30 and (probably) diabetic

You know how people always joke about their bodies falling apart when they hit milestone years? Well, now I know why. It’s totally true. (Okay, not really — if I really had to pick a point when my body failed me it would be when I got CFS, which was when I was 16. Still, I find this situation ironic.)

I went to the doctor a couple of weeks ago to get general blood tests done so I could save money on my insurance next year. Most of the tests came back normal, but one test didn’t — my HgA1c level was high. For those of you not in the know (I wasn’t) this indicates that my blood sugar over the last few months has been high. This is not entirely surprising to me. My family has a history of diabetes, and I’ve had some of the warning signs (excessive thirst and rapid weight loss (thanks Wiz)), plus getting more tired the longer I wait to eat (I’ve always known I had minor blood sugar issues), but I’ve had my blood sugar tested by doctors a couple of times since then and it was always normal (including being normal in this latest round of blood tests), and I even bought a blood glucose monitor and tested my blood sugar myself for a while, and it was normal, so I stopped worrying. But apparently I need to start again.

I’m still not entirely sure I have diabetes. The doctor I went to said I do, and wrote me a prescription. He’s also an idiot (when I told him I don’t know what caused my CFS, he said of course I know what caused it, I just don’t know who — I told him that was mono). He didn’t ask for more tests or send me to a specialist, both things that should be done. From what I’ve read, high HgA1c levels are not an officially recognized method of diabetes diagnosis (though they’re very indicative), and can actually be caused by a couple of other things (though those are much less likely, and with the symptoms I’ve had, diabetes is definitely the most likely cause). There are also multiple types of diabetes which are treated differently, so it’s kind of important to know what type of diabetes you have. So I need to go to a specialist and get properly diagnosed and then figure out where to go from there.

But, since I spent the last week worrying about my kids’ cavities and never got around to calling the endocrinologist, and now it’s the weekend again and I can’t, I decided to do something really useful — blather about it on my blog. Because that will help, right? Yeah, not really, but we’ve been way too on-topic (feminism, Mormonism, bloggernacle) around here lately, and what would we do without a good dose of randomness? (Okay, I probably don’t want you to answer that, since I’m responsible for most of the randomness.)

Honestly, in some ways I actually want the diagnosis. If some of the medical issues I’ve had lately (notably almost constant headaches and even worse tiredness than normal) are caused by hyperglycemia, then if I get my blood sugar under control those will get better, which would be awesome. My biggest concern/fear centers, of course, around food. I really don’t like cooking. And honestly, by the time it comes to make the next meal I’m usually to tired to really make a decent meal. I’m a big fan of meals that I can grab and eat with little to no work. Unfortunately, almost all of these (most notably cereal) are straight carbs, which is pretty much a no-no if I’m diabetic. Which means even more cooking than I’m managing now, and figuring out new things to cook that I can eat and my children can and will eat. Yeah right. Oh, and did I mention that my husband had high cholesterol levels? Yeah, I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything we can all eat any more. The kids have mostly survived on hot dogs this week, while I ate meat and veggies from Outback’s gluten free menu (which my husband brought home one night after I called him crying about how I had no non-carb foods to eat in our entire house). I have no idea what my husband ate. I’m pretty sure the diet is unsustainable, but I don’t have another one to replace it with.

So yeah. I’m (probably) diabetic. I have no idea what to do with that. Except blog, because hey, you all wanted to know, right?


  1. That just sucks all the way around. Be sure to let us know what you learn when you are finally able to see the specialist.

  2. Sorry to hear that. I hope you get things figured out soon. Food issues can cause so much havoc in life.

    I recently had to make some major dietary changes, and it’s a huge pain because I have to do more cooking, and I don’t have time for that. One thing that has helped me is freezer cooking. I cook big batches of stuff ahead of time and freeze them in individual portions. Then it’s like having homemade tv dinners.

  3. Facebook helps, too. ‘Cause when you moan about food issues there, it turns out that friends you never knew had had a problem turn out to have all kinds of suggestions based on experience, a few of them exactly what you need. Good luck.

