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A healthy reminder

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Andrew is working (thank God!), but we're still recovering from the effects of three job losses in the past five years. Now that things seem relatively stable again, I figured it was time for me to catch up on health care. The backlog was because I had either cancelled appointments or not bothered to schedule them. So my physical, standard lab tests, and other routine screenings just hadn't happened for a while. The "while" turned out to be longer than I'd thought.

I was a bit surprised when I received a call from the nurse practitioner I'd seen several days before. Evidently, I'm a good deal sweeter than anyone suspected -- and I have lab results to prove it. My blood glucose levels were very high. I was told to come back to the office to receive my marching orders for how we would be addressing the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

I knew this was a possibility for me. Women who have gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at a higher risk for developing it later on. And too, being overweight for an extended period of time doesn't help either. But I felt fine. There were absolutely no symptoms or reasons to believe that this blood test result would come out any differently than any I'd had before. But it did.

Coincidentally, within an hour of receiving the Type 2 diagnosis I was in the car driving to visit a relative who has been diabetic for 30 years. Staying with her was both helpful and encouraging. It was almost like spending a few days at a combination spa and re-education camp. God provides.

God also has a sense of humor. I had been praying for help to lose weight, and now I have it. Medication, carb counting, and test strips weren't exactly what I had in mind. Neither was our kids imitating Wilfred Brimley's television commercials. ("Yes, you can have your testing supplies shipped right to your door!") But I had to laugh at what I heard when I called the diabetic educator's office for an appointment. "Hi, this is Candy, how can I help you?" Seriously! Still, I have been able to start losing a few of my extra pounds, and managing my food choices hasn't been nearly as difficult as I expected it to be.

About two weeks into managing it all, I had another scare. This time it was my first callback on a mammogram. I know getting that call is quite common, but it had never happened to me. I kept thinking about how it had been four years since my last screening. And when you're almost 52, you know you've been through a lot of changes in the past four years. It didn't help that my mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer at the same age I am now. I had been able to stay positive about the whole diabetes thing. But honestly, the threat of an even more serious diagnosis was more than I could handle. I was on overload: too stressed to pray or much of anything else.

When I left the second mammogram with an all-clear, I was grateful. But in that moment I realized that not everyone in that waiting room was going to receive the same good news I had. Some of those women were in for a lot more than they expected.

We do not always choose our battles. But we do choose who we will follow into battle. We do not always win the war, but we can feel the support and camaraderie of those who fight alongside us. I am fairly sure I know what will get me in the end. But I also believe and hold onto hope that Jesus will be there to greet me. I am nowhere near the end of my life, but I'm going to do my best to live it as if I were. If the last few weeks have taught me anything it is to live the present moment fully, and to give the future to God.

Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a wife and mother of eight children, and a disciple of the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. She is an inspirational author, speaker, musician and serves as an Associate Children's Editor at Pauline Books and Media.

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