Diagnosis Stories, Guest Posts

Guest Post: Newly Diagnosed

A guest post by Craig Thiebaud who recently got diagnosed with diabetes. He has a culinary degree from the International Culinary Center, and I certainly hope this won’t be his only post on The Type 2 Experience. —Bea

My life with Diabetes

I recently broke my foot and it was such a bad break that surgery was scheduled.  Already mad at myself for clumsily falling down a couple stairs, I had to do a myriad of things to get ready for the surgery…including a blood test.  The next day, I had to get x-rays and the results of my blood work so I went to the doctor for the third consecutive day.  To my shock, my blood work was a shambles.  My A1-C was 8.3, I had high cholesterol, and my blood sugars were through the roof.  Then, I was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The doctor went through all the things I should avoid, the medicine I should take, the home monitoring system, etc.  It was all a blur though.  I really heard the word diabetes and then nothing after that.  I didn’t know what it all meant but I certainly knew I didn’t want it.  I didn’t know what to do or how to go about tackling what I needed to do to treat the disease.  So stunned, I left the office with a large amount of sample medication and got in my car and drove home to tell my wife, who works in the diabetes industry.

She was understanding and helped put it in perspective but it still hadn’t seeped into my consciousness just how serious this disease really is.  I started reading books and they were scary mentioning foot amputations, eye degeneration, kidney disease, etc.  So, I really started to worry and to blame myself for not taking better care of myself.  I could have dieted and exercised more.  I should been more acutely aware that diabetes runs in my family.  I knew it but didn’t think it would knock on my door.

Since then I’ve been monitoring my blood sugar every day in the mornings (fasting).  I’ve found this challenging.  The monitoring system is supposed to be easy to use but I’ve found it difficult.  I try to use the lancet and it usually does not produce blood.  I’ve found that only one finger works with the device.  Then sometimes the blood monitor itself won’t read the blood correctly and I get error messages.  I thought this would get easier but it hasn’t.  It’s really an ordeal every morning.

Today I diligently try to stay on a low sugar/low carb diet…something difficult for someone who is a chef and is used to eating and trying all sorts of exotic fare.  It’s challenging for me not to test my palate with whatever I want to eat, thus inspiring me to cook dishes from all over the world.  I’m saddened that this part of my life will have to change in either small or incrementally larger ways.   I go to the endocrinologist this week and I have a feeling that the rubber will meet the road then, and I’ll have a much better sense of what I’m facing and how to go about tackling this scary, tricky disease.

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2 Comments

  1. tmana

    It may be that because of your profession, you may need a management solution that is heavier on pharmaceuticals than on dietary change in order to leave you the necessary leeway to taste and correct the dishes you are cooking. Then again, unless you’re packing away significant amounts of calories, fats, and sugars while tasting, it might not matter at all.

    As far as your own diet, eventually your tastes will change. You probably already know how to cook with herbs and spices in place of salt, sugar, and fat, and how to cook with whole foods as well as refined ones. You probably already prefer fresh foods to processed and preserved ones. That will not change.

    The hard part will be the temptations of social life: the unavailability of appropriate foods at social events (and often restaurants), everyone demanding you “try this”, “it won’t hurt just this once”, “have seconds”, when you know it’s not healthy for you, and their opposite numbers, the Diabetes Police (“Are you sure you should be having that??” “You can’t eat that or you’ll lose a leg”, etc.)

  2. Hang in there Craig! It will take time, but it will start making more sense. I found that focusing on one small thing at a time made the management of diabetes much more digestible in the beginning- it is overwhelming.

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