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August 30, 2014
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My Year of Living Dangerously


I am going to begin this, my very first blog post here, with a confession.
I have fallen off the wagon.
Not the booze wagon; even before my type 2 diagnosis in February 2006, my drinky drink days were mostly behind me. (College was fun, from what I remember.) No, the wagon I have fallen off of is the healthy living, weight-losing, diabetic-under-control wagon.
When I was diagnosed last year, my a1c was hovering above 10, and I was about 35 pounds overweight. I was also terrified. I was 38 years old, with that big number (let's call it "thirty-ten") lurking in the near future. My own father died at the age of fifty-one after about twenty years of poorly managed diabetes. I was determined that this wouldn't be me.
After trying a variety of drugs, my doctor settled on metformin for my blood sugar, which made me sick, and phentermine for dieting, which made me skinny and jumpy. I said a tearful goodbye to the foods that I loved and a tentative hello to a new way of eating that wasn't much fun but likewise wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
By the end of the summer, I had lost all but about five of the pounds I was trying to lose. My A1C was down below 7, and I was feeling happy and healthy.
And then, in August, I got a book deal for a memoir that was only about thirty percent written. It was good news, of course, but it meant a lot of writing ahead of me, and lots of traveling and celebrating as well.
For the next five months, I hunkered down to finish the book, and the old bad habits that I had shaken during the summer slowly crept back into my life.
"You don't have time to exercise," said the bad habits. "You should sit at your computer and write, and perhaps have a snack while you do so. Isn't that better?"
Yeah. Cut to my last doctor's visit, about a week ago. My weight is back up almost twenty pounds, and my A1C is over 8. All of those new clothes I bought last fall for my first media event back in December? Trying to put them on made for a sad, sad sight. I felt like the girl in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when she turned into a blueberry. Or perhaps Jabba the Hutt.
So what went wrong?
I think that in addition to the writerly lifestyle of sloth I slipped into as I finished the book, I also began to trust my meds more and monitor my blood sugar less. I suppose I must have figured that at the highest permissible dosage of metformin (which does NOT make you feel extra swell, so don't let anyone tell you differently), I thought I could ease up on the diet and exercise. I figured that suffering through the fun effects of my meds was a sort of penance that I was paying, one that would allow for the occasional pasta bowl or ice cream sandwich. I figured wrong, as just about any other diabetic not suffering from some kind of head injury or clinical delusion could have told me.
So this is probably a good time for me to begin blogging about diabetes again, since I have gone from a success story to a cautionary tale. Some of the folks who'll be blogging here at dLife will no doubt be doing so from the professional and maybe even medical perspective of "Person Who Knows Stuff".
Look for me to cover the "Guy Who Learns Everything the Hard Way" beat. Now if you'll excuse me, there's a salad and a treadmill calling my name. And they don't sound especially friendly.

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Megan Holmes
Megan Holmes Megan was diagnosed in 2009 with Type I. As an RN, she was familiar with the medical side of her diagnosis; learning to be a good patient on the other hand, was and continues to be the challenge of her day to day life.   (Read More)
Michelle Kowalski
Michelle Kowalski Michelle Kowalski, a writer, editor and photography hobbiest living in Phoenix, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February 2005. In January 2008, as part of her quest to start on an insulin pump, Michelle learned that she actually has type 1 diabetes.   (Read More)
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