice cream in the WORLD) helped with all the rest, including the weight gain.
Following the declination from the insurance provider, I had a routine visit my OB/Gyn, Dr. Farooqi (the best OB/Gyn in Lubbock), and I shared the letter and lab work results with her. She sent me for more blood work. My fasting glucose came back in the 120’s. She referred me to Dr. Bakdash (my wonderful and ‘the best’ endocrinologist anywhere) who saw me on October 1st. Based on my fasting glucose that day of 145, he made it official. I had type II diabetes. This was the first day of the rest of my life as a BWWD2!
October 2007-January 2008 was one giant pity party!! Sure, I went to the nutritionist. I started to exercise (frequency of which left something lacking). I “cut down” on sugar, which is always 1st on the invite list for my pity parties. Result: A1c went up 1 whole point = very unhappy endocrinologist. I forgot to mention that I am absolutely adamant about NOT going on medication. I mean DEFIANT! So, what’s a BWWD2 to do?
Well, I’ll tell ya! A BWWD2 is to check her blood sugar 4-5 times a day, work out 5-6 times a week, shop healthy, cook healthy, eat healthy, be a wife, be a med student’s wife, be a mother, be a step-mother, be a worker, lose weight, count calories, count fat, count carbs, count fiber…… GO ABSOLUTELY FREAKING INSANE!! I DO NOT have time for diabetes type II.
Let me say that one more time, I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR DIABETES TYPE II!!!
The only thing I am more passionate about than not having time for diabetes type II is that this disease absolutley has to be managed. PERIOD. No ifs, ands, or buts! This is because the downside to not managing your diabetes is things like blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, hypertension, foot ulcers, amputations, etc. The upside to successfully managing your diabetes II is NONE OF THOSE THINGS. I am convinced that many Busy Women With Diabetes II (BWWD2) do not have control over their blood sugar because of the invisibility of the disease (in the early stanges, until it is too late), the lack of education, the time required to do the research and the emotional frustration that accompanies every single diagnosis of diabetes type 2 for a busy woman.
I hope this blog takes on a life of it’s own and serves to help BWWD2 successfully manage their diabetes type II with very little effort, if any. Sure, sure….. you have to actually physically do the working out thing; but, I will use this blog to pour out all the recipes, common stories, food trivia, health trivia and emotional support that took up so much of my time and therefore, save you the time and frustration!
Ok, so maybe some of it was worth it. I am down 48 lbs (as of 7/30/09) and my A1c is 6.1 (down from 7.2 on 1/30/09). I have about 37 lbs to go and the goal of an A1c in the 5’s.
We (empahsis on WE) are also half way through med school. Instead of looking down the barrel at 8 years of this saga, we can now say 6!! Woo hoo!
I am still and will always be a BWWD2. If I have learned anything from the past 5 years it is this: No matter how tall the obstacle, God will always give you a ladder. They key is not being afraid of heights. I will now attempt to add to my regular busy-ness the routine contribution to this blog. I hope The Diabetic Dish will at least be part of the ladder to the successful managment of blood glucose by all BWWD2!!