Thursday, May 3, 2012

Failed Trussed

**edited with footnote

I’m back to report on my recent foray into diabetes support groups.  I am sad to tell you that it wasn’t great. (I’d also like to apologize for the title of this post.  I was trying to continue with my play on words….I do know how to spell.)

Monday night I drove the 35 miles to attend my first ever diabetes support group meeting.  I was excited but wasn’t expecting great things.  I knew in advance that the topic was going to be feet and neuropathy so I wasn’t that excited.  I was hoping to meet some other PWD and make some connections.  I entered the building and was greeted by a woman behind the information desk, “Diabeetus?”  Uh….yeah.  I registered and got my name tag KATE (which I forgot to take off when I went to see my daughter.  She assured me that she knows my name and the tag wasn’t necessary. I raised a few smart-asses.)  The back table was filled with informational brochures from the ADA and the local hospital.  There was lots of stuff about diet and exercise etc.  I liked that but didn’t see anything that I needed.  There were probably 40 chairs set up behind a projector…I wasn’t thrilled by the idea of watching a slide show about neuropathy.  I found a seat and realized that I was surrounded by people in their 70’s and 80’s.  All told I would guess that 95% of the attendees were elderly with a smattering of younger people.  There were discussions going on around the room but no one said boo to me.

The presenter was a local podiatrist, nice guy, who proceeded to regale us with the scary information about what can happen to PWD who don’t take care of their feet and statistics showing how much PWD cost the health care system.  Honest to God, slide after slide after nauseating slide of people’s feet with amputations and lesions and……GAHD!!!  It was awful.  I did learn a couple of things but it was sooooo grim.  Once the presentation and question period was over, everyone just left.  That’s it.  I left feeling so not supported.

That night and all the next day, all I could think about was my feet!  They actually ached.  I kept reminding myself that I currently have good glucose control and that is key to keeping neuropathy and other complications at bay.  I recently watched a TEDxtalk video that had a quote that I needed to remember:  “It’s not diabetes that causes complications, it’s poorly managed diabetes” Dr. Bill Polonsky, PhD.  So, quit worrying Kate!!

This morning I was planning to attend the local D support meeting.  It’s the first after a winter hiatus.  Unfortunately, I awoke feeling like crap (month long battle with new med side effects) so I’m not going.  Besides, it is at 10 AM… the local SENIOR center.  I’m guessing the “crowd” won’t be much younger than the one on Monday night.  Le sigh.

I’m not giving up.  I plan to attend the next meeting in Flagstaff (unless the subject is retinopathy or gastric bypass  :| ) and I am going to try to get the local gal’s email address…..somehow.  Next time I will seek out someone to talk with.  I will put aside my joining suckiness and try to make some contacts.  At least now I know what the playing field looks like and I can adjust my game.

**footnote: After reading this over I decided that I wanted to clarify something.  The quote from Dr. Polonsky doesn't address the fact that there are so many PWD out there who are doing the best they can, every day, and still end up with complications.  They haven't failed or haven't managed their diabetes poorly, necessarily, it's just that this monster can be so hard to control!  I don't want anyone to think that I feel someone with complications hasn't been trying their hardest.  The doctor's quote speaks to ME in the fact that I need to keep on keepin' on the best way I know how in order to stay healthy as long as possible.


  1. ugh. that sounds terrible!

    is there a way you can contact the people in charge of that support group and strongly suggest they change their focus? like that scaring the crap out of people doesn't make them feel supported or inspire them to take care of themselves?

    i'm sure you weren't the only one at the meeting who left feeling that way.

  2. never having attended a "diabetes support group", i think i just found the reason why! here, my local Canadian Diabetes Association has meetings but i have noticed that they are mostly for "seniors". and i have nothing against seniors, but they are mostly type 2, and again i have nothing against type 2's, but i really need a type 1 meeting. i have decided that i may have to work on getting one organized myself. sorry it turned out like this for you Kate. wanna drive to Ontario, and we'll have a meetup here? LOL!


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