Friday, March 5, 2010

Must Eat Carbs

On Tuesday I had an hour long, private assessment as part of my diabetes management class. It was a real eye opener, especially about food.

The woman performing the assessment was an RN. I said that my number one goal was to figure out what I am supposed to be eating. A nutritionist will talk about that in detail during the day long class, but I needed some guidance now. (The day long class will be on March 23.)

I am supposed to eat carbs at every meal! So my lunch on Monday, 4 oz meatloaf with a cup of steamed broccoli and caulifour, was not good. Sure, there were some bread crumbs in the meatloaf but that is the only carb in that meal.

I have been avoiding carbs for so long, it is funny to have someone tell me that I must eat carbs at every meal, 9 servings per day.  Portion size matters: one serving of carbs is 15 g, which is 1/3 cup rice or a small orange or a slice of bread.

It really helps that my appetite is decreased. A third of a cup of rice actually looks reasonable to me.

There was a strange, unpleasant moment during my assessment. First I have to tell you what an A1C is. It's a measurement of how high your blood sugar has been over the last two months, based on the interesting fact that sugar molecules stick to blood cells, and blood cells live for about 2 months.

So the nurse was telling me that I ought to aim for an A1C of 7 for now, but once my cancer was cured, I should aim for an A1C of 6.

"My cancer won't be cured," I said.

She pointed her finger at my and said very emphatically, "YES IT WILL."

"No, it won't."

"YES IT WILL BE CURED."

I was sort of shocked that she was continuing to argue with me. It seemed as though she thought if she could make me say that it would be cured, then by golly it would be cured.  I hate that. As if it were so easy, to just chant, "I am cured, I am cured," and magically I am cured!

I realized that I had not made it clear that I had metastacized leiomyosarcoma, eight tumors, in three different areas, and that although chemo had caused them to shrink, none had disappeared. Back in June 2009, my doctors all made it clear that they could not cure the cancer but that we had a very good shot at beating it back and controlling it.  (And they were right. We did beat it back, and we are controlling it.  Yahoo!)


So I sat back in my chair and said, "My doctors have made it clear that they cannot cure the cancer. Of course I'm praying for a miracle," I raised my arms up toward heaven.
 
"But what about the clinical trial?"
 
I had told her all about the clinical trial because it was what was making me diabetic. "That won't cure anything. It's just to keep the tumors from starting to grow again."
 
And that finally closed the topic.
 
After I left, I got kind of upset. I don't want to have to convince someone that the cancer cannot be cured. I don't really want to think too much about how it can't be cured.  I just want to focus on TODAY. I feel pretty good today, I can go to work today, and I can have fun with Lou today. All the tumors stayed the same in the last scan, nothing's growing, and that is worth a happy dance.
 
Of course, I have done all the right things, updated the will, updated the advanced directive stuff, reviewed my beneficiaries, and talked about important things with Lou.
 
If I have two years left, then I want to have as much fun as I can. If I have ten years left, then it would be a shame if I spent that whole ten years worried about dying. Think of all the fabulous vacations I could have in ten years!  Might even get to Egypt some day to see the pyramids!

3 comments:

Joe Slater said...

Karen,
As I deal with my own health issues, which are minor compared to yours, I never cease to get inspiration from your attitude!
Joe Slater

Rick Evans said...

I consider it an honor to know you as you not only survive but you live life as we are supposed to - trying to enjoy each and every day. I miss seeing your cheery face on the van pool.

Robyn said...

Karen,

You know, you are my shining star...pulling out that positive attitude. You live to the fullest, girl!

Just as a side note, usually those nurses are trained to hammer home to people to change their lifestyles. They require a mindset that no mountain is ever too tall, no river broad enough...they are there to MOTIVATE... I think it might do her some good to get some feed back from you. Instead of motivating you to eat more healthy, she sent you into a funk. Not how it is supposed to work.