I am a person who likes a good challenge. Sometimes the challenges are serious and difficult like finishing college later in life, but other times they are more trivial like trying to find something at Walmart.
Admitting to myself that I can’t figure diabetes out is tough, but to avoid asking for help with something so serious is arrogant and just plain foolhardy.
In waking up to the changes I needed to make, the first thing I needed to do was to level with my doctor. There’s no point in relying on an expert for advice and then hobbling that person with incomplete or misleading information.
For someone who always likes to put his best foot forward the prospect of coming right out and admitting that you’ve been living like a fool is daunting, but I knew that if I was serious about making a clean break from the mistakes of the past, I’d need to be completely transparent with my doctor.
I’ve been seeing Dr. G for about 3 years and she is, without a doubt, the best doctor I have ever had. I immediately liked her on at first appointment, and after many visits she has become more than my doctor, she is a trusted friend.
By contrast, my previous doctor, though obviously competent and mildly pleasant, was largely aloof, and I never really felt a connection with him. I cannot imagine having a conversation with him like I knew I was going to have with Dr. G.
Despite a lingering reticence, I knew I needed to come clean. Anything less than total honesty with myself, my family, and my doctor would only prove that I wasn’t truly serious about making a break from my wayward past.
So, without a word of preamble I launched right into my confession, and I must say that admitting I’d been a fool proved to be surprisingly easy.
I had recently been on the other side of this kind of conversation as several students came to me right before graduation and expressed regret for their actions (or often inaction) in my class. In that situation, I knew I had the option of two very different responses, but I’ve taught long enough to know that only one of them would be productive.
Obviously, my doctor knew that too, because her response to my mea culpa was a warm smile. It was the pleasing smile a teacher displays when a struggling student finally masters some concept that had long eluded them.
I told her I had given up things like chips, donuts, and desserts and wasn’t even keeping them in my home. She responded with an enthusiastic “good for you” and I thought she’d be even more pleased when I told her that my primary snacks had become fruits like oranges and grapes.
I thought wrong.
She opened her computer to a website called sugarstacks.com and showed me how much sugar was in the most common fruits. I was shocked. Somehow, I had been living under the notion that fructose was the “good cop” alternative to table sugar’s “bad cop” reputation.
Yes, they were different kinds of sugars, but consuming either would cause a substantial increase in my blood sugar. Like on Law and Order, Lenny and Mike might play the good cop/bad cop routine, but in the end, they were exactly the same.
Oranges, a perfectly healthy snack for most people, were a bad choice for me. Dr. G pointed out that a large naval orange had about 2/3 of the sugar content as a can of Coca-Cola. At this point in our conversation warning bells were going off in my head and I started feeling the undertow of discouragement pulling me down. What was I going to eat?
“So”, I said, “are you talking about a low carb diet?”
“Of course,” she replied.
She then started talking about me finding healthier snack options like carrot sticks and I knew it wouldn’t be long before she brought up a most evil food so I cut her off with “I don’t think God intended us to eat celery.”
That gave her a big laugh which in turn lifted my spirits. I was encouraged to find snacks I liked that wouldn’t cause a spike in my blood sugar. I could eat all the protein I wanted and didn’t have to be obsessed with avoiding all fat.
Walking out of her office I recognized the challenge ahead of me and decided to embrace it. If I can correctly deduce that the clothespins at Walmart are on the same aisle as the irons, then I can do this.