Well, she held me to the bargain. When I was in my early 40s, I didnt even have a doctor to see, so she sent me to hers. It was 1985 and I felt just fine.
After my appointment, they called me back for a follow-up exam. The doctor said, "Andy, guess what? Youre diabetic." I couldn't believe it. I was a pudgy kid, but in my teens I had thinned out. I wasn't an athlete, but I exercised. I could easily knock off 100 push-ups and barely break a sweat. It just didnt seem real. Did I tell my family? No way. I couldn't bear to hear the "I told you sos," and I kept the diagnosis to myself for two years.
My doctor did set me up with a nutritionist, who gave me some suggestions on how to change my diet. But mostly the recommendation seemed to be to look at food labels and avoid them if any of the first three ingredients was sugar in any form. It was easy enough to do, so that's what I did. But it turned out that it wasnt the right thing to do.
About two years after my diagnosis, a woman in my karate class who was a nurse and type 1 diabetic told me she didnt think I was getting the right type of treatment. I started to see her doctor, who was an endocrinologist. The difference was like night and day.
He immediately put me on oral medications, and I had all kinds of tests for my eyes, kidney function, and cholesterol. I went through some highs and lows with my new medication, but I had improved hemoglobin A1c readings, which I had never even heard of before. It was all new to me, but I felt very secure and comfortable.
Then around 1989, I lost my job and my insurance. I was on COBRA, a health-insurance extension that covers you for up to 18 months after you leave a position and before you find another job with health insurance. Anyway, in my world, that [new job] didnt happen. Through some mix-up I did have a two-year supply of Glucotrol tablets, but I wasnt seeing my doctor. And the finger sticks, the glucose monitors all seemed so expensive. I started testing my blood sugar less and less. I thought, Im doing all right, I'm eating well, exercising, and taking Glucotrol. But I was on my own.