Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
The reality is that some people who are newly diagnosed have been used to eating upwards of 200 grams of carbohydrates per meal and the idea that they can miraculously reduce that carb intake to 35 grams is ludicrous at best.
Let’s look at a typical trip to McDonald’s. Big Mac – 46 gr carbs, large fries – 63 gr of carbs and a large Coke – 86 = 195 grams of carbs. (information from their website) Wow. (We aren’t even going to discuss fat and sodium.) This meal is consumed by an awful lot of people in this country on a regular basis. Now, compare that to a recommended meal for someone with diabetes. 3 oz. 90%-lean hamburger patty, 1 cup 1% milk – 12.2 gr carbs, 1 whole-wheat roll – 21 gr carbs , 1 cup prepared coleslaw – 15 gr carbs = 48.2 grams of carbs. (approximations by Kate) 195 vs 48. Enlightening no? I wouldn’t eat that recommended diabetes meal now. I’d lose the roll and (add a lot more fat). But that’s me and I didn’t get here overnight!
The DPP may not be perfect, but it’s a start. I applaud the “powers that be” for trying to get the message out there that poor diet and being sedentary are causing us to become unhealthy. A scenario of fast food and couch surfing can increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. They don’t cause it, but they increase your risk. That’s an important message that this program can deliver to millions of older Americans; those people who are at greater risk of developing type 2 due to their age.
Do I wish that people would listen to Joe Shmoe instead of celebrities? Yes. Do I wish that the idea of low(er) carb would find its way into the minds of those who are teaching people with diabetes? Yup. But in the meantime, I have hope that these types of programs will cause the masses to pay better attention and bring the severity of type 2 diabetes to the forefront and, hopefully, remove some of the stigma. Heck, if James Earl Jones and Tom Hanks have type 2 and they’re cool dudes, then maybe people will think twice before condemning the rest of us for just being normal folks who happen to have type 2 diabetes.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
An article appeared in my Facebook feed yesterday, several times. The article caused some uproar among the DOC due to the fact that it showed type 2 diabetes patients in a negative light. We don’t like that. My initial reaction was one of disbelief and anger and I commented that I felt a blog post coming on. I was right; here it is. However, as I let myself calm down and think about this situation, my attitude shifted a little bit and I re-read the article with different glasses.
The article (which I won’t link to here because, well just because I don’t want to) was written for healthcare professionals as a guide to help them help their diabetes patients “adhere to treatment protocols”.
The article, upon my second reading, actually contained some good stuff. There were quotes from doctors with good advice to help patients with the difficult task of accepting and learning to live with type 2 diabetes. There were suggestions that showed that these doctors understand how difficult it can be to make the necessary changes we face. They encourage better communication between the doctors and patients; essentially helping people along instead of shoving them out the door to figure it out for themselves. The use of technology was mentioned and even *gasp* the idea of reaching out to other diabetes patients through support groups!
It’s been nearly 11 years since I was diagnosed and these ideas were non-existent when I found myself floating in a sea of WTF as I left that first appointment. I find it encouraging that there may be a swing toward more understanding of the shit-storm that living with diabetes is.
Now let’s talk about what’s horribly wrong with this article.
The article lists 5 ways that patients don’t adhere to suggested protocols in their lives with diabetes, despite the fact that these protocols have been proven to show the best results down the road. Each and every one of the 5 areas was addressed as a failure on the part of the patient. The patient fails to make necessary lifestyle changes. The patient fails to adequately monitor their blood glucose. The patient fails to show up for appoints, etc. GAH! Just typing these things has raised my blood pressure yet again and made me feel like reaching through the computer screen and throttling the author of this article. The nerve! The unmitigated gall! The cheek!
Under each of these 5 horrible headings were some really good ideas about how HCPs can assist their patients, but who can get past the freaking headings! When depression, exhaustion or burnout cause me to slip up and eat things that I know aren’t the best choices, I’ve FAILED? Really? When someone can’t afford to buy extra test strips because their insurance only allows them 1 per day, they’ve FAILED to correctly monitor their blood glucose? The lack of adequate patient education on the importance of their medication regimen is a FAILURE on the patient’s part? THIS is what got our collective panties in a twist. Blaming the patient for the myriad ways the system fails us.
Words matter. Regardless of the fact that this article contains some good advice for doctors, it falsely blames the patient. Even an amazing HCP who treats their patients with kindness and compassion is seeing the word failure in conjunction with patients. If you see a correlation often enough you can begin to buy into it; you can begin to believe that patients are failing without considering that the system might be failing us. It’s bad enough that doctors might look upon us as failures, but it’s even worse when we begin to believe it too; and we do too often.
Living with diabetes is hard; it’s unbefrickenlievably hard. We need to be uplifted and admired for the changes we do make. We need recognition for the mental anguish we experience and help to overcome it. We need better education. We need help, not labels.
People with diabetes work hard, every day, to do the best they can with a sucky disease. As a community we will never “adhere” to protocols 100% of the time but those words like failure will stick, like glue.
Saturday, March 19, 2016
You may think that having the same experience would make the UnConference a one-shot deal. If you’ve been once, you don’t need to go again sort of thing. Nuh uh. Not even close. You see, what makes the UnConference so special is that it’s people with diabetes coming together to talk about things that affect our lives; things that are meaningful to us. It isn’t “how do I insert this CGM sensor” or “what is the best diet to follow” (although those discussions do happen), it’s discussions about the emotions that we feel when living with diabetes. It’s talking about difficult subjects in a place where you feel safe to do that. It really is a large support group meeting that takes place over 1 ½ days. Powerful stuff.
Sunday, December 27, 2015
Sunday, November 8, 2015
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Score!! However, I have also long known that I am not suitable material to become a gym rat. I just couldn’t see myself in the midst of sweaty, grunting, muscle-bound men or lithe, midriff-baring cuties. No thanks. I decided that walking on my treadmill would be sufficient for added exercise, thank you very much. Lately though, I’ve been thinking that I ought to step things up a bit and see if I couldn’t do more. (Besides, my husband decided he might like to try it and… well there you have it.) Here’s the stupid part: our health insurance will pay for the membership through the Silver Sneakers program. I can go to the local gym for free and I’m not doing it? Stupid.