As I sat with the eye doctor I gave her a little run down of my last results as usual; HbA1c of 7%, BP is 90/120, cholesterol is a little high but I am addressing this etc etc.
"Nope. There is evidence of high cholesterol but I would expect that from what you have said."
Ermmm, what? Cholesterol damage in my eyes?? When was that part of the deal?
Call me ignorant, but little did I know that cholesterol has a significant impact on the eyes. I thought the high blood sugars and dying vessels was it. But if that wasn't enough, it turns out that cholesterol plays an enormous role here too. Perhaps this should be obvious seeing as cholesterol causes the blockages to veins and arteries and predominantly sight problems experienced by diabetics are related to vein/capillary deterioration/blockage in the eyes. But I had never actually been faced with this explanantion. It turns out that various veins in my eyes are begining to show 'cotton wool' like evidence that the areas where the veins and capillaries join, are starting to struggle. A good article about it is here, so read if you want to know more about it.
As I do with all things, I go into a state of panic for the first minute. I usually stare blankly at the person delivering the news to me and then start to try and piece together how to tackle it. I couldn't walk away without getting the doctor's thoughts on the Simvastatin, which has been available to me but always refused, for years. I told her all about what I was doing to lower my cholesterol, but asked her for a frank opinion about the pills.
I'm better when things are in plain English.
"Well, a two-pronged approach will always be the best option. Continue with the diet and exercise but in the meantime, why not take the Simvastatin as well? The evidence of high cholesterol in your eyes isn't permanent and can still heal. If you attack this from both angles you will by far have the best chance of stopping this."
"So could I come off them if I manage to get the cholesterol down to a very low level?"
That was the decider. As much as I would love to address the cholesterol issue from every angle other than pills, I am not taking chances with my sight for the sake of pride or wanting to do things 'the natural way'. 'Natural' is not walking with a stick or needing the assistance of a dog. My sight is just too precious to me.
So I decided that rather than view this as a sign of my failure, it is a sign of my determination. After 25 years I have managed to keep all complications at bay. Even the background retinopathy is at a 'young' stage and can still be stopped.
Any war is won by the clever deployment of troops. So I'm sending in some from the North and some from the South. One day I hope to come off the Simvastatin and allow my cholesterol to return to its natural tree hugging status but until then, exercise and diet are my sword and Simvastatin is my shield.
Three weeks in and finally at peace with it.