Once, when I was 17- I was in my history class and I began to feel ill.
The room swirled around me and darkness filled my peripheral vision.
Sweat began to bead on my back, neck, chest and head- making my long hair damp underneath; next- the acrid taste of bile filled the back of my throat.
I felt myself falling out of my desk...and powerless to stay in my seat, I slumped to the floor.
The captain of the football team, who was adorable and had never looked at me twice, was sitting near by and jumped up to help me. Unfortunately when I revived, I threw up on him :(
(Sorry Kemp!) He never did ask me out- and I still feel bad about what happened.
My black-outs continued, once when I was driving my car... very frightening.
Otherwise healthy and in good shape I baffled a few Dr.'s before anyone realized that I had "low blood sugar".
I went to a nutritionist, and was warned that "low blood sugar" was the predecessor of Diabetes. I recall the nutritionist telling me that peanut butter was an excellent food to ward off a low sugar attack...except that it's full of fat, and sugar...but I was willing to try anything to keep from passing out.
Diabetes has plagued my family for at least 4 generations.
And probably longer than that-
The complications of this illness has shortened the lives of my Grandmother, Great Grandmother, Great Uncles, and even found it's way into the life of my 5 year old nephew 11 years ago.
My mom was diagnosed in her early 40's and now suffers from neuropathy (nerve death) in her hands, feet, stomach, and brain. She will be 57 next month.
For the next 18 years I struggled with low blood sugar, weight gain, dieting, and the icing on the cake- giving birth to my beautiful children- which brought more havoc to my body.
Ironically the only time my blood sugar was really stable- and I lost weight- was in the first 5 months of my pregnancies. There was a clue there- but I missed it.
I ate at regular intervals. I craved protein- lots of it. Sweet things made me feel sick and I didn't want them. I also craved veggies, and salmon, and milk. I didn't completely eliminate all the starches from my diet- but I didn't want them. I also eliminated caffeine- and sodas of every kind.
I never got sick- and I lost over 20 pounds. The OB Dr. was worried, but the weight was coming off in all the right places- and I had never eaten better in my life. I gave birth to a very healthy boy- who weighed almost 9 pounds.
After his birth I went back to the old diet.
Pasta's, potatoes, bread, rice- at least 2 or more of these things were served at every dinner. High Carb, low fat...that was the way to lose weight! Everyone said so- and I did my level best to make it work.
Except it didn't work.
I tried phen/fen. Lost 30 pounds...barely eating anything- and most of those foods were carbs.
The weight returned as soon as I went off the meds.
I wanted to kill myself, I really did. Postpartum depression with baby #2 almost sent me over the edge. I was 26 years old.
The Dr. put me on Paxil- the brother of Prozac.
Soon, I quit thinking of ways to harm myself...but I also quit writing...which was very strange for me. It was as if all the flood gates had been cut off- the good ones, as well as the bad.
I had to change meds. Life returned to normal- except that my 5'1 frame was carrying about 70 pounds more than it should have.
That alone was enough to make me want to drive my car off of a bridge, however, I kept looking for a solution.
In 2005, I started reading about the Atkins diet, and the South Beach diet.
I was stunned by what I learned...about how all those carbs I had been eating were turning into sugar in my system. That sugar was causing my inuslin to spike, which would in turn force the sugar levels to drop...hence my low blood sugar.
The reason the peanut butter was an "ok" idea, was because it was full of protein, which helps the blood sugar to level out. A better choice would have been regular peanuts, or cashews, or pistachios, and of course a diet drink- not a Cherry coke to wash them down!
After realizing what I had been doing wrong for so long, I raided my pantry. I gave away, or threw out every box of pasta, hamburger helper, rices, potato dishes, bread mixes, and stuffings or dressings. My sister got most of the stuff...she is/was darn near perfect anyway! :)
I took the list of "approved foods" to the store, and bought everything that would fit into my grocery budget. We began eating alot of veggies and meat. No more "fluff" foods- fillers actually, like rice or bread. And NO more sweet tea (GASP! I'm in the South afterall!), which was hard to give up.
The headaches began right away, and they lasted for 3 weeks. The first 2 weeks were hellish.
The sugar cravings and headaches were terrible, but the books warned me that it might be tough- and to stick it out. The end result would be worth it- and I would never want to go back to sugar again when it was over. They were right.
Then the weight began to come off. Pound after pound slipped away. Next, I began walking for exercise. More weight came off. My Dr. was thrilled when I went in for my last visit- she told me I was within 15 pounds of her goal for me. My target is a little more than that- but being this close is a very good feeling...
But above and beyond everything- I've slashed my chances of getting diabetes to a very small percentage. This illness that has taken such a heavy toll on my family, Type 2 diabetes - can mostly be prevented with a low carb/low sugar diet and exercise.
I hope the cycle of Diabetes in my family- will END with me. My children have seen my struggles, and my success. I'm teaching directly, and by my example, that this illness does not have to take center stage in my life, or theirs...and it certainly does not need to be the "Life Sentence" that it has become for some.
I know this was lengthy and personal- and if you took the time to read it- then I hope it helps you...and if not you, then maybe it will help someone you love.
I'll always be on my guard against this illness- and ever striving to keep it at bay- but I think I can do it.
Sadly, I'm not sure I'll ever have a chance to make things right with Kemper...
perhaps he's forgotten???
I doubt it :)