I had recently moved to my current house and there were still so many things left unpacked. As I started to open the cartons, my view led me to the treadmill lying in the corner… it was being used as a storage unit and all kinds of paraphernalia hung from it. Not for once did the thought cross my mind that I should put it to use. I never did think that I was fat or unhealthy. I was just going through life on autopilot, one day after another. Food was my partner for everything, the first and foremost being the provider of solace to my frazzled nerves.
It was the month for my annual checkup and on a whim; I decided to add the Hba1c test too, along with the fasting sugar. The report came in at night and boy was I in for a shocker. My Hba1c was a 12.8 and my fasting sugar was a towering 457. I called my doctor in the morning, only to hear him say those four terrifying words, how are you surviving?! There were no symptoms or telltale signs. I did not even know that diabetes was a disease that could have lasting effects. I looked at the figures in sheer disbelief and thought, “Why me? Had I not had enough in my life already?”
I chose to think that the report must have been wrong and so, I got myself re-tested in two days. The results were the same. All hell broke loose, as I went through denial and anger. I felt lost and devastated on multiple fronts, as I was going through multiple personal and professional battles and all this seemed too much to handle. I dreaded to hear what the physician had to say. I weighed 81 kilograms and I thought to myself, “When did I become so heavy? How clueless was I?”
I was doing my regular walks thinking that everything is fine, but I was not particularly watching my diet. I was gorging on humongous quantities of food, snacks, sweets, and God knows what.
After discussing with my diabetologist, I realized that I was primarily on a carbohydrate diet. There were many debilitating thoughts, negativity, undefined thoughts, pent-up anger, and a whole bouquet of debris in the mental space segment. There was a whole gamut of an emotion, which got sorted out by one thing and that was food. Add to that, my mental weight was also a bad case of information overload.
Within fifteen days, I got myself together on all fronts. I stopped eating. Suddenly the word, “diet” seemed all-important. A plan was in place. I had to eat about one thousand calories. The medications started simultaneously. I had to lose weight, so I joined a gym. It was hard in so many ways. The exercise made my muscles sore and my back pain flared up. The lack of food and the effect of medications made me nauseous and weak. My head would go around in circles, as the sugars seemed to go down. I was feeling ill day by day. Yet, I kept going on doggedly.
This was a race I had to win.
My body and my mind were on the battlefield, fighting to win. In roughly about a month, the results finally started to show. It was around this time that I got the determination to scale this up a notch or many notches higher. I just had to stop the medicines somehow. I knew that I was on the right track and this could be an eventuality in due course. Things were marginally better, as my weight started reducing. I looked better to myself but felt worse. The medication had increased by now and was affecting my gut, which made this entire process quite taxing. Added to this stress was a work project I had picked up, which meant long hours of travel to various government offices with barely any facilities. The months were the humid ones of July and August. The problems of the bladder incontinence and the need to eat at regular intervals made this difficult. There were times when I had to stop at the roadside shops to pick up a packet of chips so that I could avoid the fainting like spells. Every single day, I would think of quitting and just continuing life as it had been. I would tell myself, “I will just take the medications, get the sugars down and that was it.” The fire remained lit. Along with the gym, I started walking briskly for sixty minutes. I was someone with a mission to carry out this task.
By the end of the three months, the medications started their lowering phase. In the fourth month, they stopped completely. This phase would be harder. I would have to continue to do what I was and still, the disease had all the trappings to come back. The reason was that an insulin mismatch had happened. During this entire period, I was getting tested every week and this process continued even after the medicines stopped. This was a crucial phase, for my body was going through withdrawal. But, the sugars stayed where they were! Normal. The Hba1c stayed at 6.1, which was tremendous. On the physical front, I loved what I saw in the mirror. I weighed sixty kilograms.
It was the nineteenth of July 2015. I was fifty-one years old when this ordeal began. After about eight months, I wore a dress for the first time in my life. I had become a new person physically, emotionally, and mentally. I had discarded the “old” me and the new me was someone with whom I resonated completely; in thought, in action, and in words. For the very first time, I had the reins of my life in my hands. I was the charioteer.
Looking back, I realize that this whole experience was actually a game-changer for me. It was a gift from the Universe. It made me who I am today. I let go of a lot of things during this time and not just excessive weight. I changed big time. I became a new person. I set goals and boundaries. I learned to know who I was. This period set the ball rolling for a newer me. And this me is the most precious me.
The path is hard but then, hard is not impossible. I still have miles to go before I sleep.
Bring it on!
This is the story of Manisha Goyal Mahajan written in her own words
She is 56 years old. A chartered accountant turned entrepreneur, having her own business of corporate horticulture and a boutique garden outlet. She is also a writer, a blogger, and have published a poetry book.
Manisha is passionate about photography and loves to paint too. She feels that life has mixed the colours in her palette beautifully, synchronizing her love for nature with her spiritual journey.
This write-up has also been published on healthshots.com (A Hindustan Times Venture)