DISCLAIMER: I am medically illiterate. I know nothing about diabetes except what I have learned from my parents and my sister – and I admit that openly. I know that there is not one factor that says “Yes, this is what causes it.” That aside, the point of this is not to say that “this is what they did to become diabetic”, the point is to say that I don’t think thier actual WEIGHT, the number on the scale, made a difference in what happened. I think it was genetics and choices.
First of all, thank you to everyone who replied to my last entry. You guys make me feel better.
There are thoughts I have been having and semi-formulating into a post, but an entry Rachel wrote in her blog made me decide to put my 2 cents in.
Diabetes runs heavily in my family. Out of my parents, my sister, and myself, I am the only one who is not diabetic. My sister was diagnosed at 16. The health scare of OMFGIDONTWANTTOGOTHROUGHTHAT is part of the reason I started the cycle of losing and gaining weight. But then I stopped to think about some things.
True story: My mom was the first one to be diagnosed, but she suspects that she first developed diabetes when she was pregnant with me. Her eating was good, her blood sugar was fine, she was reaching the last 2 months of her pregancy and was getting checkups every week. One day, due to an unrelated incident, my mother broke her excellent eating and ate a bunch of sugary, bad-for-you crap. Her blood sugar shot up, and the doctor said that if it was that high at her next checkup they would have to take measures.
Except, of course, that didn’t happen. Not because her sugar went down, but because she went into labor. And in the early morning of April 10, 1985, I came into being (YES! Its comming up. Buy me stuff, if you desire :D). My lungs were unfinished and I had no chin. My mom has a picture that she made the nurses take of me, that we affectionately call my “dead baby picture” because… well thats what I looked like. I was black and blue and hooked up to a bunch of machines. I have a perminent scar on my ankle from an IV.
Scary stuff, huh? There’s a point to this, I promise.
This story, more than any, fueled my want to lose weight. My Goddess, I thought, I don’t want to have to put up with the worry if my baby is going to live, or if she is going to have cerebral palsey or any kind of brain damage. I don’t want to buy things for her and tell her “Look, I got this. Now you have to live so you can use it.” I better lose weight NOW so I never ever have to deal with this kind of situation.
But I think back on the conversations myself and my mother have had. Ive asked her for the details on my birth, and never has she ever mentioned her weight as a factor. And she’s not trying to proctect me or make herself look better. She openly admitted “I ate a lot of things that night that I shouldn’t have.” One night. One night of extremely bad choices that made her blood sugar go up. Was it the breaking point, biologically? Perhapes. I know that you can develop gestational diabetes (please someone correct my spelling on that, lol), and that’s what happened. (She wasn’t diagnosed with type 2 until I was about 5 or 6).
But she, and I, were completely healthy for the 7 months she did carry me. There was never a moment of “Hi, your at risk because your fat.” Neither was there for my older sister. The high blood sugar came as a surprise to the doctors.
As for my sister, I was 12 or 13 when she was diagnosed. I don’t remember much of the circumstanes – I’ll have to ask her and update. but I do remember this – at the time, she and I were both selling candy as a fundraiser for the youth theater company we were a part of, and every moment my sister would buy a candy bar for breakfast. This was at the time she took the fasting glucose test, because I remember my mother said “You know if it turns out you are diabetic, you won’t be able to do that anymore.”
And once again, nothing was mentioned – that I ever heard, and I think if the doctor made a huge deal about my sister’s weight my mother would have mentioned mine to me – about the fact that my sister was overweight. Why should he? She was overweight, yes, but we were both active. We participated in musical theater. My sister held a part-time job which she had to walk to. We weren’t those lazy fat people that you always hear about.
Now there’s me. Almost 23. Diabetic parents, sister, grandfather… I think a cousin out there somewhere. And Im not. I haven’t checked my sugar in a while, but I have been around them enough to know what the signs of low blood sugar are. Ive seen them enough, and Ive never seen them in myself. I had a fasting blood test when I was in high school (I was falling asleep in class and my teachers demanded I have blood tests as well as an EEG, to see if the childhood seizures I suffered from came back. Which my mother thought was stupid, even though she did it “Who ever heard of someobe having a seizure every day at 12:45?”) and it was completely normal. I am once again over 200 pounds. So why is it that I’m not taking insulin pills along with the rest of my family?
The difference, I think, is in what I eat. Not that I eat great – my good i worked in fast food for 4 years, my eating was horrible. I think its because I don’t eat sugary things. I judt dont like them. I’ll eat a candy bar, sure, and I have my weakness (mm. Peanut butter cups. joy right there). The rest of my family has always had a more diverse eating pattern than I, and its really the only difference I can think of.
In other words, was it their weight? No. I think it was the combination of a predisposition to the disease plus the choices that they made. Proof? When they are eating non-sugary things, and doing some form of moving (my sister still walks everywhere that our mom or her boyfriend doesnt drive her, or when my mom worked as an activity director in a nursing home and walked miles a day) along with taking their medication, they had no blood sugar problems. They never followed the 1500 or whatever calorie diet. They, GASP!, ate intuitively, and moved, and took their meds, and they were fine.
As for me? My resolve is to add more exercise to my day, since I no longer walk everywhere – but stuff I enjoy like running and fencing. I plan on working on my intuitive eating, and not stress about my calores. And you can bet that when I decide to have children I’ll stay away from sugar altogether – which really isn’t that much of a sacrifice. And I think that then I’ll be fine.
And on a completely random note, the boyfriend and I went grocery shopping over the weekend. One habit I have kept from my “diet days” is making large quantities of healthy foods, portioning them out, and freezing them. It’s cheaper than going out for lunch and it tastes better than packaged food. 🙂 So now I have a bunch of Spanakopita and Italian Wedding Soup in my freezer, enough for about a month I would say, Im a happy little girl.