Welcome back to the kitchen! Our Labor Day weekend plans were to be at Em’s first volleyball tournament of her junior collegiate year. I knew The Hubs desperately wanted to go. On his own terms, he came to realize that not only I couldn’t travel but he couldn’t leave me alone. I called The Folks. Without any hesitation, they packed their bags, put aside their holiday weekend plans, and headed out on a twelve hour drive each way. They are stark believers that parents need to attend kid’s events, even adult children’s events.
The Hubs called Em to break the news that we weren’t coming. His voice choked up telling her. I heard Em scream with excitement during the call. Right after, The Hubs teared up saying, “Em absolutely loves your parents.”
Our Labor Day weekend was rennetless. I couldn’t see and what slight vision I did have was getting worse by the minute. The Hubs took on many hats–chef, nurse, disciplinarian and cleaned up my many “accidents” when I couldn’t make it. He never oncecomplained. The Folks called hourly with an update from the gym bleachers.
Thursday finally arrived. My first appointment with Doc Lopez. I was scared shitless. I worried if my vision was ever coming back. For the first time in my life, the clinic’s scale wasn’tthe top stressor. It was the second stressor. The Hubs brought me into the clinic. He waited in the parking lot. The Folks waited by their phone.
Doc Lopez’ Summary and Orders:
1. “You are lucky you didn’t have a stroke. Your numbers are off the charts. You have an extremely high sugar count in your urine—that only happens when you’ve maxed out the blood range. You’ve been diabetic for years.”
2. “We need to get you into an eye appointment immediately. Luckily, it seems like no other nerve or organ damage has happened. You got here and to the ER in the nick of time. Do you realize that?”
3. “If you listen, I can save your life. If not, you will die by the time you are fifty.”
4. He drew a big circle onto the white paper of the patient examine bed. “Tell me what your dinner plate will look like?” I didn’t understand. “Your plate, what’s on that plate?” he asked. I shrugged my shoulders. “One half of every plate is going to be a lettuce salad with olive oil and lemon dressing, no other dressings. Ranch only in a tablespoon. Then ¼ of your plate is your protein—eat whatever meat you want at every meal. The other ¼ of the plate, a good carb only—like an exceedingly small potato or spoon of rice.”
5. “I need you to drink half your body weight in water (ounces) every day. Nothing else and don’t believe those diet teas—they are full of artificial flavoring—which means sugar. Anything that is flavored as orange, grape, peach are full of sugar. Even when it says its sugar free. Water.”
6. “You need a 12 hour fast every 24-hour period. Don’t eat anything after 7 pm and test your blood at night and in the morning. Keep track of your numbers—we need it at 100.” I questioned this and said my friend/physician said 150. “Are you going to listen to me or fight me?” he asked.
7. “You can’t have more than 20 to 40 carbs a day. Your body can’t process the sugar. That means absolutely no flour, sugar, root vegetables—nothing from the ground, carrots, bananas, corn, peas, fruit, artificial sugars, peppers, milk, ice cream, yogurt, margarine, vegetable oil, bread and read all labels. Use regular butter, sour cream, salad, meat, eggs and cheese. Write out exactly what you eat and eat at least three times a day. Exercise. You must do something for only 20 minutes, 5 times a week.”
8. “You are a mess—very unhealthy person. You will be seeing me every 20 days for now. Do you agree?”
He left the room. The nurse came in and said, “how’d it go?” “Not too bad—but I am still freaking out about my vision!”
I got into our car. The Hubs knew not to ask many questions. I called The Folks—who listened, they didn’t say anything, and ended the one-sided conversation with their standard, “Wonderful—just wonderful. Ok, um huh, wonderful.” Em has learned to mimic their standard lineperfectly.
“Wonderful? Jesus, wonderful? That’s all they can say?” I asked The Hubs. “They care more than anyone. You know that!” he told me.
What no one knew is that I felt a tremendous amount of guilt, I was angry at myself for letting myself get to that point. We got into a new routine—The Hubs would make breakfast and I would sulk. I would physically sit crying my eyes out for the first week—feeling so much guilt and hate toward myself. “I can’t see you like this anymore—it’s not you.” he told me, asking how many eggs I wanted.
We struggled together. I wanted desperately to be able to “see” Em playing volleyball—I couldn’t even make out her body on the court, let alone see her uniform number.
After my next appointment, Doc Lopez gave me the results of my recent blood work. Basically, my AIC was the highest it could be. He told me it was time for insulin. I argued with him. He gave in and said, “prove me wrong.”
Little did he know that I did everything in my life unconventionally. I proved him wrong. After about a month, we were able to finally travel to a weekend of Em’s games. The Folks joined us. While I couldn’t read the game program, I was there. It was a wonderful feeling and quite frankly, all that mattered.
Over the next six months, and now every 60 dayroutine check-ups, I’m medicine free, 60 pounds lighter and have returned back to my kitchen, a place I came to despise for six months. Doc Lopez told me I could start trying almond or coconut flours with an artificial sugar—cautioning as a “treat” maybe every few weeks.
I hesitated. I decided one day to make cheeseburger soup. I brought a container of it to The Folks. They cried when they saw what I did and made. “What?” I asked, wondering what on earth got into them?
“We’ve been waiting for this day. We’ve been praying for this day. Just wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.”
I still have frequent “accidents” and if by mistake, I eat sugar even disguised as flour, oil, etc.—I get very sick.I started this blog with the intent that only the first few posts would be about the guts of my story—correct that OUR journey—I don’t do doom and gloom well. It’s not in my blood type. Now, neither is sugar in my blood and I’m living the best wonderful life I know. Thanks to Doc Lopez, who tells me I did 90% of the heavy lifting. He was just a tiny amount of the success.
Come back to my kitchen tomorrow—for my run ins with Hot Doctor and my vision. You’ll see what I mean—he’s “the” Hot Doctor.
We’re on a roll. Life is sweet.
All this made with LOVE!
Jayne (aka The No Sugar Baker!)
Here’s the No Sugar Baker Wonderful Cheeseburger Soup—wonderful, just wonderful. Yes, that is the gift of life!
No Sugar Baker Wonderful Cheeseburger Soup
1 pound ground beef
4 Ts. butter, divided
3/4 C. chopped onion
1/2 C. shredded organic non-orange colored carrots
3/4 C. diced celery
¾ C. chopped green and yellow peppers
1 chopped sweet potato (if you prefer)
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried parsley flakes
2 ts. each salt and pepper
4 Cups chicken broth
4 Cups Velveeta, cubed
1/4 C. Flour (regular or almond)
1 ¼ C. heavy whipping cream
½ C. sour cream
Brown the beef in large saucepan, adding the onion. Remove and drain the grease. Bring back to a rolling simmer. Add all vegetables to saucepan, chicken broth, and all seasonings. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 8 minutes. Reduce heat and add Velveeta cheese. Stir until fully creamed and melted. Melt butter and mix with flour. Pour mixture into soup. Add heavy whipping cream and sour cream. Continue to stir and combine. The soup should be at a low simmer until your appropriate eating temperature. Serve and enjoy!