On the Beauty of Stretch Marks

Oh stretch marks, how I’ve loathed you.

Evidence of my late night binges, my waltz with the ice cream bucket at 2 AM when no one else was there to dance.

The permanent reminder of my battle with myself, will power versus the emptiness, the whisper of self control versus knowing that ‘just one more bite’ will never be. The guilt. The shame.

But I respect you. The red road map that I once decried as repulsive, now battle scars that prove my own fortitude. I have fought against the most difficult of adversaries, my own mind.

I have fought my own tendency to turn to food for comfort, to soothe a broken heart, a lonely night, an empty spirit, so easy to mistake as an empty stomach.

My body, once stretched to the breaking point, has mirrored my mind, my spirit, which too had been worn thin.

Now I can finally look upon these silvery streaks that still pucker the surface of my skin, even after all these years, without regret. I remember how far I’ve come, how far I can go, and that I am not damaged beyond repair. Just a little scratched up.

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Thoughts on diabetes

As a person living with type 2 diabetes, I feel that there are some things I want to get out of the way before I move on to far more important topics (like what I had for lunch today).  I should mention that I am not a health care professional or a scientist, so these are just things I’ve picked up over the past 3 years.

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There are several misconceptions about diabetes that aren’t exactly being helped by media portrayal of type 2s.

You do not have to be overweight to get type 2 diabetes, and not all overweight people will assuredly get type 2 diabetes.

I’m totally serious. I saw a Discovery special about a 700-pound woman with no sign of diabetes.

Many type 2s are normal weight, but just are genetically prone to developing this disease. Being overweight is a risk factor though, so it’s important to maintain a healthy weight. I’m pretty sure being so overweight so young probably triggered my symptoms. I should mention that most of my family is diabetic.

Being fat or having a poor diet alone will not give you diabetes. Again, this disease has a genetic factor that is important. If you don’t have the family background or genetic mutations, you probably won’t get diabetes.

Even if you are like I was as a college freshman, and decide that a Snickers bar is totally appropriate lunch fare.

If fat was the only qualifier so many more people in this country would have it.

So many more, in fact, that I would probably be able to find a better low carb donut than one I found on Pinterest made of flaxseed meal.

 Type 2 diabetes is not yet curable (or reversible as a lot of magazines and TV doctors like to call it).  You can eat as much salad as you want, you can swear off bread, pasta, those fuzzy pink coconut snow balls, exercise 6 hours a day, and you will still be diabetic. I’m sorry, but if you hear otherwise people are trying to scam you or are just misinformed. A tightly controlled diabetic with minimal symptoms is still a diabetic. Give them a big piece of German chocolate cake and their blood sugar will spike up like any one of us non-reversed guys. I’ve lost 30 pounds, most of that after being diagnosed, and I’m telling you I am still diabetic. I am mindful of my carbohydrates, I eat salad for lunch almost every day, exercise, and I still have diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes IS serious, and type 1 should not be known as “the bad kind”.  I live with my type 1 diabetic boyfriend. We both have to test our blood sugars, we both have to watch what we eat, we both have to make sure that we live well so that we don’t end up with horrible complications.

We also both attract mosquitoes like crazy, but I’m not sure if that’s a diabetic thing.

Unlike me, my boyfriend can do a shot of short-acting insulin to cover the food he eats (within reason). If his sugar spikes up a little too high, he can correct it. I cannot. There is not much I can do as a type 2 diabetic other than restrict carbs and go for a walk. Which is fine, moving is good for you, but sometimes it is harder to be type 2. We have to deal with insulin resistance, weight gain, and a stigma that we are lazy and simply spend too much time eating M&Ms.

Should I mention how svelte and thin he is too? I hear that insulin resistance is a total bikini bod killer. And M&Ms are good. Though, I’d be skeptical of any disease that was cured purely by their absence.

Lastly, no one, NO ONE, brought this upon themselves. This is something I hear from type 2s all too often – they are blamed for their disease. Does lifestyle play a role? Absolutely. But before judging someone on their lifestyle, can you honestly say yours is much better? I know very few people who have never been to a fast food restaurant or rarely eat processed foods. I think I might have known one raw-foods-only person in my whole life.

Last I heard he eats nothing but blended kale and cucumbers. I may or may not be exaggerating.

Everyone has different circumstances and different levels of health and nutritional education. Chronic disease is serious; it’s a daily struggle. So before you judge a type 2 diabetic, think about what they have to deal with. Constant finger pricking, nauseating oral medications, some of us do injections.

And a mental condition I lovingly call Carb OCD. Have you ever thought about how many carbs are in 1/4th of a pancake from IHOP and how it would figure into your daily carb limit? What about if you add a drizzle of syrup? Oh no it’s starting…

Thank you for indulging me in my diabetic PSA. I understand that it might not be interesting, but these are things that should be said because so many people have the wrong ideas about diabetes.

And for curious minds, there are 23g of total carbohydrate in one IHOP buttermilk pancake. I don’t know about the syrup. 

Aww, it looks so good.

Am I the only one…

Every 4 years the Summer Olympics comes on.

Every 4 years I want to do gymnastics but remember that despite being the right height for it, I am too old, not flexible enough, and well, about 50 pounds too heavy. But that doesn’t stop me from rolling around on my exercise mat like a fool.

 

Pleased to meet you

I’ve heard many things about life. It’s a journey, a road trip, a series of steps to different destinations, a progression of doors, rooms, and random other beings you happen to come across in your wanderings through them. I’ve even heard it described as what happens between finding places to sit down.

Well, today I happen to find myself on the edge of 22 years old, in a slightly too-cold Starbucks and sitting in a comfortable leather chair.

Trust me when I say I know a comfortable chair.

My journey through life, although short, has been all manners of bumpy, confusing, joyous, strange, and with plenty of places to sit down. Perhaps too many.

I have always known the feeling of overweight. I have always known fat, chubby, or as my mom liked to call it “healthy”. That is, until I hit adolescence, then it was just shameful. At age 22 I have never known what it’s like to feel beautiful, sexy, or dare I say it, hot.

When I was 17 I hit my highest weight, 185 pounds. At barely 5 feet tall, that’s quite a feat.

At age 18 the summer after my freshman year at college and after slimming down to a slightly more respectable 172 pounds, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Although it should have been shocking, it wasn’t. Both of my parents are diabetic and many other family members as well. Type 2 diabetes is a notoriously genetic disease and I happened to hit the jackpot of the human lottery. The only surprise was how early it struck and the fact that I, a pre-med student who had just studied basic human anatomy, had absolutely no idea.

Freshmen pre-meds have an inflated sense of self-importance and tend to overestimate their own medical knowledge. I should know.

I have been diabetic for a little over 3 years. I have lost about 30 pounds since I was 17, and am trying to get to a place that is healthy and doesn’t elicit raised eyebrows from my doctor.

Through the years I, like many other people who have been “the fat kid”, have hidden away, scared to tackle life and experience all that it has to offer. I have turned down offers to go to parties, invites to go clubbing, even going out to dinner because of self-consciousness.

So, at 22 I decided that the time has come from me to accept my experiences for what they were and appreciate what I learned from my own life. It’s time I start living my life instead of hiding from it.

So, this is my journey, and I would love to have you come along for the ride.