A Trip to Visit Dr. Lee, Endocrinologist


This isn't an exciting post. It offers no anecdotes, or pearls of wisdom. It offers no advice. It isn't very literary, but it is honest, so sometimes you have to trade style for honesty and hope people won't be bored by the truth. 

Since my diagnosis, for the past week and a half, as I waited to see Dr. Lee, my endocrinologist, I have been testing my blood sugar up to six times a day, leaving my fingers sore. My stomach has become a pincushion for the insulin shots and hurts, because when insulin enters the system it burns. My eyes are perpetually blurry and my near vision has worsened, so much so that it is difficult to read anything. I have quit smoking, restricted my diet to greens, proteins (fish and chicken), gluten free carbs, and completely cut out sugar. I'll have a glass of red wine a night, my only indulgence. 

I have found I have more energy at night, which leave me awake till three or four in the morning. I'll listen to music, watch TV, write a little here and there. But as I grapple with this new situation, I feel depressed often, berate myself over the bad choices I've made. 

My parents came on Thursday to visit me and my wife and I updated them on my condition. A pall of sadness has descended on our family, and although I know my condition is not a death sentence if I don't want it to be, it is a wake up call to change my life. Yesterday we ate lunch at a Tapas place downtown Napa, then had a dinner of a mixed greens salad and grilled salmon. My wife has become an expert in making salads, but I can't see myself eating salads for dinner for the rest of my life. 

This disease is intrusive. It takes over your life. It stresses you out. You have to evaluate everything, manage your hunger levels, your carb and sugar intake. Food is my enemy, well, certain foods. It has made me aware of how much garbage is sold in restaurants, coffee shops, cafes that cater to the pleasure centers in the brain--sugary foods that release endorphins and provide false energy. 

Today I would visit Dr. Lee. She would tell me what kind of diabetes I have, create a new schedule of medicine and doses, and order more tests if she saw fit. I woke up today feeling  sore all over and lethargic, like the way you feel when you have the flu. After a light breakfast, egg whites omelette, a bowl of strawberries and blue berries, half a whole wheat toast with butter, I fell onto the couch exhausted and slept. I moved to my bedroom and slept. For a snack, I ate a few strawberries, a few crackers and cheddar cheese. I slapt. For lunch I ate a green salad with grilled chicken. I slept. 

At 2:45 we, my wife and mother and I, left to see Dr. Lee. She's not far, about three miles from the house and after a little trouble we found her office. I filled out the paperwork. We waited for about fifteen minutes before the nurse ushered us into the room. She checked my weight, height, blood pressure, which were all fine. 

Long story short: Dr. Lee, young, pretty, supremely confident and professional, checked my feet, my heart and lungs, and after answering our questions and asking me some of her own, gave us the verdict. I have type 2 diabetes, BUT, I would no longer have to take insulin shots. What a relief. She said that with the proper diet and exercise, I would be able to reverse my symptoms and be free of diabetes forever, BUT, only if I made the right choices. Her verdict sounded like a symphony.  

I have had the scare of a lifetime. I have been given a glimpse of my future as a diabetic and learned a hard lesson. My promise to myself and to my wife and to my future children is to manage my health, to abide by a fitness and nutrition regimen for the rest of my life. It's not so bad to be healthy, is it? One doesn't need to pursue a hard drinking and smoking, sugary and high cholesterol lifestyle to feel as if you're living a "romantic" life. I am done being overindulgent. I just want to live a quality life, free from vices, free from pain and sickness. 

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