Full(er) disclosure: Medical needs drive weight loss
The Sunday Column
There are two people who read my column each month with a small sense of fear — my boss, Neil Rudel, and my wife, Ann Marie Franco.
Both have good reasons.
Neil is terrified of whom I might offend, and Ann Marie is equally scared of what family secret I am going to allow outside our Hollidaysburg home.
But not to worry because I am going to do what I’ve usually done since the summer of 2010 when this column started — pick on myself.
The worst kept secret at the Mirror and in the Franco family is that I was diagnosed last year with Type 2 diabetes.
It was a little scary at first, but in reality, it was my fault because of how much weight I had gained. My brothers and my sister aren’t heavy, and my mother could be a stunt double for Tinkerbell.
Of course, me being me, I wanted to poke fun at myself last September when I found out except for one small detail — my mother, sister and brothers did not know.
I didn’t want them to worry. The way my brain works, I figured I would tell them in my column. Neil and (assistant managing editor) Steve Carpenter were against that. But slowly, as I began to lose weight and change my lifestyle, I started to tell more of my family.
I finally told my mother that I had Type 2 diabetes but she just can’t help herself sometimes. During a recent visit to her home, she offered me some Italian bread with real butter to snack on.
Me: “Mom, I can’t eat that anymore.”
Mom: “How about just the butter?”
I told her about how I am eating more fresh fruit and a lot more sugar-free products, hoping that would change her line of questioning.
Mom: “I got a box full of sugar free cookies. Go ahead and take them all!”
Maybe she thinks diabetes is some kind of Greek dessert.
There has been some adjusting at home, too. Healthy food to a 52-year-old means disgusting food to twin 14-year-old boys, who love their dad but draw the line at whole wheat pasta in their mac and cheese.
The other night I made a dish that involved chicken sausage with apples in it, tossed together with brown rice, broccoli and soy sauce. You know what they thought?
Me: “Did you guys like it?”
My wife: “I ate it because I was starving. Your sons ate it because they had to.”
Me: “I’ll call that a no.”
The next night they got popcorn shrimp and French fries.
I have a friend who is diabetic, and sometimes I see him eating either Taco Bell or name-brand pizza, things that I have sworn off. Sometimes I just think to myself, “I would love to have his form of diabetes!”
But the good fight continues. My wife says I am the only guy who calls home to brag that he didn’t eat any of the Christmas cookies Jim Lane brought in to work.
That’s a big deal to a big guy with a big-but-shrinking waistline.
Scott Franco, a member of the sports staff, writes a monthly column for the Mirror.