It happened again today, twice. That frustration I feel when someone belittles type 2 diabetes; that emotion that comes over me when I feel like I have to defend myself and my condition. The anger that transforms me into something akin to The Hulk; the beast who goes about trying to educate the uninformed and setting straight the idiots. I’m tired of it. In fact, I was so tired of it today that it made me just want to quit trying, but I can’t. The bottom line is that it doesn’t effing matter why/how I got type 2 diabetes and it doesn’t matter how anyone else got it either! We have it. It’s here. We have to deal with it just like anyone who has type 1.
I have the utmost respect for people who are dealing with type 1 diabetes. I ache for those children who live with it and can barely understand what their parents are going through each and every day. I know that without insulin these people will die. I fully understand the severity of their disease. The problem is that there is such a stigma attached to type 2 diabetes that our struggles and needs can often be underplayed. There are real consequences for us when we don’t toe the line. No, we aren’t going to die today if we don’t follow our plan but we are faced with very real complications down the road if we don’t pay attention, just like someone with type 1.
I can’t stop blogging and advocating for people with diabetes, no matter the type. What I can do is attempt to educate and inform through this blog and my contact with others on social media. The best thing I can do is to be the best damned type 2 I can be and show the naysayers what someone with T2 can look like.
I don’t use insulin, although I may need to someday. There are many PWD, T2 who do use insulin so they are just as able to have to deal with scary lows and other issues associated with insulin use, just like someone with T1. Those of us who are attempting to control our diabetes with oral medication, diet and exercise still have stuff we have to do each and every day. It’s certainly not just avoiding soda and popping a pill. As I said before, if we flub it up we won’t die today, but that doesn’t negate the necessity to be cognizant of what we’re doing and why.
Someone who uses insulin must calculate their carb intake and bolus (inject insulin) accordingly. After they eat, they have to test their blood glucose to be sure they calculated correctly or that their activity level didn’t muck things up. If they experience a high glucose reading they can bolus to correct it. It’s so important to keep blood sugars from rising too high and staying there or complications could arise. So what can someone who doesn’t use insulin do if their glucose rises out of range? Not too damn much. We can drink mass quantities of water, like Rachel talks about here, or we can quickly start exercising…if we aren’t at work or in the middle of a meeting or any of the other myriad of situations where exercising isn’t an option. That’s about it. Our options are very limited.
So what can we do? We can be extremely careful about what we eat. We have to test, test, test to find out how our bodies handle certain foods so we can avoid eating something that will cause our blood glucose to spike. There is much talk about how people with diabetes can eat anything in moderation but that’s not necessarily true for those of us who have T2 and wish to have tighter control over our glucose. I was once one of those people who thought I could eat anything, just read my early blog posts to see that. But I’ve come to realize in my quest to educate myself that I actually can’t eat just anything in moderation. If I do give into temptation and eat something that I’ve previously determined will spike my sugar then I’m stuck with higher glucose running through my veins, doing damage; killing me slowly. Sounds peachy, doesn’t it?
I know that those of us who don’t use insulin can splurge now and then. I even encourage people to do that, within reason. However, I have come to a point in my life with diabetes where staying healthy as long as possible is more important to me than eating something yummy. So each and every day, I test multiple times, I carefully plan what I’m going to eat, I exercise for 30 minutes and I hope that what I’m doing will help me have a happy, healthy old age with all my appendages intact and my sight good enough to enjoy life. So tell me please, how is that any less important than what someone who has type 1 has to do? The consequences may not be immediate but they’re no less important.