Embracing the New Me Part I, The Verdict

Robin MalauA few weeks ago, I found myself going toe-to-toe with a major health scare. Growing up in Indonesia, a place where we’re often skeptical about doctors and western medicine, it’s more of a social custom to rely on self-medication. But that changed for me when my health took a turn for the worse.

See, back in 2014, I was diagnosed with type II diabetes. For a while, I was pretty good about keeping up with my medication, well, on and off at least. Then I moved to the US in the summer of 2018. I managed to keep up with my medication, relying on supplies from my doctor back home.

But when the pandemic lockdown hit, my precious supply line was cut off. No flights in from Indonesia meant no meds for me, and I let my treatment slide. Boy, was that a terrible decision.

Fast forward a few years, and things got real uncomfortable. My vision was all over the place, my feet and stomach started to swell, and I was constantly battling stomach pain. I couldn’t ignore the warning signs any longer, so I finally gave in and saw a doctor. The verdict? A stark reminder that untreated diabetes is no joke. It had already wreaked havoc on my eyes, kidneys, and liver.

So, I hit the pause button on work and decided to tackle this thing head-on. Luckily, my workplace and the State of California, where I currently reside, provided some solid support. Now I’m focusing on recovery full-time, and I’ve learned more about health in the past three months than in my entire life. This journey has forced me to shift my mindset, my lifestyle, and my outlook on life.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

First. You’re a different person post-diagnosis. No sugarcoating it, a life-threatening disease like diabetes changes you. Your body isn’t the same anymore, and it’s crucial to accept this and adapt.

Second. Medication is your friend. I knew this, but let’s face it, I was pretty dismissive about taking medication. Not anymore.

Third. You are what you eat. This couldn’t ring more true, especially after a health wake-up call. You’ve got to change your diet. You might want to be your old self and eat as you used to, but you’re not the same anymore. Your body needs different food now.

Fourth. Health insurance is a must. This experience made me realize that health insurance isn’t just a nice-to-have. It’s a fundamental human right.

So, that’s my journey so far. It’s been tough, but it’s also been a real eye-opener. My hope is that by sharing this, you can take something away from my experience and look after your health a little better. Because trust me, you don’t want to learn this lesson the hard way.

Story continue in part II: Quitting Alcohol.


Author: Robin

Jack of all trades living in SF Bay Area, California. SE Asian. Currently building music media.

9 thoughts on “Embracing the New Me Part I, The Verdict”

  1. I’m sorry to hear it, i hope you’re getting better! I agree on health as a wake up call. I got surgery last year and forced to rest for weeks for the first time since forever and my view on health change ever since. I found it funny because growing up i couldn’t eat what i want due to financial reason but once the financial reason is handled and i technically can get what i want, eating all the stuff that i want is hazardous 😅

    All in all, wishing you a good health!

  2. Gosh! Sorry to hear this. So true about the ‘you are what you eat’ since I also struggling to lower my high blood pressure and cholesterol, it will be a long up and down journer for sure =D
    Sending my best wishes to you. Take care!

    1. In addition to high glucose level, I also do have problems with hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and hypercholesterolemia. It was a train wrecked. Eventually I quit drinking alcohol completely, I don’t eat red meat anymore, I almost completely stop eating carbs including rice, I don’t put salt on my food at all, et cetera. Complete diet revamp.

      With the right medication and a complete change of lifestyle, those problems can be contained quite easily. What takes time is if they wrecked your eyes, kidneys and liver already. I consider myself lucky that I went to specialists, and they figure out what’s the problems immediately, and there’s no need to have artificial treatment, especially on my kidneys. I can easily passed the line and trapped in the road of no return. Phew, fuck! Almost!

      Best wishes to you too mate!

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