The party’s over

2009 May 17

That’s right. The party’s over. The gig is up. Time to pay the piper. You reap what you sow. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. Well, crap.

So I’ve got diabetes. I shouldn’t be surprised. I’m sure that tons of people who know me are thinking, “Well, duh! You can’t go about eating like there’s no tomorrow and sitting on your fat ass 24 hours a day without repercussions. This shouldn’t be a surprise.”

And yet it is. And it has made me think, in ways I rather wish I hadn’t.

I know that what I’m about to say sounds bad, but bear with me. The truth is that I did believe, with every iota of my body, that I would someday have to pay the price for the choices I had made regarding diet and exercise. I thought that one day, I would keel over dead of a heart attack, with no one to blame for it but myself.

I even knew, and know, that at the moment of my death I would regret what I had done to myself. I knew, and know, that I would want to live. I knew, and know, that I would have done the greatest disservice possible to the people who love me, and that would be my greatest sin of all.

But it’s a funny thing, those thoughts. Knowing all of this, I still could not change.

I can’t help but take a deep swallow and fight back these damnable tears as I write a very hard truth … I am weak, and I cannot live for others, no matter how much I love them. And this is why I was able to go about my merry way, blithely eating and smoking myself to death.

This is a difficult weakness to accept because I have always dearly wanted to do right by the other people in my life. But there it is.

So. For better, but mostly worse, I have established that I could, and can accept sudden death as a result of my lifestyle choices. What I cannot accept is becoming an invalid, and a long, slow slide into death.

It would be one thing if I were in an accident and lost my legs or if I were paralyzed. This would be through no fault of my own, and perhaps I could find the strength to endure so much dependence upon others.

Losing my feet, my eyesight, my kidneys, because of diabetes, because I wouldn’t stop overeating … that’s entirely another matter. I could not bear knowing every moment that I was responsible. My stomach turns at the thought. There would be no end to my shame.

So I have to change the way I live. I have to find a way to defeat an enemy that I surrendered to about six years ago — food. My passionate addiction.

I will try my best. Hedon is on board the program, supporting me all the way and joining me in the fight to get healthy. She does not have to do this, but when I tell her so, she only looks at me like I’m crazy and says that there’s no other choice for her. Of course she has a choice. That she does not see this, says much about her character.

We have ordered the Nutra-System diabetic diet for me and the regular one for Hedon. The packages didn’t arrive before we had to leave, so we will have to wait until our next time home to begin the programs. In the meanwhile, we’ve made a number of preparatory changes.

I’ve already seen some great improvements in my blood sugar levels thanks to the meds and the early changes we’ve made, so I feel encouraged.

It’s important that I get this thing under control as soon as possible. My job depends on it. You cannot get a medical card with out-of-control diabetes. No medical card means no driving the big trucks. And we all know what no job means. My current medical card expires August 2.

I have a ton of fears. There’s a lot on the line. Mostly, I’m mentally focusing on changing the way I look at food. This is no short term diet I’m looking at here; this is the rest of my life. I wonder. Can I find a way to make myself love vegetables? Vegetables that aren’t swimming in fat? And can I learn to enjoy exercising? And, well, a legion of other things.

While it’s a scary time, it’s also oddly exciting. We plan many changes in the coming months, changes which can only better our lives. We’ll talk about those later, though. This post is long enough as it is.

I’m going to stay as positive as I can. You never know. Diabetes may turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to us.

12 Responses
  1. 2009 May 17

    Good luck! The party is not over. Just a new party, and one you get the chance to pay more attention to. Cancer is my new party, and while I wish it were different, I’m certainly still enjoying the ride! My thoughts are with you.

  2. 2009 May 17

    If I may be so bold as to offer some advice:

    The first thing that you might want to consider is to stop blaming yourself. Your food addiction is not your fault – maybe its physiological, maybe its psychological, whatever, but if you feel guilty for whatever choices you made, you may continue to eat – or find another way to feel better that is just as harmful.

    I weighed 300 pounds two years ago. it was killing me (and this is a personal thing) and I think I wanted it to kill me. I was slowly dying, from the outside in, starting with a herniated disc, and sure to end with the diabetes and heart disease that runs rampant in the family. I chose surgery as my way out, I chose to live… surgery might not be your option, there are many ways of turning it around, but just as important as losing the weight, for me, was dealing with the issues that made me cling to food like a drowning person to a life raft.

    If you can get your hands on fresh, local produce, like the “just picked” kind, that’s the best way to fall in love with vegetables. I can’t stand vegetables until July, and then I can’t get enough of them…fresh from the garden!

  3. 2009 May 17

    Stace and Hedon
    So sorry to read about the diabetes but like others have posted the party’s not over, just maybe a wakeup call to start taking better care of yourselves. We lost a friend last year because of basically the same situation. First diabetes, then cancer, his body just shut down on him and it was due mostly to lifestyle choices. Unfortunately his family wasn’t willing to help him change his eating habits–hard to eat right when you’re surrounded by people eating steak and potatoes in front of you and telling you why should they have to suffer just because of your problem, grrr. Still pisses me off whenever I think of that.

