Friday, March 11, 2005

Denial and other "D" Words

Good Morning all! I hope that this Friday brings you much peace and great plans for the weekend. I don't think I have any grand plans other than getting to know some new people, relaxing, doing my hobbies, learning, and going to church for the 2nd week running. Lately I have been praying for God to show me the real me and the things I really need to work on. I have been open to hearing from him and I know that some of the things that he points out, aren't going to be fun! Today's post is about one of those things. Let me start by telling you a little story...sit back, it could take a minute.

I was 16 years old and gradually becoming a very large person. I was tipping the scales at anywhere between 330-350 lbs at any given moment. I couldn't understand how I had gained so much weight but I didn't really care either because I was in immense pain. Every day going to the restroom was my worst fear. I was experiencing one of the worst kidney infections that I had ever had. I was in so much pain I would scream and literally have to hold onto a wall to go to the restroom ( I know this is explicit but it has to be).

This went on for about a month before my mom insisted that I see a physician. I have never been one to want to see a doctor and being where my pain was, I really didn't want to see one at 350 lbs. My mom took me to a walk in clinic in Bedford, Indiana and they tested my urine. It came back that not only was my urine mostly consisting of blood and infection but also, it contained a large amount of dumped sugar. This in turn, led to the diagnosis of Diabetes.

I immediately was admitted to the hospital as I was in dire need of care and mostly education. I began my journey that day on a well worn path called denial! I immediately got into an altercation with a nurse because I was adamant about not having this "old people" disease. She gave me my first insulin injection and I fought so much I received a great big purple bruise as a reward. This nurse and I, to say the very least, were not friends.

My mom was by my side every waking moment of that hospital stay and for a few months after that. At the hospital the first steps were to learn about my disease. They made me sit in my hospital room and watch video after video of diabetic care instructions. This to me was the most excruciating of the pain. I was stubborn and turned my chair where I couldn't see the screen and my more than faithful mother, watched every video.

After getting out of the hospital, if my memory serves correctly, we headed to the pharmacy where I would be picking up the ball and chain of my disease to carry around. We started by picking up my medication which was insulin and an oral medication. (note here: I am a very bad diabetic and required both) We also picked up my new favorite piece of jewelry ..the diabetic identification bracelet. We picked up a pill pack, glucose tablets, a tester, and all of the other things that made me feel 75 at the age of 16.

I was still very adamant about not ever really having this disease. It didn't matter that people told me every day that it was true, that I received the meal at the hospital that blatantly stated NO SUGAR on the utensil packet, and it certainly didn't matter that my mom gave me a shot twice a day. It was just routine ...and it made her feel better for me to take it, so who would it hurt?

Days and days went by and my life changed dramatically. My mom would make the healthiest meals that could ever be made and they were costly. She would give me my shots at exactly the right time and get me to test my blood sugar about 5-8 times a day. I grugdingly did all that she asked...not because I believed it. I did it because I loved her and I knew she was scared. My mom is a pillar of strength in crisis but there is nothing to weaken a parent like almost losing a child.

Fast forward to today...only because you are going to get tired of this story. I still don't believe I am a diabetic. I quit taking medication, going to the doctor, learning about my illness, and mostly caring. I don't wear identification, I eat sweets like a normal person, and I am terrified of admitting the huge burden I carry. Now you may be asking yourself...why is Erica sharing this?

Well, I am sharing this because I have had enough of my unhealthy denial. I am a diabetic and a very bad one at that. My eyes are starting to blur, I get bad headaches, I have had a kidney infection for going on 3 months now. I am constantly worried and concerned for my health today and in the future. Since being diagnosed I have lost a lot of weight. Since I started counting...99 lbs. I thought that was cure didn't. I thought I could work out all the time and eat barely didn't cure me! I have diabetes and it's time to live as a diabetic. I am telling you all this so you will read this and know. I want you to keep me accountable, pray for me, ask me the hard questions, and mostly love me the same way you always have.

Most of you probably already kinda knew about the illness and that I was a diabetic but I am sure you had no idea how i am living because this is the area of my life that I lie about. I probably have told you that the doctor took me off meds....NO....I took me off meds. I probably have told you that my sugar has been's never been normal. I probably have said something to you like "I feel fine" when in actuality..I am a mess. Please know that I am sorry for the lies in dealing with this but I have been grieving for 9 years. I have been overwhelmed with the burden of this disease so I chose not to carry it.

Last night, I opened up to Joel for the first time about how I feel about the disease and what it makes me feel like. He had some great insight, as always, and said something very profound to me. I said, "I think I just have high sugars once in a while" and he said "9 years of high sugars?" He's right, I am a diabetic doubt about it. I am sick, I am flawed, my body doesn't work as it should. I will never be able to live as a "normal" person and unless I want to die...I have to start living as a diabetic NOW! Today, I vow to you and to start living as a diabetic.

My first step is to do this blog and have others read it and take it in. I will be dealing with some of the more complex issues coming soon like the emotions, the struggle about death, the challenges, etc....but today my first step is to just say. I am Erica, and I AM A DIABETIC!

Thank you for reading this and I would appreciate feedback! I love you all and please pray! The reason this is pressing today is that it's getting worse and I have no medical insurance and no doctor. Please pray that I find a job soon so I can afford insurance and medication. Please pray for my safety until then! I love you all so much! Have a great day and here are my learning and thankfulness for the last few days:

Learning March 9, 2005:

1. Someone told me I am pretty and you know what..I think I am.

2. I am Southern California's most romantic woman (2nd indeed!)

3. I do love so deeply and I think one day...I will healthfully too!

4. I miss my friends!!!!!

5. It's good to be praying again!

Learning March 10, 2005:

1. The newport beach public library is one of my favorite oasis' in life.

2. When your cell phone rings in a quiet place, people are really hostile to you even if it's on vibrate!

3. My guy friends are really protective of me and I am glad that they are!

4. Starting over (the show) continues to interest me

5. I hate when you buy meat and it's got too much fat and you can't tell until you cook it

Thankfulness March 9, 2005:

I am thankful for my walks at Balboa with the Lord. I am thankful that I am learning to be honest with him and know myself through knowing him and his purpose for me. I am thankful that I have this place to get away and to learn about God and talk to him. I am thankful for God's voice in dealing with my intricate details.

Thankfulness March 10, 2005:

I am thankful that Terrence thinks of me. I am thankful that I am on his mind when he watches tv, is in vegas, drives, etc...I am thankful for the little things in life like someone just saying " I was thinking about you!" I am honored to be in his thoughts. He is a stand up guy! :) *if you don't know who terrence really need to get caught up!* ;)


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