Written March 16, 2009
I love my Endocrinologist. For the first time, in 23 years, I can say that. Whew! Took me long enough to find Dr. Berelowitz. You always have to wait an hour past your appointment to see him but he’s totally worth it. One of the many things I love about him is he talks into his laptop. Instead of typing, he talks. I love when he says ‘Period. New Line.’ It makes Amanda & I giggle.
I went to see Doc B on Friday to review my pump progress and blood work. Plus, I had several questions for him, as usual. He came in with his South African accent, hair all flustered, laptop in hand, ready for business. He always shakes my hand. He apologized for running behind and got straight to work. My A1C is a 6.8. Woooo!! My A1C hasn’t changed in 9 months. That’s fantastic for a Type 1! For those who don’t know, an A1C is measured by a blood test which shows your average blood glucose level over the past 3 months. The goal for Diabetics is to be under 7%. A normal person should have an A1C below 6%.
Doc B then gave a little lesson. He grabbed his marker and went to the whiteboard. I previously drew a shamrock on his whiteboard because I was bored. He laughed, gave it a checkmark and said he was moving me to the head of the class. Then he began to teach. He said things that I had already learned on my own but hearing him say it was worse than I imagined it would be.
He began: ‘Let’s break a body into ‘self’ and ‘non-self’. Non-self’ referring to things such as the flu virus. ‘Self’ referring to things such as your pancreas. Antibodies sense ‘non-self’ and send out troops to attack. Thereby fighting off the flu and such.’ Doc B was drawing, writing and speaking like an English professor. ‘When you were in your mother’s womb, your antibodies started to attack your ‘self’, namely your pancreas. This caused Diabetes and is why it is considered an anti-immune disease. You’ve had Diabetes for 20+ years and it’s been having a party in your body. Now, it’s starting to invite all the cousins to the party. You have Hashimoto’s Disease. Your antibodies have begun to attack your thyroid. This we can control using Synthroid and have already begun this process. Your antibodies have also begun to attack your B12. It’s at a low normal level so I want you to go to Trader Joes and take some sublingual B12. Later, we will move on to shots. The good news is that you don’t have Celiac.’ That cousin is not invited, I say aloud. I mentally say ‘Hashimoto’s! Huy!’
What is so funny is that I had written on my list to ask him about B12 shots. It’s like I self-diagnosed my problem before I was even told. I’m awesome.
I loved that he took the time to explain everything to me and let me know what is going on. I really do. It was my fault that I became dramatic after I left the office. I am so busy being strong 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that I forget the end result. I forget..or push back into the depths of my soul…the magnitude of my lot in life. The full spectrum of what my body fails at. For the most part, I am still under the misconception that I am invincible. It’s a rare and gut wrenching moment when reality sets in and I realize that I am sick. I have a disease. An incurable disease that will undoubtedly be the death of me. I started wondering if my body is finally breaking down. If what is going on inside me is finally starting to win. I had visions of pills, needles, procedures…I had visions of doom, destruction and demise. It sucked. I allowed them to fester until I was ½ way home.
It was then that I emerged from my doomsayer musings and looked at my daughter. I remembered why, no matter how much is wrong in my life, no matter who is invited to the party inside my body, no matter how bad it gets….the good is so much better. My life is an amazing thing to be lived, by anyone, and I’m so glad it’s mine.
So, I took a deep breath, pushed back the tears and negative thoughts, gave Diabetes the finger and drove home to have a real party with my friends.