My name is Zorka and I am 76 years old. I am a widow and a mother of 2 kids, a son and a daughter and a grandmother to three grandkids, two boys from my daughter and a girl from my son. I have been suffering from type2 diabetes for about 35 years. I had a genetic predisposition to get diabetes, so I knew there was a great chance I could actually get it because my brother and sister were diagnosed with it, a little bit before me. Unfortunately they died because of it.
I didn’t have the classic symptoms like thirst, increased urination, and sweating that would have warned me I was getting diabetes. Considering my father had diabetes, and when my brother and sister got sick, I started checking my blood sugar level once a year. That is how I found out I was suffering from diabetes when I was about 35.
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For the first ten years, I wasn’t taking any medication; I was only using my diet as a weapon against diabetes-that was a big change for me and my life style. To understand my eating habits before getting diabetes I think it is enough to say that I was only 5 years old when the Second World War started, so I really didn’t have a wild range when it came to food. A habit of eating a lot of bread that I got in that time, stayed with me until I got diabetes and I didn’t have another choice but to lower the intake of it. Even though I ate lots of bread and pastries I was never obese, and obesity is one of the things linked with diabetes. I ate fruits and vegetables rarely, only when I had to. I was very fussy when nutrition was in the matter. That is probably because I thought I will never get sick and that those kinds of things only happen to other people. Now, when I take insulin twice a day, I would advise everyone that it is much easier to change your eating habits than fight an awful disease such as diabetes.
I started applying the diet they gave me only after my sister got serious complications and I got scared for my life. In the first two months I lost 30 pounds because I wouldn’t eat. I was supposed to eat six times a day, but I only ate once or twice. I would get sick, throw up and I even got depressed for a while. All of that because of my previous eating habits. But, of course, with tie it got easier. After a few months I got my weight back to what it previously was and I started adjusting to new food. I stopped throwing up and even stopped getting sick. It was really hard, at times I even thought impossible, but if I managed to do it, anyone can.
At the start, because I couldn’t eat white flour bread and I didn’t like integral bread, my choice of food was really limited, so I chose corn bread, because that was the only kind I could eat. Now, I make my own bread, and I have gotten used to whole grain flour, because I add seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, flaxseeds, sesame seeds and other to my bread by mixing them with buckwheat flour, rye flour and corn flour. From vegetables, I started with zucchini because it has the most neutral taste. Now, I eat all vegetables, from the dark green to all kinds of cabbage and beans.
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Considering I didn’t like milk and dairy products, even now I eat white cheeses in the minimal amount and I still don’t drink milk but I have gotten used to Greek yogurt and regular yogurt. It was really hard to give up ham and other meat products like hot dog and sausages. Now I only eat them maybe once or twice a month when I really crave them.
I have restricted meat intake as well and I occasionally eat fish now, but I have not gotten used to it completely. I always keep a dice of dark chocolate nearby and I immediately eat it if I feel any symptoms of changes in my blood sugar level, like sweating behind my neck or weakness in my legs. Even though I ate only twice a day for years, I have learnt to divide my meals to six servings a day, for which I can only thank my fussiness. I never felt thirstiness and even now I have to keep a glass of water near me, so I wouldn’t forget to drink it. I hope my story will help people not make a same mistake I did, because I might have contributed to early development of diabetes with my picky eating habits.