Opting out

March 4, 2015

To whom it may concern,

I would like to opt out of your diabetes program.

I was first accepted into your program a little over two years ago, in January 2013. I don’t remember actually volunteering for this program; I think it must have happened when I was in the hospital with pancreatitis five years ago. I did spent a lot of time on painkillers then so who knows what I signed up for. Anyway, I went on the medication and cut down on sugary stuff, and it really wasn’t that big a deal. My wife had been in your program for three years already, and she’s doing just fine. She doesn’t even test her blood all that often anymore since her sugar numbers are under control. For a while, mine were too, but then near the end of 2014 I noticed them going up again. I attributed that to Christmas and a couple of weeks of less-than-healthy eating. I started eating better in January but the numbers didn’t come back down, so I went to see my doctor and she advanced me to level two of your program.

I first injected myself with insulin on January 23, 2015. I started with 5 units per day and was told to keep testing my blood 4-5 times a day, increasing the dosage by one unit every two days until the blood sugar numbers were where they were supposed to be. Six weeks later, my fingers are all bruised from pricking them with needles before and after almost every meal, and I’m at 22 units per day. The numbers have come down a fair bit but they’re still not quite in the range they need to be.

I miss you.I lost 10 pounds at the beginning and I’ve been maintaining the new weight ever since, but I’m getting tired of feeling hungry all the time. I’m tired of deciding between oatmeal or eggs for breakfast every day because they’re the only things that don’t spike my blood sugar. Luckily, the turkey sausage breakfast sandwich from Tim Horton’s isn’t bad either so I treat myself now and again. But what I wouldn’t give for a bagel or a regular old bowl of cereal, which I’ve lived on for breakfast for the last 45 years. I was never a Froot Loops or Cap’n Crunch kind of guy, but even a bowl of Cheerios shot my blood sugar up over 6 points. When the acceptable range is 4 to 7 and you generally start your day around 9, adding another 6 is not helpful.

Oddly, the insulin injections aren’t that big a deal but I’m tired of having to have a bedtime snack that contains protein, carbs and fat. I know that helps slow down the insulin absorption, which helps it to last all the next day, but sometimes I just want to go to bed and not think about what would be an appropriate snack. I suppose if I thought about it 20 minutes before I want to go to bed that would work, but it’s not part of my routine yet.

I’m tired of looking at everything I eat and wondering how it will affect my blood sugar. I’m tired of my eyesight getting worse and hoping it’s because I’m 45 and not because diabetes is making me blind. I’m tired of being scared with any change in my body, wondering if it’s caused by the diabetes or if it’s the beginning of another round of hospital visits. Or worse.

And of course, I’m tired of skipping desserts and cookies and anything that has sugar in it. We had to throw some cupcakes out the other day because they got stale; that would never have happened a year ago.

It’s not like it’s all bad, I do want to acknowledge the perks. The free annual eye exam is nice, and the fact that I can seemingly eat all the crackers and cheese, eggs, and peanut butter I want and not gain weight is OK too. But the bit about “eat a cookie now, and we’ll wait 20 years before chopping some toes off ” is a little harsh.

In conclusion, I appreciate your interest in having me in this program, but I would really like to opt out and resume my previous lifestyle. Thanks for your attention in this matter, and please let me know how we proceed from here.


Graeme Perrow

This “letter” was written with tongue firmly in cheek. Sure this whole diabetes thing is a drag but quite honestly, I’m managing it fine. This was kind of fun to write and allowed me to whine about aspects of having diabetes that that bug me, but if it sounds like I’m moping around the house all the time thinking “woe is me, it’s so hard“, I’m really not.

I know full well that there are many people that have it far worse than I do. There are type 1 diabetics who have it worse. There are people with things like colitis and lupus and depression and cancer and a hundred other things, and those people have it worse. I have a wonderful wife who I adore, two great kids who I am very proud of, family, friends, a career I enjoy, and other than the diabetes, my health is pretty good. At the end of the day, my bed is very comfortable. I really do love my life.


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