I have posted a couple of times in recent months (here and here) about being increasingly conscious of the fact I am getting older and increasingly susceptible to health issues (not least the small matter of, you know, dying).
I have also written – most recently here – about my latest attempt to lose weight and the surprising ease with which I have been succeeding (14 lbs in less than seven weeks as of this morning).
This morning, I’ve been to the doctor and discovered that the two are not unrelated.
I have diabetes.
With hindsight, I cannot believe I hadn’t put two and two together already. I have a family history of diabetes – my mother developed type 2 diabetes in her fifties – and, having just done a quick bit of research on the subject, it is clear that I have developed pretty much every symptom of the condition – the vast majority of which I was already aware of. (Although, in my defence, you can also put many of them down to having recently had a baby.)
An on-the-spot urine test supported my doctor’s initial diagnosis. (I will have blood tests done later this week to provide a definitive answer, but given my existing symptoms there can surely be little doubt.) I don’t yet know whether it’s type 1 or type 2 – apparently, around 85% of diabetics have the more easily-treatable type 2 – so a quick return visit to the doctor to find out more is in order.
It’s not the end of the world. According to Diabetes UK, 2.6m people in the UK – that’s about 4% of the population – have been diagnosed with diabetes, with a further half a million undiagnosed. The course of treatment – a healthy lifestyle, supplemented by medication (insulin in the case of type 1) – is long established. And as long as I am sensible about things (historically not always one of my strongest suits, admittedly), there is no reason why I should worry unduly. After all, my mother’s still going strong nearly 20 years after her initial diagnosis. Sir Steve Redgrave isn’t doing so badly either.
There are many, many worse things I could have been diagnosed with which would have had a far more limiting impact on my lifestyle and life expectancy, so you won’t catch me complaining about the hand I’ve been dealt. Maybe I could have prevented or delayed the onset of the condition by being a bit healthier over the last few years, but there’s no way of knowing and no point second-guessing myself. After all, with a family history of diabetes, I have known for a long time that I was at high risk of developing it. Now I do have the condition, all I can do is deal with it.
In the meantime, I’m going to process the news internally and handle it the way I normally handle this sort of thing. For one day I’m going to abandon the diet and I’m going to eat comfort food. Lots of it. Bring on the ice cream.