I was with my family doctor in the exam room. He was pulling up my records on his computer and asked rather rhetorically, “Why am I seeing you today?”  I explained that my quarterly cancer check blood test showed that my glucose level was “elevated.”  I could not see the computer screen, but I did see his head jerk back ever so slightly when he saw my glucose numbers.  “You have diabetes.” He announced.  Not pre-diabetes, not early diabetes, he continued, “You’ve probably had it a year or longer.”

He proceeded to sketch a rambling diagram on the wax-paper cover of the exam chair in an effort to explain the basics of diabetes, how my sugar is not getting into my muscles to become energy.  I asked how I might have suspected I had diabetes – what are the symptoms?

He asked if I was often thirsty or if I peed frequently?  “How could I ever be thirsty when I received a dump truck load of Mt Dew for a retirement gift?”  He asked, “Do you often feel fatigued?” Yes!  I answered quickly with surprising energy for someone so fatigued, “That seems to be my natural state since the stem cell transplant years ago.”

How about tingling in your feet? He continued. Yes!  I’ve had neuropathy in my feet since the chemo treatments with the stem cell transplant.

We realized I already had the symptoms that might have tipped me off to diabetes, and properly credited them to side effects from previous cancers or treatments.

He put his hand on my shoulder and offered a heart-felt, “I’m sorry” (about this unhappy diagnoses).  “It’s not cancer,” I told him. “I’ve had three cancers, one of them twice.   Diabetes is not cancer. That’s good news, I can live with it.”

I’ve taken the diabetes classes, was prescribed Metforman, learned to test blood sugar and have been monitoring.   Most importantly, I have greatly decreased my Mt Dew intake (also candy, pastries, ice cream, etcetera that I have been freely consuming as if I had immunity). My glucose numbers have been in the normal range since I began testing at home, roughly half the score that preceded the diabetes diagnoses.

Apparently, being diagnosed a diabetic is similar to being determined an alcoholic. Once an alcoholic, forever an alcoholic; even if you never drink again. I asked the diabetes class teacher, “If my blood sugar numbers return to and stay in the normal range, will I continue to be a diabetic?” Yes, but a diabetic under control.