Sunday, February 22, 2015

T2 - Judgement Day

             Back in July 2012, I was called by my doctor to discuss some abnormalities in my blood tests. When I reached his office, he explained to me that my fasting sugar was higher than normal and wanted me to undergo some more tests. I asked him by how much was my sugar high ? He said, very high. At least 4 times the normal fasting glucose number. That was a surprise to me. He said, "I had crossed the diabetic range by a huge margin and he needs to confirm if I had Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes."   
             Hearing this was a huge blow to me. I was not prepared for this at all. I kept asking myself where did I go wrong ? I was eating healthy, I was eating home cooked meals, I was not overweight, I was running regularly, I show no symptoms of diabetes, then why these results ? and why me ? 
            My dad was a diabetic. He passed away in 2003. I was aware of the complications he had to suffer being a diabetic. I had tears right in front of the doctor and nurse. I told the doctor, "I had finished a Half marathon with a good timing just weeks before the blood tests. how can I have high sugar ?" (apart from sugar, the tests showed that I had very high Cholesterol and Fats as well). 
He checked my past records and said : 
"You drink ?   No
You smoke?  No
Red Meat ?   No
overweight ? No.
Then I guess it must be genetic. "

That's how I learnt that I was a diabetic. Now it was just a matter of needles or pills for the rest of my life.

           With tears still in my eyes, I told him that I was prepared to be diabetic after 20 years and was ready to accept "genetic" as an answer, But I was not ready to hear this at a young age of 29. Just 2 days ago, my wife's OBGYN confirmed that she was 2 months pregnant. That was a fascinating news for both of us and now I have to deal with this terrible news.  The doctor was very kind and told me that I was better off than some of his other patients that he had to break similar bad news to. He said, "I had a 17 year old boy yesterday who we found out was a type 1 diabetic. You are already living a healthy life. You just need to adjust your diet and you can lead a very healthy life without any complications." He referred me to a nutritionist, prescribed some pills, assured me that I will be fit to run my next marathon if I promised to take the medications regularly and changed my lifestyle.
           With that shock, I let the nurse draw some more blood and I left the doctor's office. Telling this news to my wife was the most difficult task ahead of me. And how do I tell this to my mother ? She has already experienced the horror of losing her husband to diabetes. 
            My wife was patiently sitting at the waiting lounge of the doctor's office. I told her to get ready to leave. As we exited the doctor's office, I told her about my condition. She was brave enough to accept it and promised to help me all the way till I feel better. Imagine how a 24 year old girl will feel when she hears that her husband is diabetic. That too after just 3 years of happily married life and just a few days after her OBGyn tells us that she is 2 months pregnant. We drove home and I went to bed straight away. 
             I was very angry at myself that I let this happen to me. I was so aware of this disease and its family history, still I neglected the symptoms. In fact, when I looked back a few months, I started to realize that I had the typical symptoms but I ignored them saying to myself, "I am not old enough to get diabetes".  I was so wrong. Many times, I woke up at night to take a leak, right after that I drank 2 glasses of water before I went to sleep. I was always hungry and was ready to eat anything in front of me. My teeth were turning yellow, gums turning black, any cuts during shaving would turn black even after healing, My legs were always dry and cracked. I needed to apply moisturizer cream almost daily. If you google symptoms of diabetes, you will see all of this. I was foolish to ignore them and now I was paying the price. 
            Like a video game, I though of resetting my life,  but too bad, we only have one life and I had ruined it. I kept praying that let the next blood reports bring some better news. I was ready to give up sugar and sugar based food items. The doctor had said, "Change your diet, eat more greens and whole grains". Well, I was already doing that. What more am I supposed to do ? I just hoped that I don't have to rely on insulin injections to keep my sugar levels under control. The next blood results were out. In the note, the doctor said, "Good news. No sign of Type 1 diabetes". 

July 2012 Numbers :

Fasting BG      : 256    (Range 65-100)
A1C             : 11.6   (Range 4.0-5.9)

BG = Blood Glucose 

             That's how my life changed. Ask any doctor or diabetic what these numbers mean to them and you will know how bad my health condition was. 

Its been more than 2 years after this incident now. I have a very cute son, understanding wife, supporting family and friends, am maintaining a healthy weight, and still kicking' asphalt when I am on the road for a run. After being diagnosed with T2, my marathon timings have improved for every run. Diabetes has taught me to respect my body, enjoy life and be happy as there is nothing more precious than seeing yourself and your family happy and healthy. I was never a smoker, drinker or obese. Yet, I managed to become diabetic. I don't know if I should blame my genes or myself for it. Instead of playing this blame game, I am very grateful that I know my weakness right now and I deal with it so that this doesn't go out of control the next time. Many Indians just ignore something as simple as a routine blood test. I am happy I did a test and found about this early. Knowledge is power.You study the enemy, find out its weak points and attack it. I knew the numbers that I needed to bring them down. 
        Every morning started with eating a mouthful of fenugreek seeds. Breakfast had blueberries and steel cut oats. Lunch and dinner was home cooked with half the portions than my usual consumption. Lunch and dinner now included a salad. I gave up soda, sweets, bread, potato and all the oily stuff. My doctor had gifted me a glucose meter (worst gift I have ever received). I kept notes of what I ate and what were my sugar levels after 2 hours. This helped me identify food stuffs that I could eat without any problems and which foods to avoid. Turned out that apart from desserts, rice and potatoes were my biggest enemies. I now avoid eating meals that only consist of rice or potato. Apart from the daily prick on my finger, I had to undergo a comprehensive blood test every 3 months to check my cholesterol and A1C. I was showing good progress, the bad numbers were coming down. The results kept motivating me. finally, before heading back to India, my test results were pretty close to normal. My Doctor proudly said, "You are my healthiest patient in the office right now :)"

July 2014 Numbers : 
Fasting BG      : 87    (Range 65-100)
A1C             : 6.0   (Range 4.0-5.9)              
Here is a very funny way to describe a diabetic. 
Being a diabetic is like living with a King Cobra. As long as you keep its mouth shut, he is your friend. The moment you let it loose, it will come and bite you.

My life has definitely changed with this incident. But that does not mean that I have to live a dull life. I continue to savor delicacies prepared by my lovely wife. I continue to enjoy my Pav Bhaji, Misal Pav, Bhel, Biryani. In fact, since I know my enemies, I can come prepared to fight them before every meal. I am very close to reversing all the symptoms of diabetes that I had. It has also taught me to be polite and not get angry or aggressive under any situation as stress makes your sugar levels spike. Ask me. I have tested my sugar levels before and after I getting angry with a BG Meter and I confirm that losing your temper is as bad as eating 3 cups of ice cream. So for the rest of my life, I have to listen to my body, be a good husband, dad, son and also be friends with this king cobra. 

If you don't know me and have stumbled upon this blog, I hope I am an inspiration to you and all your diabetic friends. If you know me in person, feel proud that your friend has not given up and is constantly pushing the limits to make himself and you feel even more proud. Every time you get into a conversation about running, cycling or diabetes, don't forget to mention that you have a sweet friend who runs marathons like a piece of cake :)

1 comment:

  1. Thats very inspiring Nishad. Im proud that I know you. I was also diagnosed with T2 last year but keeping my sugar levels under control. I sometimes feel that getting diagnosed with diabetes in young age is blessing in disguise as it gives us the opportunity to understand our body better right from the start. Keep it up, very inspiring writing...

    I just happened to read it while looking for something else which was totally unrelated but Im happy that i read it. Take care, have fun and keep enjoying life! ;-)