As Craig and I drove back to Los Angeles, our little yellow bug flying down the freeway while the sun set on a truly extraordinary day, we reflected on what we had just witnessed. Craig’s friend since junior high had just woken up from his medically induced coma a couple of days earlier and we had decided to make the five hour drive up to see him. It was the least we could do to show how much he meant to us and to show support as he faces, what is sure to be a long, recovery.
The thing that I really wanted to talk about so that I would internalize it was his…hope. Honestly, this man is one of the most joyful and gregarious people I’ve ever met, but he had just gotten out of a coma. So, I expected, as I think most would, for him to be a little down or fearful or defeated. What we got when we arrived was…in no uncertain terms…hope and gratitude. Not the false kind that often happens when you’re trying to mask the fear and uncertainty of a situation like this. But, just pure “I’m grateful to be a live,” hope.
Sitting in the car, I commented that I wasn’t feeling well and hadn’t been all day. But, I’m very empathic and so I just wrote it off as being in a hospital around people going through serious illness. That’s it, I was just feeling what they were feeling. I’ve noticed that I haven’t been feeling well a lot lately but have been chalking it up to the state of the world.
Turns out it was more.
The next morning, I woke up and the headache that I had had for about week was still there and my vision was blurry. It made it very difficult to type and at that moment I just got annoyed. I remembered that my doctor had called and left a message (which I didn’t think anything about because I had gone in for my yearly physical and knew she wanted to see me about the results) so to distract myself, I listened to the message.
The nurse on the other end sounded stern when she said “the doctor needs you to come in immediately.” “Immediately” I thought. Ok. So, I called to make an appointment. The nurse on the other end of the call said that I needed to come in as soon as possible because my blood sugar levels were off. So, I made the appointment for as soon as I could get there and I hopped in my car.
As I was driving, all these fear-filled thoughts were going through my brain. Then, I remembered that the last time I had test results come in, the nurse made it sound like an emergency and when I got there, it was just to tell me about my results, which were totally fine. So, I calmed down and posted a pic on Instagram thinking I would be able to post soon after about the “alarmist nurse” at my doctor’s office.
I went up to the doctor’s office and sat in the cold and sterile room willing the warm and friendly doctor to come in quickly. That did not happen. I love my doctor, but I think the reason is because she spends such gentle time explaining and reassuring me when I am there and she obviously does that for everyone because it takes FOREVER for her to get to you when you’re there. But, I digress.
She finally arrived and told me that my blood sugar levels were twice the max amount. I asked her what that meant and she told me I have type 2 Diabetes. The words didn’t really sink in as she started to explain to me that I would have to be on medication and take my blood sugar levels three times a day and stop eating processed foods, and, and, and… a total life-style change.
OK. I can do this.
As I sat on the crinkly paper on the examination table, listening to the doctor and trying to pay attention, I had a flash back to the day before as Craig’s friend talked about these little spongy tools the therapists gave him so he could retrain his hand to write. WRITE! Such a simple act that this grown man in his 40s (not 80s, 90s or even 70s, 40S!) has to re-learn to do. As I remembered watching him explain to me with such hope and wonder how these little tools were a certain miracle to him as he begins his recovery, I thought…
“if he can face that with humility and a child-like excitement at the fact that he will get to write again, I can certainly take on diabetes.” And, so, I left the doctors office on a mission.
While driving home, fear crept in and I kept reminding myself of the day before and feeling that energy. And, I realized that “working with what you’ve got is not the same as accepting it.” As I parked my car, I decided to take the day off and kind of throw myself a self-care (or some might call it a little pitty) party. But, I wasn’t hurting anyone and I knew I needed time to process. So, I made the decision that I would face my diagnosis tomorrow.
Well, today is tomorrow and I am facing it head on. I am a giant believer in manifestation, good and bad. And, man did I manifest the beeeeeep out of this disease. So, it is my job to acknowledge that and work from where I’m at and move toward the life and body I want.
There is some shame that I’m dealing with right now because this is a totally preventable disease. But, living into that shame will only make it worse which is why I’m choosing to blog about it. Not taking care of my body was a mistake, but if I can’t own up to my mistakes, I can never remedy them and make it better now and in the future.
To all of you who saw my post on social media, I apologize. I thought I was going to laughingly be able to say that my doctor’s office is full of alarmist which is better than the alternative when dealing with medical issues. I was not expecting to get a life-changing, potentially deadly diagnosis and it took me a minute to process. I appreciate all of your posts, texts, emails and calls.
Please know that I am choosing to face this disease (one that 1 in 3 people in the US will be diagnosed with BTW so I’m not alone) with hope not fear because there is hope in knowing and I’m actually really excited about the idea of feeling better and not having all these symptoms that I thought were just a natural part of getting older.
On that note, I want to leave you with two things. (1) Get yourself tested if you are feeling any of the symptoms. I wrote off my headaches as allergies or maybe developing migraines, my low-energy to getting older, my mood swings to hanger or pre-menopause…the list goes on and on. They say most people with this disease will never be diagnosed. Please don’t be one of them. It’s better to know you have it so you can do something about it than deny it like I did and really scare your doctor. LOL. And, (2) we really do have a choice in how we deal with the adversity that comes into our lives. Seeing Craig’s friend the day before my diagnosis was such a gift. His spirit of hope just penetrated my system without him even realizing it. He literally almost died and has a really long road ahead of him. He could have easily thrown in the towel or been a super cranky pants negative nilly, but he was the exact opposite and not because he was trying to “fake it till you make it.”
His attitude was one of hope and acknowledgment. Understanding but not accepting it as his reality. That’s hope. Or, what I like to call “practical positivity.” Not burying your head in the sand, but recognizing what’s happening and making a goal of positive change and then moving toward it.
I always say “you can go to sad/angry/negative (fill in the blank) town, you just can’t build a house and stay there. We have to acknowledge the things we don’t want in our lives and then identify where we want to go and go there. I acknowledge that this diagnosis is bad but I sure as hell am not going to live in that. I have identified my version of the good and I am (along with my doctor) devising a plan to get there.
I love you all. Thank you for your support. I hope this blog puts those of you who were concerned yesterday’s minds at ease.
With all my creativity,