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!”

Me: “Ugghh!”

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.