There I was, freshly fallen down the hump protruding directly between thirty and forty years old; “middle-aged” (okay, maybe a slight exaggeration) and just into the second trimester of this third, and by far, hardest pregnancy. For 30 days and nights I had been starving my body of all things carb, making a most valiant effort in preparation for this one moment, the results of the dreaded glucose test. My plan was to get my all-clear, since I had been so careful, so meticulous about avoiding starches for the past month, and then rush downstairs for a nice and giant, fluffy, moist cupcake from the all-too conveniently located bakery in my Ob-Gyn’s lobby. Seldom do things go as planned.
I had already been experiencing unusual test results, incredible and never-ending nausea, an absolutely disgusting bout of thrush, a HERNIA, and now the harsh reality that I had full blown Gestational Diabetes -no retest required. Dr. Sigman gave me a look that simultaneously conveyed, “you’re done” but “it’s not too late!”. As in, you’re done eating cupcakes and you do have a choice, and a chance. Charles Dickens might well have sent a ghost, because I could see it all before me, the life I would lead if I didn’t make changes and place health as my number one priority. I’m not a medical professional, but I had already heard that women who experience gestational diabetes are up to 50% more likely to be diagnosed with Type II Diabetes later in life. I spent the rest of my pregnancy tracking blood sugar, keeping a food diary and devouring every bit of knowledge I could about diabetes, sugar and insulin. Armed with my own plan and tons of information, my specialist visits spaced further and further apart and I was able to manage the diabetes without a nutritionist and without medication.
You might think that was a happy ending, but not so fast. Most of my adult life, I hovered somewhere between overweight and obese. A health factor that theoretically is under my control, and a few times it has been, but ten years of being pregnant, nursing and caring for little people, working full time, and quite frankly depression, had taken a toll. I had only been home from the hospital for a few days after delivering the most beautiful, sweet, and wonderfully healthy baby girl, when I was readmitted with a new diagnosis. Something was wrong that I thought was just a reaction to the pain medication from my c-section, but it turned out to be Hypertension. My blood pressure was sky-high so, I went back to tracking, this time sodium along with the sugar, and added walking to my routine.
It turned out that diet and exercise really were the keys, but that was just the beginning. Over the next several months, I proceeded to lose 70 pre-pregnancy pounds. I am not a crazy or obsessive person, believe me, I am WAY TOO BUSY for that. Just kidding! I am both crazy and obsessive. Three kids, a husband and a full-time job, not withstanding. There are a lot of us for whom that is just reality, but reality can also be motivation. Today, I am a better wife, mother and employee because I put myself and my health first. If you’re standing at a cross-roads and happen to catch a ghostly glimpse of your possible future, I want you to know that you do have a choice and every chance to make changes that will make your whole life better.