As mentioned in my previous post, my life was shaken when I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Never did I think I would be facing this so early in life.
So once I was mentally ready, I went back to SGH and we were discussing our options for my second fresh round when Dr Yu suggested that I go for the comprehensive blood glucose test.
Brief history – As a PCOS-sufferer, I have a high risk of insulin-resistance, when coupled with the fact that my mum had gestational diabetes when she carried me – is the final nail on the coffin. Dr Yu had been bugging me to test for diabetes since 2 years ago and all I managed was the pin-prick test, which showed a borderline result. That meant that I did not have diabetes but was at high risk. She had told me to go for the comprehensive one but I had been pushing it back because it requires me to take a full day of work (when I had already missed so many due to the treatments) and also because I frankly did not want to know. I guess you could say I was in denial of what I knew was inevitable.
So fast forward to the current time. I knew I had nowhere to escape and also, I wanted to do whatever it took to prevent any further miscarriages. So I did it. I went to SGH early one morning after a 10-hour fast and got my blood taken. Then I was told to drink this cup of saccharine sweet solution (basically glucose dissolved in water) which I think I enjoyed a little too much (haha maybe that should be a sign I had diabetes). The cold water helped it and I was paranoid that I would puke it out as the nurse on duty kept reminding me that if I were to puke it out, I had to come back another day to get it all done again – which I definitely DID not want. Thankfully, no puke.
I then had to wait for around 3 hours and get my blood taken after that. I can’t recall what I did to pass the 3 hours but I think it involved reading a book, having breakfast and doing my marking. Finally, I got my blood taken again and was sent off home. Frankly I did not think much as I had convinced myself I was not diabetic. The signs were staring at me in my face – weight gain, increased thirst, dark sports around my neck, blurred vision – but I conveniently pushed them away.
A couple of days later, I was having a meal with my colleagues when I received The Call. Yes, I was diabetic. I needed to go down to collect a letter to bring to the polyclinic for my diabetes consultation. At that moment, it did not sink in yet. I did not know to what extent my life would be changed, just that I had another issue to add on to my already growing list of health issues. I went by the meal in a daze and went to SGH immediately after to collect the letter.
The very next day, I went to the polyclinic for the consultation and I think that was when it hit me. Everyone at the diabetes clinic was..well..old. I was clearly the youngest there by a mile and that shook me a little. The doctor took my blood and I waited a while for the results. My sugar level was at 7.1, and people normally go on medication if it is above 7. However, seeing that I was trying to conceive and am still relatively young, the Dr did not want to give me medication and instead advised me to control it with food and exercise.
I walked home from the polyclinic in a turmoil. I knew I had to make a change – and this time, it as not just to fit into that dress or for a slimmer face or get that annoying aunty to shut up – it was for my life. From that day itself, I made a decision to change my life around. I knew my weaknesses were sweets and carbs (which is basically almost every food worth eating).
I made some drastic changes in my lifestyle which included
- cutting out rice totally
- removing all forms of white sugar from my diet including sweets, drinks and desserts
- exercising at least 2 to 3 times a week
Oh boy, it is TOUGH. 80% of Asian food is rice-based and everything that I LOVE! I had to say bye to briyani, chicken rice, chai peng, zhi char and so much more! I also have a very very sweet tooth so I had to bite my tongue to ensure that I kept to my decision – which was so difficult especially when colleagues and family celebrated birthdays with decadent cakes, meetings were supplied with my favourite nonya snacks and I had to say bye to that refreshing glass of coke and iced green tea.
But this time it was different. I knew that if I did not do what I had to do, it could have serious implications. I have enough diabetics in my family to have seen the ugly head of diabetes, from life-long dependence on medication, amputations and even death. As hard as it was, I stuck to it and used it as a chance to lose some weight before my 2nd cycle. Those around me expressed awe at my determination and said “I wish I could be like you” but no, I wouldn’t wish this illness on ANYONE. I am not being healthy because I want to, but because I have to and that, is a very thin and sad line.
However, the hard work did pay off. I managed to lose about 7kg in 2 months. I was shocked but realised just how much my body was dependant on sugar. People noticed the change and I felt good about it and it compelled me to keep going. Each time I missed eating rice, I went on the weighing scale to remind myself how far I had come. After 3 weeks, the daily cravings were gone and I was more comfortable with my new regime of salads, salmons, chicken breasts, quinoa and lots of green veggies.
2 months into it, I am now about to incorporate rice back into my diet (WHAT?!?) because I don’t want the lack of carbs to affect the embryo. Also, these past 2 months, we have mostly been cooking our own meals to ensure that we eat only what we can and want. However, in the upcoming 2WW, it will be difficult for to cook as I have to be on bed-rest most of the time, so I have asked my mum to help with daily meals and it is quite selfish of me to insist only on low-carb meals which she is not used to cooking. I have decided on brown and red rice with a low glycemic index (GI rate) so as not to affect my new lifestyle too drastically.
Being diagnosed with diabetes was initially similar to a death sentence for me, but now I realise that it was a wake-up call for me to claim my life back. It is a difficult journey but I am determined to milk it for all it’s worth!