Two and a half minutes. I reckon that’s how long it took before the tears started.
I walked into my endo’s office and we exchanged pleasantries. I’ve been seeing her for over thirteen years now and there is an easy banter that we fall into.
I sat down and said, ‘I’m going to need tissues. Where are the tissues?’ And that was all it took. No one had even said the word ‘diabetes’ yet.
‘I’ve got no idea where to start. Things have been terrible. I’m all over the place. I feel like I have dropped the ball – really dropped the ball and I don’t know what to do to get back on top of things.’ I briefly explained the burnout, the rough couple of years, the grief I still feel shrouded in at times following the miscarriage. ‘Even when I feel like I am seeing some light, I fall too easily back. My self-care gets forgotten very easily. Very quickly. I can’t seem to get over my miscarriage and there are days that I feel so weighed down by the loss.’
She listened without interrupting, letting me blurt out what I needed to, sniffling my way through grottily. And then she waited. So I filled the silence.
‘I know that I am being too tough on myself,’ (there was a tiny, barely noticeable nod from her at this point). ‘And I know I would be quick to point out to anyone else saying these things that they need to be a little kinder to themselves. But I don’t give myself the same breaks. I feel like I’m letting myself down.
‘I don’t know where to begin. I didn’t get my blood work done before coming here. I just didn’t have it in me. I don’t want to see any results. But I am so angry at myself for not having it done and for not keeping on top of my complications screenings – I have never, ever been behind on this before. I’m even scared to have my BP taken because I am terrified that it is going to be high. And then I’m catastrophising that into equalling kidney problems, and eye problems. Even though I know my eyes are fine. That is one thing that I am up to date with. But I am anxious about my kidneys. I don’t know why.
‘I wrote about this yesterday on my blog. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to see you. And I really like you! But I don’t want to be here and having to think about my diabetes – and how little I’ve been thinking about my diabetes.’
The words dribbled out of me, sentences running into each other. Until I stopped. I wiped my eyes with a tissue and took a deep breath. We spent a while not talking about diabetes – instead discussing other things. We chatted about our trip to New York, the kidlet, my work. My tears had dried, the scrunched up, soggy tissue deposited into my bag.
‘Okay. Jump up on the bench and I’ll just check your BP,’ she then said. And I did. And it was fine. In fact it was better than fine. I asked her to repeat the numbers to me and a lump formed again at the back of my throat, and tears pricked my eyes, but I wiped them away. They’re just numbers. I know they’re just numbers. But they were not scary numbers. They were numbers that gave me a little confidence to find out more.
‘I suppose I should get weighed,’ I said. ‘Actually, do I need to?’
‘No. Not unless you want to.’ This led to a discussion about being weighed and how fraught that is. I decided that I wasn’t really ready to get on the scales. There was nothing I needed to know or do about my weight and it would make no difference to anything.
‘I need an A1c. And a coeliac screening too,’ I said.
‘We’ll run all the usual things and take it from there,’ she said.
When I walked out of her consultation room, I felt relieved. The insurmountable ‘I need to get back on track properly’ that had been my mantra in the lead up to the appointment had subsided and was replaced with a gentle list of a few things that I could do in the short term. I had some goals, I have some plans. I have another appointment in four weeks.
I drove home and walked into the house. ‘How was your appointment?’ asked Aaron. He knew how anxious I had been feeling about it. ‘It was good. My BP is awesome. I’m going back in four weeks.’ I changed the subject. That was all I needed for today. I didn’t want to speak about it anymore.