I’m sure a few of you realized that we have been missing in action this summer, and unfortunately I was a big part of the reason why, as I’ve been ill for the majority of the summer. Although I am now back (and finally feeling great!) and ready to start blogging again, read on to get the details. (Suffice to say this summer for me was totally on brand for 2020.)
In June, I found out that my diagnosis of pre-diabetes had actually turned into full fledged diabetes. The real deal. Now, this wasn’t a big surprise to me-I’m 10 years older than my younger brother was when he got HIS diagnosis. I’m 10 years older than my dad was when he got HIS diagnosis. My grandmother and multiple other family members carry this diagnosis as well. So again, no big surprise. And let’s be fair, I HAD been very lax about my diet while in lockdown. I HAD been stressed to the max with caring for COVID patients at my job as an emergency physician. I hadn’t exercised in…well who even remembers when the last time that was.
So I was happy when my physician referred me to an endocrinologist to figure out what my options were for treatment. (Let’s just say they’ve changed greatly since I went to medical school over 20 years ago!) The endocrinologist was great, understood my crazy lifestyle, and prescribed a medicine that did have some known side effects, but those side effects generally went away by 4 weeks. The medicine was taken by injection once a week which I could handle (in other words remember to take), and shouldn’t require any increased monitoring. Sounded great. I assured him that I could tolerate it and went to fill the prescription.
This is where the story goes a little off of the rails. I have decent health insurance. Sure, it’s high deductible with an HSA, and not the amazing health insurance that I remember from when I took my first job 20 years ago, but it’s fairly good, and certainly better than a lot of other insurance that’s out there. However, upon getting to the pharmacy I was told this medicine (with my insurance) would cost over $900 out of pocket for a 4-5 week supply. Whoa. I did some research, found a coupon, and was able to get it for $660 for a 4-5 week supply. Still ridiculous, but I had already almost hit my deductible, and definitely would by the end of the year, so I decided to buy the first syringe. After all, if it would keep me off of insulin (also unbelievably expensive) I was in.
The first week wasn’t bad, a little nausea, no appetite, but tolerable. By week two I was nauseated 5 out of 7 days. By week 3 I was vomiting and nauseated all but 1 day a week. So why didn’t I quit? Well, I was told that around 4 weeks it would get better, and I’m nothing if not able to delay gratification (hello all of my years and years of medical training…). Stubborn to the max, I doubled down and continued on.
As you can imagine, in a state of constant nausea, food was the enemy. I couldn’t think about cooking, couldn’t think about recipe development. It was all I could do to pull the veggies out of my garden and find people to give them to, because I could barely eat them. I didn’t want take out, I didn’t want to go out, I couldn’t eat. I absolutely couldn’t think about blogging about food, and I had no lifestyle at that point.
Fast forward to week 9. I had lost 30 pounds, but not in any good or sustainable way. I was vomiting almost every day and eating almost never. If I kept down a piece of fruit in a day that was a really good day. Problem being, it was also getting more difficult to stay hydrated. The line was finally drawn when I almost passed out during a family photo session. After going to the ER for fluids, it was time to find a new plan. One that let me go back to the food that I so dearly love. I had to accept that this just wasn’t the medicine for me.
After another virtual visit with the endocrinologist we now have a new plan. I’m on a new medicine, one that is not giving me any side effects. I’m back to eating (and enjoying) food. I’m already planning next years garden. I’ve made a whole bunch of new recipes that have gotten my family through the past few months (I’ll share them soon). Hopefully this medication will also result in better glucoses!
But for now I’m going to enjoy feeling like myself again and reveling in the things I love!