Too Sweet by Far (Squishy Business 2)
November is Diabetes Awareness Month, so it was very convenient for me to be diagnosed with type-2 diabetes at the end of October. (It was also for the best that I got my diagnosis before Hallowe’en instead of after. Trying to ask my doctor questions about the diagnosis with my mouth stuffed full of half-priced Reese’s peanut butter cups would have been a tad awkward.)
I wasn’t exactly surprised by the diagnosis. I’ve been pre-diabetic for years, although after every blood draw, I was told I was “barely pre-diabetic”, which I took to mean “barely into the pre-diabetic zone, you should work on your diet but not worry too much about it,” when I probably should have taken it as “barely not-diabetic, you should really really work on your diet.”
I wasn’t exactly surprised, but I did feel disappointed, frustrated, and a little scared. (Okay, maybe slightly than a little.) Living in an industrial, capitalist, consumerist society isn’t super conducive to healthy eating, especially when you’re single and living alone, working a full-time job, and are the proud owner of anxiety, depression, and executive function that isn’t all that functional. Add in a pandemic that heightens your anxiety and depression–and has supply chain problems, so that some of the whole grain foods you rely on for a healthier diet suddenly vanish from supermarket shelves for a month or two. (Don’t even get me started on living in a country that crows about being the Greatest Nation on Earth while being ridiculously opposed to something so basic as universal healthcare.) I’ve been trying to eat healthier and exercise regularly for years, but all too often, I feel like I don’t have the time, energy, or executive function for that.
Except now, I have to do better despite all of that. Have to. I quickly zoomed through all of the other stages of grief (and it’s normal and valid to grieve such a big change in health, I keep reminding myself) to arrive at acceptance. I’m using this as fuel to take more control over what I eat and how I eat it. This is a transitional moment when I try new things and acquire new tastes. My hyperfixation brain is puppy dog-excited to do more research on what’s better for me and what’s worse, looking for alternatives to what I’ve gotten used to eating.
I was surprised to learn that the fathers of most of my closest friends also have type-2 diabetes. It’s reassuring to know that I can keep going through life with this, I can still have fun with food, and I can live to a pleasant old age. But it’s also dismaying to know how prevalent this is. So for my first Diabetes Awareness Month living with diabetes, I’m asking everyone to be aware, to think about the long-term consequences of what you eat and drink. Everyone’s biology is different, and if you can eat donuts with reckless abandon, please do (and dedicate at least one to me). But I think we can all rebel against a society that pushes high-sugar, high-carb, high-fat foods at us and makes the alternatives more expensive and more difficult to regularly eat. Hey, Millennials and Zoomers, I have some more social establishments for you to add to your kill list!
Human bodies can be so fragile and can go off-balance so easily, but I’m happy and fortunate to still have mine.