  4. That totally sucks. I see an endocrinologist. They aren’t scary, call one on Monday.
    You are right that diagnosing the problem will be a good thing. You WILL feel better once your levels are more normal so you will actually be able to handle the diet and your responsibilities better.
    Health issues or other crises are really overwhelming. Go ahead and be overwhelming and find people with shoulders to cry on. There might be a few tough weeks.
    But I’m here to tell you it will get better and you will be able to manage it all.
    (Now that I’m 40 my crises seem to always involve waking up way too early and not getting back to sleep no matter how tired I am. It means I am very grateful when I wake up at 6:50 am instead of far earlier).
    Good luck!

  5. Well crap. CRAP!! Call an endocrinologist immediately, and screw that doctor who told you that you had diabetes but didn’t send you to a specialist. What a moron.

    If you don’t mind my asking – what was your a1c?

    And yes, it sucks, but you really will feel better. I was amazed at the difference.

  6. Thanks for the support everyone. It’s nice to have a public place to complain and get sympathy (and Ardis, you’re right — facebook is very good for that as well).

    I am at least used to making major dietary changes, which means I’ll gripe about it a lot, but at least it’s not nearly so overwhelming as it might have been otherwise.

    And yes, the doctor I went to sucks. It was just at a community walk-in clinic, and I went there to get bloodwork done simply because it was easy. Luckily I know enough to know that the doctor was an idiot. I feel sorry for others who go there who might not realize. (Seriously, what doctor looks at one blood test and says, “Looks like you have diabetes. Here’s a prescription, come back in 3 months.”? An idiot, I tell you.)

    Wiz, I don’t mind you asking at all (heck, you’ve been here, so I’m happy to hear anything you have to say). My a1c was 7.3.

  7. Fwiw, my son was diagnosed at age 7 (that’s 16 years ago, actually 16 years ago next week) with Type I. The week before his diagnosis was so nasty: he was picking fights with his brothers, causing trouble at school, coming home and crashing on the couch. Totally out of character for him. So I’d be willing to bet that if diabetes is the problem that all those other things are connected too.

    By the time we got him to the doctor I was pretty sure what it was, and I was pretty mad. I was worried about food issues too and all sorts of other scary things. The food worked itself out, and mostly what I found is that a healthy diet is a healthy diet, and I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what he needs as a diabetic.

    Oh, and from my perspective (not-a-doctor), 7.3 is a pretty good a1c for a diabetic.

  8. 7.3 is pretty high for a non-diabetic. It definitely warrants a trip to an endocrinologist – but you’ve had normal blood sugars since then? That’s a good thing. It means you still have pretty good insulin usage/production.

    Did they check your urine? Were you spilling sugar and/or ketones? Sorry if this gets too personal, feel free to email me anytime.

    (Debbie’s right that it’s not too bad for a diabetic – but basically you want it under 7, and for a non-diabetic – 6 and under. You’ve probably read that, though.)

    You’re probably still making some insulin, but either not enough or your body isn’t using it correctly. That’s where a good doctor could help you out – figuring out which it is, etc. etc. It’s possible with finding it this early that you can manage it with diet and exercise, or possibly a very low dose of medication.

    My a1c at diagnosis was 12.2. So, you, know, WAY worse.

    Hope you get it figured out and are feeling better soon!

  9. Argh, Vada! I’m really sorry to hear this. The issue is particularly salient for me because my wife has had gestational diabetes for the second time recently and we’re hoping it doesn’t hang on and turn into ongoing diabetes.

    I’m sorry the doctor you saw was such a flake! I hope when you see a specialist you can get better answers. I second Ardis’s idea of bringing this up on Facebook–I’m often surprised at what calls for information bring out of Facebook friends. There are lots of knowledgeable people out there, on tons of topics I don’t know the first thing about.

    Good luck!

    Oh, and regarding this:

    we’ve been way too on-topic (feminism, Mormonism, bloggernacle) around here lately, and what would we do without a good dose of randomness? (Okay, I probably don’t want you to answer that, since I’m responsible for most of the randomness.)

    Ha! I’m kind of glad to hear you feel that way because I worry that I’m too responsible for the randomness. So maybe we can share the blame, er, credit! 🙂

  10. Vada, I just read your post. I know it was awhile back, but I hope that what I have to say could be helpful to you.

    I’m sorry to hear that you had the experience you did with your primary care doctor. It sounds like he did not explain things well, and was quite insensitive. It sounds like a yucky experience.

    I am a nurse practitioner who runs my own practice. I specialize in treating insulin resistance / pre-diabetes / diabetes, etc. I’d happy to help you make some sense of this. Please let me know if that would be helpful.


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