Writing with Type 2 Diabetes

Before I get into the writing part I need to explain the journey.

Just over a year ago I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

This was a huge issue for me. I was always the one in the family who was the “normal” one. I was fit, happy and didn’t have to worry too much, but my body slowly started to betray me and I didn’t think that this is something that would happen to me, because it just didn’t.

But it did.

And I’m here one year and one month later feeling very much like my old self again. I didn’t think that I would ever get there.

The tiredness I felt was almost bone deep. I felt like I could sleep forever and it wasn’t the normal pre-menstrual sleepiness that I was used to. Beyond that? I couldn’t really tell you what my symptoms were. Perhaps the sugar headaches that were a disguise for migraines were a warning sign I ignored but I still can’t put my finger to it.

My curiosity to want to look into how my body was doing and what was normal and what wasn’t normal was the catalyst for what made me go and get blood tests to see what was happening. I was thinking that it was just going to be my vitamin B levels or even my iron. I was one hundred per cent ready to find out that I needed an iron infusion instead I was told this: You’ve got diabetes.

My brain crumbled. I was like say what? My doctor at the time wanted to get some more tests and gave me a script for meds. Did I want to take them? Hell no. Am I? Yes. Do I want to be on them still? No, but I understand their part in everything.

The second blood test I had confirmed my diabetes and like many I didn’t have an awful sugar test, I was preparing for it but I don’t think it was necessary as it runs through my family and that enough to confirm and diagnose.

There I was, I was conflicted about taking my meds, and personally I don’t like that I was just given meds with no actual movement to get my diet under control. I’m still pretty annoyed at that and now I need to find ways to come off my meds without hurting myself, but I’m fasting forwarding here.

After I was diagnosed, I did two things: I got myself a kick arse PT and I finally pushed myself to see a naturopath.

These two things have been my absolute saviour when it has come to managing my diabetes.

My amazing PT has become one of my close friends and confidant. She has pulled me out of my shell and managed to make me fall in love with moving my body again. I can’t say that I love HIIT but my body does and I have come to love burpees even more…and they’ve become easier. I was measured and weighed the first time over a year ago and I was at my heaviest I had ever been and I wanted to get down. I had been training with her for two months when I lost 2kg. It might not seem like much but after not moving a lot and going to the gym sporadically I was able to find something to motivate me, I wanted to get more.

Just before COVID hit I had started what was scariest to me: boxing. And can I tell you something? I fucking fell in love with boxing. It was always something I had wanted to do and I wanted to join a class but the thought of doing it in a class situation and I seize up. I don’t like playing with others that I don’t know, but being able to do this with someone who specialises in boxing as well as HIIT made me giddy. We started off slow and I had to learn to unstick my feet – something I am still struggling with now – but I was able to find that it was a great tool for clarity.

It helped me work through my anger issues and the angrier I am, the harder the sessions are, I love it. By the end of it I come out feeling new and like I can do anything.

I don’t have scales at home, but the last time I was at the doctor’s I was down to 73kgs and my clothes…all of them…are all fitting again. I am working my way down back to my goal weight and I’m doing it slow and steadily. I’m not into doing it fast, I want to put in systems that will allow me to keep the weight off because I have habits in place and not quick fixes.

The second thing I did was find an amazing naturopath who actually explained to me what my diabetes meant and helped me understand the numbers. I am the kind of person who believes that knowledge is the most powerful we can all have and when I was armed with what my numbers were and where they needed to be I actually felt relief. I could control this and I could get past it. My numbers aren’t too high and that meant that I could beat it. I’ve gotten book after book and most of them have the quick fixes with using shakes to get rid of diabetes and that’s fine for others but not me. I’m a Greek woman and if you come between food and myself? Well there will be hell to pay. My fiancé seems to laugh at me when I get hangry so definitely don’t need that reminder.

This has been such an important step because my numbers have started to drop. My liver function was down and my HBA1C dropped a whole point! The change in my diet (which has fluctuated little since stage 4 hit) and moving my body has helped in ways I didn’t realise it would. Being in control and educated about how my body works and what to look out for has actually helped me more than words can express.

I’m clearer, I’m sleeping better and my moods feel way better.

I’m finally able to come back to the page and not feel like I need a nap the instant I sit down to write anything, and that’s the real reason writing had been a struggle. I went on about how I had a form of writer’s block, and I was owning it but this has just shown me that it’s more situations that block us rather than ourselves.

I haven’t had this much trouble since my Dad passed away and this was a different kind of block. One where I physically just couldn’t work. But I’m getting past that and I’m on the other end now. I’m coming back and I feel like I’m finally strong enough to get back into my habit of smashing through it all.

It has been interesting dealing and starting to heal my diabetes but it has put a few things into perspective and I’m ready and raring to go. I want to get past this and see what I can do.

But really the writing part? It’s starting to come back to me in waves, I’m following them slowly and it’s definitely something that I am starting to understand.

Rest is important but also so is moving my body. I find that if I don’t move my body then it’s much harder to get me going and much harder to actually feel like I want to do anything.

Writing has always been a part of me and I still love it. I don’t know if I will ever not love it but it is harder to do it. My brain feels like it’s foggy at times and I am second guessing myself a lot but that I know I have the tools to come back to what I need. A lot of the process has been just trying to trust myself, even when I think I’m doing the wrong thing.

I also fell out of love for reading and until recently I actually didn’t think I would find it again, but after reading this book, I found a renewed sense of fun with it. And I’m trying to read more and scroll less. It doesn’t always happen but I am working on it.

Anyone that falls out of love with their work, I always tell them to go back and read it after some time has passed because you’ll find out that the words and the story is really actually good. Really good, in fact, and this is almost enough to get you writing again. I know that it has been for me. I started to re-read my novel I’m going to continue doing for NaNoWriMo (and probably the 3rd bloody NaNo because Travis is an arsehole) and I’m actually really excited at the story that’s there. It’s raw, yes, but that is part of the beauty. It’s enough to hook me in and get me back into writing.

I’m still a long way off from my peak but you know what? I’m ok with it. I’m ok with actually find the time to carve it all out and get back to the page so I can be better, stronger and fall back in love with being able to write again.

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Mandi is a writer, reader, dreamer and is breaking procrastinating inner editors, one at a time.

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