Ranger Kathryn's Arches

June 29, 2011

Out of the blue: the “X event”

How many times in your life do you come to a fork that is life-changing? Where everything is measured by “before X” or “after X”? It doesn’t happen often. A family death, your or your parents’ divorce, first-time parenthood, a big financial gain/loss, or a major medical diagnosis qualify as “life-changing.”

I had an “X event” a few weeks ago. On the other end of my phone a doctor was informing me that I had Type 2 diabetes.

Maybe there was some mistake; maybe he was looking at another patient’s lab results. There is no way my blood glucose level could be 199. Not me. I exercise a LOT, eat wisely, don’t have a sweet tooth, have zero extra fat, and am in general in fabulous health. This news DID, however, make sense of my odd symptoms [polyuria, polydipsia, extreme fatigue], but it sounded surreal as the words fell on my ears.

The farmers' market sold me this Swiss Chard. I'm learning to prepare it, as it is part of my diet as an aspiring vegan.

And for days afterward.

And still.

What do you mean, I can’t eat whatever I want? I want mint chocolate chip ice cream. What do you mean, I’m at a way higher risk of heart disease? My blood pressure’s always been 110/60 and cholesterol normal. What do you mean, I have to take this pill for the rest of my life? I never take pills.

It felt like a cruel joke.

Everything was out of sorts — physically, mentally, emotionally. After a week or so I had a day where I shook my fist in God’s face and told him in no uncertain terms that I was pretty angry about the whole deal. His response? The most loving tender embrace, with whispered assurances that he knew what I was going through and would never abandon me to walk through it alone. My heart melted.

I’m on a new adventure. Reading, changing my diet, learning how my body responds to a new med, calibrating my activity level to how I’m feeling. It’s not good, not bad, just different. I’ll be fine. Really. Now, if only I could get that Swiss Chard to taste good…


  1. Kathryn, sorry to hear about the diagnosis. Lee and I felt kind of the same when he was diagnosed with Celiac disease in March of 2009. God is good though and the new soon becomes normal. It stinks though that you of all people should get this. I am a couch potato, have plenty of extra fat and have a very large sweet tooth….. but weak bones…:-). I guess we all have our crosses to bear, hopefully to God’s Glory. Take care.
    Lisa Aase

    Comment by Lisa Aase — June 29, 2011 @ 9:58 pm | Reply

    • Thanks for your sweet encouragement, L.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — June 29, 2011 @ 10:04 pm | Reply

  2. Kathryn,
    I too have been there…in fact, I am there. Life after Diagnosis is different BUT as cheesy as this may sound, what remains on the inside is what will carry you through. You’ve got this!

    Comment by michael matthes — June 29, 2011 @ 10:27 pm | Reply

    • Ya! Thanks, amigo — we’ll encourage each other, no? All the best to you in your journey.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — June 30, 2011 @ 8:25 am | Reply

  3. Kathryn, you wrote this blog in a beautiful way, speaking from your heart, and brought up things that I wouldn’t even have thought about. Good bit of writing, and a lovely way to share this new part of your life. Thank you. Now on to the first days of the new phase……….. which you will meet with your usual strength.

    Comment by Mom — June 29, 2011 @ 11:49 pm | Reply

  4. Just got a call from the Austin Public Library…the book I ordered is in: THE CHINA STUDY by Campbell. Don’t see how I could ever be a vegan, but will keep an open mind. Thanks for the recommendation (the book)! You are a trouper!!

    Comment by kathy lewis — June 30, 2011 @ 2:01 pm | Reply

    • Just read the book. It’s eye-opening beyond imagining. You don’t have to convert to veganism if you don’t want to, but EVERYBODY should read this book.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — June 30, 2011 @ 3:25 pm | Reply

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