Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Kathy, is that you?

When I returned from summer break last month, my office was switched to a new location a few doors down from where I was so sometimes people have a hard time finding me.  Today a woman who works at our district office, who I have known for a good 15 years or so, was visiting our campus to meet with a few students.  She generally pops in to say hello to me when she's there.  When she walked up to my office, I recognized her right away.  That wasn't the case for her, though.  She looked at me sitting at my desk with absolutely no recognition of who I was, even though I was smiling at her.  She backed up, looked at the signs on my door and nearby window that said my name, and then looked back at me as she walked in.

"Kathy, oh my goodness, is that you?"

"Hi!  Yes, it's me.  How are you?"

"Oh my gosh, look at you!!  How much weight have you lost?"

It kind of tickled me inside to see her reaction to me.  It had been a few months since she's seen me, so I forget how strikingly different I look to people that don't see me everyday.  She told me she literally didn't know who I was.  This from a person who has known me for 15 years.  That really struck me ... I have no conception of how different I must appear to other people.  When it gets to the point that people who know you well don't even recognize you, well that says a lot.  That's an important lesson for me to remember when my head gets in that space of insisting that I can't see the difference when I look in the mirror.  Sometimes I still see myself as I was.  I don't know if that's because I can't accept where I am now, if I have blinders on when it comes to my own body or what exactly the reason is.  What I am doing to take care of my health affects other people, too.

Speaking of taking care of my health, I received some great news from the lab work I had done at the clinic yesterday.  As is the practice for all Optifast patients that go through Kaiser, we have blood drawn every other week to ensure our levels are where they should be in all respects while on the program.  For me, since I'm diabetic, they will occasionally run other tests.  One of those tests that I had yesterday is called Hemoglobin A1C.  This test measures your average blood sugar numbers over the course of 2-3 months.  It's different than pricking your finger every day because those results can be skewed based on when you last had a shake, time of day or other factors.  So, they give the results to you in a percentage.  Look at my results.

Just to help you interpret what you're seeing, the line graph above shows results of all of my A1C tests over the course of the last two and a half years.  Prior to starting Optifast in February, all of my numbers were about 9.5% and higher.  For a person with diabetes, doctors want you to aim for around a 7%.  When I started the program, it took a while to wean me off the medication and insulin.  So my first A1C test after starting was done in April and that was 8.9%.  Then the last time they did it, it dropped to 6.7%.  As a point of reference, the normal range for a non-diabetic is a 6% or lower.  The results from yesterday have me at 5.9%.   Ladies and gents, that means that I'm normal! 

As a person who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes twelve years ago and has struggled the entire time to have normal blood sugar levels, this is absolutely huge.  Gigantic.  Enormous.  Really big.  If I never lost a pound doing this program, it would have been worth it just for these blood sugar results.  I remember when I was looking into getting the bypass done, before I considered Optifast, and my doctor was explaining to me that people with type 2 diabetes generally have normal numbers within a couple of weeks of having the surgery, if not right away.  I thought about that as some sort of incredible miracle.  At the time, I didn't realize it was possible to have those sorts of results without having surgery.  Later, when I had gone to see my doctor about doing this program, she did tell me that some patients completely reverse their diabetes.  And, for others, they are able to maintain normal numbers.  I never, not in my wildest dreams, imagined I could be one of those people for either scenario.  In fact, when I went to the medical office yesterday to check in with the nurse practitioner to give her my daily blood sugar numbers, she told me that I can see her every few weeks now since I'm normal.  This was something she said before we even received the results of the latest tests. 

When I am having rough days with the emotions that come with losing all this weight, it is a great reminder to me that this is the path I am absolutely supposed to be on.  This is exactly what I am talking about when I say I am working on taking care of my health.  It's not about what size my jeans are ... it's about being a person with normal blood sugar.  In essence, a non-diabetic.  Wow, just w-o-w!!


Post a Comment