Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Change

Ten years ago today, I did not have diabetes.

Ten years ago tomorrow, I probably didn't either.

But at some point, around ten years ago, things started falling apart in my pancreas. Beta cells started having trouble producing insulin and my body started having trouble doing what it was supposed to do.

If I look back at pictures, I think I was ok in April.

I think I was ok in May but I was no longer 100% ok. I had started losing weight which was not normal for me but, since everyone loves to lose five pounds, I didn't worry much about it. I just thanked whatever lucky stars one thanks when weight falls off easily and carried on.

In June I had lost a few more pounds. Still nothing drastic but my clothes were looser. I remember bragging to people who asked that I wasn't doing anything different. In fact, I was eating MORE than I normally did. Maybe it was all the water I was drinking...?

Things slowly progressed. I drank more and more water and I was eating ridiculous amounts of food. In fact I remember pulling in to the Avondale by our house and buying two chocolate bars every single day trying to satisfy my sugar cravings.

We had a two-week trip to France planned that September. I was tired and dragging but was definitely going. The thing that was stressing me out the most wasn't the foreign country, the cost, or the planning - it was the thought of being on a flight and not having enough water to drink. Because I really really really drank a lot of water those days. I brought several large bottles with me that I finished somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. I kept going up to the flight attendants and asking them to refill my bottles. They kindly did and I survived the flight.

We spent two weeks gorging on French foods, French pastries, French cheeses and I came home shockingly thinner than I was when I left.  I wouldn't be surprised if I had lost ten pounds in fourteen days.

Still I chose the denial route for a few more weeks. But everywhere I went people were commenting on how I looked. I was no longer "wow, you lost weight!". Now it was "omigod CĂ©line, are you ok?"

So I called my doctor and got an appointment. I walked into her office on November 1st and a few hours later I checked myself into the intensive care unit of the hospital - thirty-five pounds lighter, severely dehydrated and in ketoacidosis. They put me on insulin immediately and the rest is history.

But ten years ago today, I did not have diabetes.

If I think back really hard, I can remember what that felt like. I think I can remember what it was like to eat what I wanted, when I wanted. What it was like when food was just for eating and it didn't have the power to hurt me. What it was like to head out the door with nothing but my house key. What is was like to have fingertips that aren't callused and a stomach that isn't covered in pin pricks and fading bruises.

But it's getting harder and harder to remember.

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