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The Diagnosis, or How I Sobbed My Way Through the San Fernando Valley

I’ve known Dr. Jeff Galpin for a very long time. He’s only five years my senior and he was a young guy when we met. Hint: Neither of us is young anymore. Over the years, Dr. Galpin had the good sense not to ride me about my weight. He knew I owned a mirror and probably didn’t need to be told that I should lose weight. His concern was more about my health — at any weight.

diabetesDr. Galpin loves blood tests, so much so that I suspect he was a vampire in a former life. Years ago, we made a deal…I’d let him take blood as long as he didn’t find anything he couldn’t fix. For 25 years, he held up his end of the bargain. “I’m checking to see if you’re diabetic…yet,” he would say. Next appointment, “No, not yet!” I had dodged another bullet.

Then about the same time as the world was waiting for Y2K, my husband and I took our son on a trip to Japan. It was during that trip that I experienced an unending, unquenchable thirst. I thought it was the weather. I thought it was the food. It wasn’t.  By the time we got home, I thought, “This is weird, I can’t feel my toes.”  Uh oh.  Next time I saw Galpin I told him, “I’m diabetic.” He looked at the test results and said, “You’re right.”

What followed was an epic sobfest in the doctor’s office. How could I let this happen? This is all my fault! What am I going to do? I still have a young kid and I’m not done with him yet! Twenty minutes and a box of Kleenex later, I started to catch my breath. “You’re going to learn what to do and you’re going to be healthier than you’ve ever been,” the doctor said.  

Hey, I can do this, I thought. I just won’t eat sweets. How hard could that be? So I started to read up on type 2 diabetes. These were the days before everybody and his uncle had the disease and before the Internet exploded with all sorts of information. No sweets. Check.  Read labels. Check. Limit carbs. WHAT? I LOVE carbs! If you could put carbs on a plate. I’d eat them. So I have to limit sugar AND other carbohydrates? And what, have no fun at all? Not fair!  Boy, was I PO’d. And now I have to do WHAT?  Exercise? Are you KIDDING me?

The medication was next. It took some time for the doc to get the right combo and to get my glucose level going in the right direction. Not easy, since I didn’t know an A1C from a hole in the wall. And yeah, my husband and I joined a gym. My husband worked out like a son of a gun three days a week and took karate two days a week – and still does to this day – so I had no excuse not to get my behind in gear. I went kicking and screaming, but I went. Predictably, it started out as one step forward, two steps back. I just had to find a way to have more ups than downs, more successes than failures. The search lasted ten long years.  (Evidently, I’m a slow learner!) We’ll talk about that next time! Meantime, stay well!

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