Listen to Your Body
I generally don’t wear a lot of jewelry. And yet my wife bought me a bracelet for Christmas two years ago. It was a thin, black silicone band with white print on its face. It read, “Type 2 Diabetic.” The bracelet quickly became my label, an outward manifestation of an internal complication.
Unfortunately, it took me a long while to recognize the symptoms. I had been really tired, even finding myself nodding off at my desk during lunch (the first warning sign, which I ignored). I’d been getting bad dry mouth and thirst for a couple months (the second warning sign I missed) and woke up multiple times during the night to drink water and go to the bathroom (warning sign No. 3).
After a doctor appointment, where I divulged all of these pesky health issues, I was diagnosed with diabetes. Apparently my body had known I had type 2 diabetes for some time.
I learned a lot that day in 2015. I learned about diabetes. I learned not to ignore my body. I learned the fastest route to the emergency room. And by the end of the night, I learned I was going to be OK. (Later, I also learned that my insurance doesn’t cover as much of an ER visit as I’d thought.)
Three months later, my blood glucose had improved, as had my diet. Today, I try to watch what I eat by adding more veggies and eliminating excess carbs. I take meds every day, including a pill to tell my body how to process glucose, and I prick my finger on a regular basis.
I’ve made new friends: an endocrinologist, a nutritionist, and an education specialist. I’ve built on established relationships with people, such as my primary care physician, my eye doctor, and the pharmacist at CVS.
Now that I know what to look for and have more knowledge, I have become more aware of what is happening to me. One of the things I was told to remember was that the complications from not managing diabetes well can cause damage. It’s about feet, eyes, and kidneys on top of blood glucose. But as long as you know what to monitor and what to look for, you can live with it safely. I am grateful my doctor spotted my high blood glucose, and I kick myself for ignoring my body when it was essentially screaming at me. I won’t make that mistake again.
Sean McQueeney, 37, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes two years ago. Today, he lives with his wife and 10-year-old son in Savannah, Georgia, where he works at an art college. In his spare time, he reads, roots for the Mets, and digs through crates looking for vinyl.
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