Thursday, October 9, 2014

Diabetes: Not to be ignored


Have you ever experienced a situation like this: Someone is speaking and they are truly annoying? You would simply love to ignore them but the information they are conveying is important. You shouldn’t ignore them. 

How about when you’re on a jury panel and the judge is reading the expectations and responsibilities that you and your fellow panelists are expected to follow? “Dang, I hate being on jury duty. I’d like to be anywhere else!” But the person on trial is depending on you to pay attention so that they will be able to be heard. It’s their right. Regardless of your annoyance, you shouldn’t ignore that responsibility.

If your child was sick, would you ignore the symptoms or neglect their care? Certainly not.

Then tell me why SO many people who have T2 or “a touch of sugar” feel like they can ignore their condition? I feel that it may be because, quite often, it doesn’t feel or seem urgent. They may feel fine and it’s possible that their health care provider didn’t do an adequate job of conveying the seriousness of this disease. Probably they’ve read online that you can cure T2 with pills or veggie water or hocus pocus. Heck, if it’s that easy to get rid of, it must not be serious!

I felt the need to write this after posting my last bit about finding a better way to deal with my diabetes. I would hate for anyone to read that and think that I’m ignoring my diabetes or feel that it isn’t serious. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I know how serious my diabetes is and I know that I can’t ignore it. My current path doesn’t mean I’m ignoring my diabetes, I’m just not letting it rule my life. That’s an important difference.


I will admit, especially during my recent funk, that I’ve felt like type 2 diabetes just isn’t as serious as type 1. (I can’t believe I even typed that.) It’s simply a matter of reading about how T1s need to monitor so closely, stick themselves numerous times per day and are often faced with situations that can easily turn deadly. Sometimes that realization makes me feel guilty for shouting that "T2 is serious!" T2 isn’t like T1. We can actually ignore our diabetes, do what we want, and not have any immediate repercussions. Does that make it less serious? Nope. In fact, it could be argued that that makes T2 more serious because, in the long run, we could face all those serious complications if we don’t pay attention, and so many people aren't paying attention!

I don’t mean to turn this post into an “us vs them” discussion. Diabetes is deadly serious, regardless of type. I just want to hammer home to those T2s who might be reading this: Don’t ignore your diabetes. Don’t assume that it will go away. Educate yourself and take the time and energy to find out what combination of medicine, food plan and exercise will work best for you.

I’m going to quote something I read in an AARP Bulletin today, “As physicians, we counsel, we coach, we prescribe, we cheerlead. But the only person who treats diabetes is the person who has it.” Physician Daniel Lorber (emphasis is mine).

Sage words. Please pay attention.

Two posts in two days. I might be back.

10 comments:

  1. Hi Kate. Sugar can be replace by Stevia right?
    http://diabetes-person.blogspot.com/2014/10/stevia-as-diabetes-sugar-replacement.html

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    1. Yes, it can. There are other non-artificial sweeteners our there too. Some people can manage to eat foods made with real sugar, as long as they don't eat too much. Others try various artificial sweeteners, but studies are now showing that those sweeteners may be changing our gut microbiomes and causing issues with type 2 diabetes and weight gain. Regardless of the sweetener used: sugar, other naturals or artificial, it's best to limit the amount of sweets we consume. As part of a healthy diet, they're fine. Gorging on our favorite sweets isn't good for anyone, regardless of whether or not they have diabetes.

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  2. For me, the fact that we can't cure Type 2 and have to be so stinkin' vigilant for the rest of our lives creates a huge amount of fatigue/depression that has translated in the past to my deciding to take a "diabetes vacation" and just ignore the disease. For my Type 1 friends, they never have that option and have to keep fighting through it. The scary part is how silently the complications of a "vacation" can creep up on us, so it's just not a reasonable strategy.

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    1. Hi Denise, I hear ya...believe me! I've taken short "vacations" before too. I have found that it's difficult to stop feeling guilty when I'm eating things that I know aren't good for my blood sugar. That's why I like my newer approach, even though it was born out of depression (not related to diabetes). Fretting over not being able to eat as we like just gives that food, and diabetes, power of us. It's worth it to try to break that cycle. Easier said than done. :) Hang in there!

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  3. Ah, but I did ignore my T1 . . . . all through college (and even beyond). Yes, I took insulin every day. But that was all. No finger sticks. No carb counting. It seems like a lifetime ago, but it was very real.

    That's not to say ANYONE should ignore diabetes. EITHER type. But it happens.

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  4. Kate, I have taken real vacations and just left my meter at home so I can "forget" about my T2. Then the first week back home I test and test and bring my sugar down a little. After reading this post I realize I'm not fooling anyone! Thanks for posting the quote out of AARP. That hit home when I read that, too!

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    1. Hi Lottie, In my opinion, it's best to find a happy medium where we can indulge now and then, (without feeling guilty), while staying on the path that works best for us most of the time. Not an easy tightrope to walk. You'll get there!

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  5. Wow, I'm a T2 dx'd in 1999. I am hyper vigilant about my Blood sugars. I can't believe what I'm reading here.
    The reason I'm hyper vigilant is that I do NOT want the complications that would come with uncontrolled T2.

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    1. Hi Joe, I'm not sure what it is you can't believe. Good for you for being hyper vigilant! You are right that uncontrolled diabetes can lead to some awful complications. My point in this post is to point out that it can be easy to forget about the long term affects. We must pay attention but, sadly, many people don't. I'm glad that your hyper vigilance is working for you, but that type of commitment doesn't always work for everyone. We're all different and must deal with our diabetes in a way that works best for us.

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