Thursday, January 29, 2015
That Time I Failed My Glucose Screening Test
Ever since I found out about gestational diabetes, I've been worried that I'd have it when I got pregnant. I don't know if it's because I know how much I love chocolate and fruit and feared the worst (that I'd have to go off of them for months), or if my rational self knew I probably ate too much sugar and it would come back to haunt me one day.
Plus diabetes runs in my family, so....there's that.
So it didn't exactly come as a surprise to me that I failed my glucose screening test. (In fact, I'd been telling people for weeks that I probably would.) Some people had been surprised at my assertion---they'd comment on how I'm at a healthy weight, had been exercising a lot (up until the pregnancy), cooked most of my own meals, etc. And they're right--I do (or did) all of those things.
But I wasn't reassured--I felt like it would be a miracle if I passed, and I tried to brace myself for the worst.
I guess it goes without saying that when the results came back and I had, indeed, failed the test, I wasn't exactly surprised. (Of course, I wasn't happy about it either, but at least it didn't come as a shock.)
I blame my paranoia about becoming diabetic on two things:
1. I distinctly remember when I was younger that I had elevated glucose levels on at least a few blood tests, but it was never looked into, either because of the medication I was on or because of my overall health status. (Of course, I had mistakenly been telling my husband and mom for weeks that I'd ALWAYS had elevated glucose levels, but checking my facts, this was apparently untrue---I was thinking of triglycerides, not glucose. But I know for sure that at least SOME of the tests had come back with higher-than-normal sugar levels.)
2. When I was taking violin lessons, my instructor was always getting after me for having longer fingernails than I was supposed to. When I told him how often I was trimming them as it was, he said, "You know what? Every single student I've seen who had fingernails that grew as fast as yours has ended up with diabetes."
And that did it---
I was convinced from that point forward that, while I could try to manage my weight and diet as best as I could, diabetes was an inevitable part of my future.
So last Saturday, I took a big stack of grading and two books to read to the hospital lab, where I had to go in after an overnight fast and have my blood taken 4 times, once at the beginning and once every hour after. After taking my blood initially, I was given the glucose drink, which I decided I actually preferred without ice because it went down faster that way.
And then I waited. And read. And graded. And got poked. And waited some more. And tried not to feel nauseated. And tried not to think about how hungry I was. And got poked again. And finished the grading. And (almost) finished one of the books. And got poked a final time.
I asked the nurse when they would know the results.
"Oh, we'll know them immediately," she said. "But you won't know them until your doctor calls you."
Sigh. At least a 48-hour wait, then.
I debated all the rest of the weekend if I should have any sugar or fruit or not---should I start strictly watching my sugar grams, as if I'd already received the dreaded diagnosis? Or should I enjoy these last couple days and indulge a little, since it might be the last time in who knows how long? I decided to do something right in the middle, with each bite of chocolate chip cookie feeling like my last.
I was too anxious to wait for the doctor to call me on Monday, so I just dialed up the medical center myself and asked to be told the results. I braced myself for the worst as the nurse started reading my results (which, as they were just numbers, meant absolutely nothing to me without some kind of range to go off of). Finally, she said, "Well, looks like you don't have gestational diabetes. Your levels were out of range for one of the three tests, but they have to be out of range for at least two for you to receive the diagnosis. We still recommend you watch your diet, cut down your intake of sugar, and watch how much fruit you're eating though."
I couldn't believe my luck.
My biggest problem though?
I feel that each time I'm faced with a piece of candy or an orange or even a glass of juice, it becomes this great internal battle--
"If I eat this, will I go from "borderline" to "diabetic" and not know it until it's too late and I've already done harm to the baby?"
"Even the one test I failed, I was barely out of range. Can I just eat pretty much like I normally do, with a little more emphasis on vegetables and a little less emphasis on fruits and sweets?
"Am I out of line because I'm even considering this? What would my doctor say if she saw me considering this piece of chocolate?"
I'm hoping that at my next doctor's appointment, I can get some more clear guidelines before I go absolutely insane.
Anyone got any advice? Sympathy? Sugar-free chocolate?