Have you ever heard that song by Tim McGraw, “Live Like You were Dying”? Today, it’s personal. It’s real. I found out Monday that I’m a diabetic with high blood pressure. Now, there’s nothing I want more than to reverse diabetes and high blood pressure.
In the past, I’ve implemented a “no special occasion” rule ( meaning every single day is special) and decided to go for it now (stop waiting for conditions to be right). Eat the cake. Dance like no one is watching. Enjoy life. Laugh. Love. Tell people you love them every single chance you get. Be more tolerant of people because you don’t know their story. But I was never actually in harm’s way.
Monday, I went to the doctor for my annual physical. Only it’s been more like a year and a half because of all the health issues that happened to me in the fall. The 3-month period and the removal of my lady parts who were trying to kill me. I thought I was finally out of the proverbial health woods. I should have known better.
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I spent 3 months sitting during my last recovery. I’ve been eating like there were no consequences. Pop. Yes, please. Fast food. Yep. Juice. Yep. Late night snacks. Hell yeah. Insomnia makes you hungry. I’m joking but it’s really not funny.
My doctor gave me a whole lot of bad news this week. Not the “you need to eat better and work out”, usual news they give everyone. Nope, I got the “you are severely sick; morbidly obese, extremely diabetic, your blood pressure is so high you could stroke out at any moment and oh yeah, your cholesterol is up too” news. I was shocked because how can you be prepared for that kind of news.
Maybe it doesn’t sound too scary to you. Let me explain. My sugar numbers are twice what they should be. I am a diabetic and I wasn’t on Sunday. My blood pressure was 200/130. I cried. I sobbed in my doctor’s office because how did I get here? How did I ignore my body so much that it could, quite frankly, kill me? Literally, I could die. I might be crying while writing this post. My entire life has changed this week. I have a new perspective on life.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all. My doctor and I made a plan. Dying is not an option that I want to consider. All of this is reversible. It’s a lot of hard work, planning, completely overhauling my diet and lifestyle but it’s not optional. I have a husband and two daughters who love me and depend on me and I made a promise to be here for them. My goal is 103 years old. This was never part of the plan. I can see so clearly now what is important to me…my family.
I’ve never had a healthy relationship with food or my body. Food is basically my arch nemesis and my body has taken a beating over the years. I was stupid when I was young and I starved myself. I punished my body.
READ ALSO: Burden of Being a Fat Woman
I realized that I could live with being fat a long time ago because perfection and I have a longstanding struggle and to not let it go was going to kill me. Maybe I don’t love being overweight but I knew eating disorders were off the table. Maybe you think there are more options but when your eating is as disordered as mine, it’s like being an alcoholic. You are eating disordered for life. You have to make a choice every morning to not act upon it.
Now, I’m having to make a choice every single day to commit to staying alive. My goal is to get healthy and reverse it all but what damage is it doing while I’m trying to lower my sugar and my blood pressure? I’m so scared. I’ve been walking around in a funk trying to get my bearings since they told me. It’s knocked me off my axis.
“You’re diabetic…have high blood pressure and are morbidly obese”
If you could have seen my doctor’s face, you would have seen the severity of my situation. I cried because did I actually let bad food choices rob my children of their mother? I have a responsibility and a profound want to be here for as much of their lives as I can. I don’t want to let them down. That’s the last thing I ever wanted to do.
And the Big Guy, I made a commitment to him to love him for the rest of our lives. We’ve only had 20 years. It’s not enough. I’m terrified right now. I feel overwhelmed. But I’m not giving up. I’m doing everything I can to right this wrong.
I always put myself last. I remember every few years to make myself a priority but then it falls to the wayside. Everyone else gets their dental appointments, physicals and eye appointments. I make sure to meet everyone’s needs but my own. I put myself on the back burner because my job is to take care of them.
“It’s all reversible. You don’t have to be a diabetic or have high blood pressure. But you’ll have to make serious changes.”
I get a physical every year, but it’s been a year and a half. Either something came up for the kids, or I was dealing with the hysterectomy saga or we had someplace to be or something to do or finances were tight. Every time, I went to the bottom of the list by my own doing and now, I have to focus on me. No more excuses.
I have to let things go. The most important thing right now is my health and my family. Nothing else matters. I want to live more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my entire life. Food is fuel to me now and there is no food worth dying for. If I have to eat sandpaper for the rest of my life, I will. If I have to give up sweets, eating out, pop, juice, bread and coffee, I will. If I have to work out every day for the rest of my life, I will.
If you have any diabetic friendly recipes that don’t taste like sandpaper, I will take them. If you have prayers to spare, I’ll take them too. Please, remember to take care of yourselves because if you don’t…you might not be there to take care of the people you love the most.
My family, the Big Guy, Bella and Gabs, they are my reasons for everything including taking care of myself. They are worth living for. I forgot that. I was so busy putting everyone else first that I forgot about me. Don’t forget about you.