In 2004 I decided to join Team Diabetes in memory of her. I raised $5500 for diabetes research and walked a marathon in Rome. The training, the fundraising, and the walk itself were all immensely challenging, but of course these challenges are miniscule compared to what she dealt with in her daily life, managing her diabetes.
All this by way of saying that I have known the word "diabetes" for way too long, and it has a lot of scary implications for me. My uncle has diabetes as well, and as a result he can no longer walk without a walker, and he can't use his hands very effectively (can't open a can of pop or cut his meat). In the early 2000s, after a lifetime of being overweight, I worked really hard to lose fifty pounds and learn how to eat healthily. I did this not only for my vanity and self-confidence but for my health - to protect myself against the terrifying diabetes, among other things.
This week Lillian asked me if I wanted to get the gestational diabetes test done. Now, one of the very first things I asked her, ages and ages ago in my first pregnancy, was if I had to do that "nasty glucose drink" test, because I'd heard for years how dreadful it was. Being a midwife, she assured me that there were no "have-tos" and I happily banished the test from my mind, resting comfortably in the knowledge that if there were any kind of problem, it would show up in my monthly urine tests. But in discussing it with her this week, I learned several new things.
- A problem would not necessarily show up in the urine test;
- If gestational diabetes went undiagnosed, I would likely continue to feel well, but my baby could end up growing to gigantic proportions, making delivery difficult and possibly increasing the chances of a C-section birth;
- If gestational diabetes were diagnosed, it would be managed with diet for the third trimester in hopes of avoiding a gigantibaby;
- And finally, that there was a way of testing for it that didn't involve the nasty glucose drink, and would probably be more accurate than the nasty glucose drink test.
With all of those factors, and her pointing out my maternal grandmother and my age as factors that would suggest testing would be pertinent, I felt I owed it to my potentially gigantibaby to say yes. It was only that evening as I lay in bed that I realized the depth of my desire to stick my head in the sand and ignore any potential link between diabetes and my life. I was nervous about getting the test, because what if it was positive? What then?
Chris, as is his habit, said all the right things - that gestational diabetes did not mean I would get "real" diabetes, that even if I did we would manage it (his exact words were, "We would be so on that"), and that no matter what the test results were it didn't make me a bad or irresponsible person. (How did he know that's what I feared the most?) I went and did the test yesterday morning and am now somewhat anxiously awaiting the results, especially since I kind of think I screwed it up. More on that in the next post.