    Stace, you’re very, very lucky to have somebody that’s willing to change with you. Good luck and start taking care of yourself in the way you deserve.

    Gabby

  4. 2009 May 17

    You can do it – I think you said that in your post. The party is actually just beginning! And to have someone as loving as Hedon beside you – you have the best thing in the world going for and with you.

    I have my own issues with food and am trying to do something about it. One thing I hope you can do is cut down and then quit smoking. There is nothing legal that you can smoke that does anything good for you. But you know that.

    You will do it – I know you will.

    XXOO,
    D

  5. 2009 May 17

    Stace,

    I am sorry to hear about the final diagnosis, but like you said…maybe it’ll turn out to be the best thing.

    I have a difficult time also with my eating and every day I say I’m going to do something different and some days I do and other days I can’t make it to the end of the day without falling off the wagon.

    I think this might be a good time for me to look at the way I eat also and do something about it before I’m forced to.

    You (and Hedon) are always in my thoughts and if there is any way I can help, let me know. If you need to a group “buddy” thing or you want to start a challenge to motivate each other, I’m in!

    Keep in touch and call or email when you guys can. Much love and support to you both.

    XOXO

    Salena (and Eddie!)

  6. 2009 May 17
    Belledog permalink

    Stace: So good to hear from you. Rooting for both of you on the Nutra-System diets and improving and enjoying your new habits.

    Am about to order a book with lots of yummy-sounding and easy recipes on the DASH Diet (Dietary Alternatives to Stop Hypertension, or along those lines), and will share the good ones. Many of them will likely be ideal for those watching their sugar levels as well as salt. As to preparing them in a Cascadia, ah, there’s the rub…

    So many vegetarian treats and ethnic cuisines out there now. Would bet you will find some new favorites. (Michelle Obama would be proud of you changing your stripes, were she to read this blog. And truly, she should.)

    Think and hope this diagnosis will prove to be a silver lining for the Hags family.

    From a church billboard spotted in North Carolina last week — and do believe this is true:

    “Sometimes God gives us setbacks to move us ahead.”

    For those not particularly religious; you could substitute, “Sometimes life deals us setbacks…” Whatever works.

    But make this work for you. You sound resolute. You are going to succeed. You are going to beat this and keep that medical card. You just are.

  7. 2009 May 17

    Uh… on the Hedon-is-a-Saint front… well I know my memory isn’t what it used to be. And I admit that 17 years is a long time, so maybe I’m not remembering it perfectly… but… I’m pretty sure some words were spoken by somebody at some point way back in the day.

    I seem to remember they went something like this:

    ~~ For richer or poorer,
    ~~ Hedon can leave dirty socks on the floor if she wants to,
    ~~ In sickness and in health,
    ~~ Stace gets to control the remote if she’s in the room,
    ~~ Forsaking all others,
    ~~ Hedon will put forth her very best effort to learn to close kitchen cabinet doors before it drives Stace utterly crazy,
    ~~ Stace acknowledges that Hedon is now the co-owner of all Stace’s really, seriously good ideas,
    ~~ Til death do you part… or you both move on to the next life… or you just float around the Universe waiting for the other person to join you… or… whatever.

    Anyway, I’m pretty sure it was something like that. Don’t tell me you don’t remember.

  8. 2009 May 17

    Thanks so much, everyone, for all your kind words, support and advice. I really appreciate it. It means a lot to know you’re out there rooting for me. :-)

    And about the smoking … yeah, it’s gotta go. God I hate that, but there’s no help for it. Once we get a handle on this eating right business, we plan to quit. Oh my. Still some months down the road, though.

    By the way, I have no memory of acknowledging that Hedon is the co-owner of all my really, seriously good ideas. I think Fernando must be hallucinating due to severe withdrawal from Snickers bars.

  9. 2009 May 19

    Stace,

    I’m a new reader to your blog after hearing about it recently on NPR. I’m sorry to hear of your diabetes. Thank heavens they caught it before anything really bad happened. A friend of mine only found out his kidneys were ruined by years of uncontrolled blood pressure when it was too late to prevent a kidney transplant. He had about 10 good years before the transplant failed. Then his health declined while he waited for the second transplant. The second transplant never took and he died at 66 (too damn early) on Good Friday, last month. I miss him terribly.
    You are fortunate Hedon supports you. Together, you’ll even learn to love veggies. Good luck, you’re in my thoughts.

  10. 2009 May 22

    I believe that two such gutsy and creative girls (OK, three with Maggie) can do what needs to be done. God Bless and hold on tight, you’re going to be just fine.

    L.

  11. 2009 May 22

    Thanks L and Sweet Southern Belle (and welcome SSB),

    Yeah, I feel like I got really lucky that they caught it when they did. And to think I cursed that doctor last year who only gave me a one year medical card. If she had given me the normal two year card I wouldn’t even know about this until next year.

    Chances are good that by then we’ll have this whole thing firmly under control and be leading much healthier lives.

    Stace

  12. 2009 May 23

    Hey Anna,

    Welcome! I’m glad you made the right choice for you! I hope we’re doing the same. But I suppose if things don’t go as well as one might hope we always have other options.

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