I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about the past six years with diabetes. I was diagnosed 6 years ago this month, and all sorts of emotions come up when I think about it all. On top of that, my Grandmother who died from diabetes would have celebrated her birthday yesterday, which brings up all sorts of other emotions.
On her death-bed, my Granny told me to do anything to not get diabetes. She was young when she died, she had suffered from the disease for over 20 years of her life, and she saw me going down the same road, and did not want the same for me. When I was diagnosed, almost 10 years after her death I kept replaying that conversation, sitting beside her on her hospital bed, holding her hand, wishing that there was something that I could do.
Nearly a year ago, I thought that my life would one day be taken by the same disease, I had absolutely no hope. It seemed I was on the same path, and I knew where it was going to get me – and it wasn’t going to be an over night thing, it would be years and years of suffering the way my Grandma did. When I was at my end, is when I started to find answers, answers that were outside of every thing that I had tried, and today, I am on my way to reversing the disease that nearly took my life.
Six years ago, I was a newly married woman, with all sorts of hopes and dreams. It was a few weeks after our wedding when I was getting more and more sick, till one night where I could not fall asleep and had severe panic attacks the entire night. I had been into the hospital earlier that week, because of a kitchen burn, and a concerned nurse called me to tell me she wanted me to come in and get some tests, because something didn’t seem right with the way I had burned. I had one sleepless night, and the next morning I would go into the doctor’s office, to be told I was lucky to be alive.
I don’t remember much of that first month. I remember being completely overwhelmed with life, sitting in the emergency room as a doctor tried to explain to me that my blood had turned acidic, and that things were not looking up for me. I remember our house being a disaster, and my mother coming and taking care of everything, including writing wedding thank you cards, I remember her showing me how to use my insulin needles, something she had to do for her mother for so many years. I remember being told I could not drive, or leave the house much because my sugar would get so high, it was not safe. I remember a few close friends who cared enough to call and make sure that my husband and I were okay, and of course my mom who did what Italian moms do best – bring over food and clean the house when there is a crisis.
Nothing can prepare you for that moment when you are told you have diabetes, for me I knew what the word meant, and I knew how bad it was. My doctors were talking a mile a minute, shooting me with things, pricking my fingers, giving me instructions, taking blood samples, telling me to call my husband, and I just sat there at the end of the exam table, hoping and wishing it would all go away.
It would be five years after that, in which things finally started to get better for me. For five years, I tried nearly every thing under the sun to help my diabetes. nutritionists, doctors, medications, trainers, you name it, I had done it, and with very little results. There were times in that five years in which I really did not think I would live much longer, nights where I’d lay wide awake because I was terrified that I would die in my sleep. My husband would have to call and tell me to unlock the doors so that if something bad happened, the paramedics would have an easier time getting in the house.
Thankfully, through the years we have had a few close friends and a few family members that stuck by us, no matter what, and were there for us. Despite that, the entire thing was scary and lonely, and terrifying.
It was a little over a year ago that I was at my end with it all. My doctors did another round of tests to see if something else was wrong with me, to come up with nothing. I had severe nerve damage in my feet, causing immense pain, I had an infection in my leg that would not go away, and that a doctor told me they might have to look at partial amputation. I was severely depressed, in part because of medication they had put me on to help with the nerve damage. If it were not for my husband, and a few amazing people in our lives, I’m not sure what would have happened.
It was at the worst of it, that I came across a book that changed every thing – I read “The 30 day diabetes miracle” and all of sudden had hope, that there was an answer. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know the rest of the story – I was able to get off insulin, get off all meds, and today I’m on my way to reversing the disease that almost took my life.
Since that book I’ve read so much, researched so much and talked to
so many people about diabetes, and about curing it. Recently, I watched
“Simply Raw” , a movie about reversing diabetes. It is an amazing
documentary that follows 6 people in their journey to curing diabetes – 2
who are type 1 diabetics. After watching the movie, I decided to commit
to not only being on a healthy vegan (plant based) diet, but I have
decided that I would move to being on a completely raw vegan diet. I had
gone back and forth about it, but after watching the movie, and seeing
these people do it, people who had been on a SAD (Standard American
Diet) prior to switching to raw, I knew that I could do it as well. I
know that for me, it is another step in one day getting the news that I
am no longer a diabetic, and I know that it is completely possible,
because if anything, in the past 6 years I have learned one lesson more
than any other:
I AM WORTH IT.
I am worth going through the changes, learning new things, I’m worth feeling completely healthy. I’m worth not suffering from diabetes, not going through the pain my Grandmother went through. I’m worth ever single penny that it takes to figure out how to be healthy and how to live a life that is not complicated by disease and the effects of it. I’m doing this for myself, but I’m doing it in honor of my Granny, who I know, if she were here today, we’d be in the kitchen desperately attempting to make her Italian meals – raw & healthy. I’m doing this for my husband, who I love beyond words, who has stood by me no matter what and who loves me so much, that he has been willing to go through the ups and downs of it all, and who has become vegan despite some pretty bad food allergies. I’m doing this for the people who have stuck by me through the past 6 years – my dear friend L who stayed up talking to me on IM for hours in those beginning days, my friend Marc who encourages me in ways he probably would never know. My good friends in DC – Mary, Suzanne, and Grace who always made sure I was doing okay. I’m doing this for my Mom, so she doesn’t have to see her daughter suffer the same way her mother did, and because I know that at any moment in the past 6 years I could have called her and she would be there, no questions asked… I’m doing this for my brothers, who deserve having a pain in the ass big sister around for a long time, and who have cared and loved me through a lot of ups and downs. I’m doing this for an Aunt in Arizona who almost daily gives me the smile and the boost that I need, to know I’m doing the right thing.
Most of all, I’m doing this for myself – because in the end, you have to love yourself enough to want to make the changes to live a healthy life, and in the end I’m the only one who can decide that.
I want to thank everyone who sends e-mails, comments, tweets – your support has been so amazing. I will keep writing, not only about health, but about the importance of being vegan. And I will keep encouraging those who need to be encouraged, because you are worth making healthy changes in your life as well.