Friday night I couldn't sleep. It dawned on me over the weekend that I was secretly processing new information as I lay in bed. My thoughts weren't paranoid, and they weren't racing, so that was a good thing. On Thursday I had fasting blood work. Friday morning Dr. Krall left a message on my answering machine: "Your c-reactive protein is still abnormal, so do exercise and take the aspirin. Your sugar is elevated at 123. Maybe you had a mint before the blood work. Geodon can cause higher sugar. I want you to take cinnamon twice a day."
Saturday night I was staying on the Island. It's funny how our bodies tell stories: my angry face. Rather than talk to Mom about it, I waited until dinner so my father could hear, too. I felt polluted, thinking I could be pre-diabetic. Mom reminded me of something I hadn't remembered, and I connected the dots: "Diabetes runs in the family." My cousin has a device hooked up to his belt that pumps medicine into him. My grandma [Mom's mother] controlled her diabetes with medication. Her cousin needed to inject herself.
As you can see, I imagined the worst. I eat healthful foods, exercise as best I can, don't drink soft drinks, and weigh 120 lbs. I was angry that everything I do isn't good enough. When I called a friend, she reminded me that Halle Berry has diabetes. Now, I don't know I'm headed down that road. To be safe, I did what Dr. Krall suggested and bought cinnamon extract: a bottle of 100 tablets costs $12 after tax. I had Mom stop at the Vitamin Shoppe on Sunday before driving us to the volunteer awards luncheon. I wanted to start taking the pills as soon as possible.
OK, so I have no control over the sugar and I need to take something to reduce it to within the normal range. As for the c-reactive protein, it seems to always be off no matter how often I exercise. For this, I take an 81 mg adult-strength aspirin, once a day; two 1,000 mg fish oil gel caps a day, and one 100 mg co-enzyme Q10 soft gel every day, all with food. The cinnamon extract must be taken with food.
In an effort to get the c-reactive protein in line, the co-enzyme Q10 was raised from a 50 mg soft gel to a 100 mg one six months ago. Dad told me on Saturday night to ask Dr. Krall, "Why is it like that even though I exercise? Could this be normal for my body?" Not only do I walk at least three miles a week, and do a session of pilates and take the Zumba class, and sometimes do the exercise video, I walk 15 minutes to work each day, and walk 15 minutes home.
My face was angry because I was angry: what more could I do? Why wasn't everything I did good enough? I admit that every two months or so, I go a week without exercising. So maybe it works in my favor: my healthy lifestyle could prevent the sugar from skyrocketing to the moon. When it comes to the c-reactive protein, I don't know about that. It's been this way for the past 10 years.
Monday Dr. Krall gave me the flu shot, and I told her diabetes runs in my family. I always thought I wouldn't want to have diabetes because it seemed worse than the SZ, which also runs on my mother's side of the family. A cousin gave birth to twins, she developed post-partum psychosis, and her husband took the babies and left her because he felt she would be an unfit mother. She never saw them again. Dr. Krall said, "You don't have diabetes, so don't worry about it. Maybe you had some extra sugar a few days before the test, just take the cinnamon and I'll test you again in two months." On lunch a day before the blood work, I had a regular peach Snapple iced tea, and that is rare for me. I drink an iced tea once a week. So the test was a little off.
My friend suggested, "If you can treat your sugar with the cinnamon pills, by all means, take them. Better to have diabetes and control it than to have unchecked schizophrenia and lose your wits." On the scales of justice, neither the possibility of diabetes nor the SZ seemed fair.
I now take seven supplements each day, including the cinnamon pills, the fish oil, the aspirin, the co-enzyme Q10, and the Super B complex and the Vitamin D3 gel caps. Oh, I forgot the multi-vitamin. The Geodon is for my chemical imbalance, and the Synthroid is for my low thyroid. I've been taking pills every day of my life for 21 years and counting.
I urge you to make peace with your drug routine. Find good doctors who will treat you with respect and dignity. Dr. Krall obviously knows I have SZ because I've been seeing her for eight years. Any doctor-whether a psychiatrist or primary care person-needs to treat the whole person: mind and body. The brain is the command center and our bodies are workhorses.
Though I waited for two hours on Thursday to see Dr. Krall, I'll stay with her because she's a good doctor. When I felt faint after not having eaten food for 16 hours, she had the assistant draw my blood right away. Minutes later a plate of food arrived: some eggplant, baked ziti and salad I could eat while waiting for the results of the heart test she also gives me routinely.
One of the choices I've made, and written into my goals binder [I wrote about Black-Belt Goal Setting in here], is "To always live in a city where I have access to the best healthcare for my needs." I'm grateful for my good fortune in this regard. I couldn't live someplace where there was a scarcity of doctors who could provide top-notch mental health treatments.
In the coming months, I'll keep you updated on the sugar news, and about my heart. I'm at an elevated risk for heart disease, and that has me feeling polluted, too, because when I think of the heart, I think of love. And I worry that my heart will stop ticking.
As you can see, I tend to magnify things, so let me go sign off and warm up the leftover lemon chicken for lunch. I get a lot of exercise jumping to conclusions, and it's premature to write my obituary. I'll close by wishing you the best of health and happiness.
Published On: October 28, 2008