Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What I do, because I have to

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.


  1. I just found out in the last few weeks that I have Type 2. Actually, just today the nurse called to give me my A1C number. I found your blog and started following a week ago. Like you, I plan to be very proactive with this. And I plan to blog away as I learn! Thanks so much for this blog.

  2. I understand completely. I feel like just because we are Type 2 our efforts are downplayed. I too understand the seriousness of Type 1 (I live with a Type 1!) but they are viewed as the victims of their disease while we are the perpetrators of ours. Sometimes, I feel it is harder in our shoes. I had to start a basal insulin because my body just cannot handle any amount of carbohydrate. I have to balance morning hypos, weight gain, insulin resistance, post meal BG spikes, and no rapid insulin to correct. My boyfriend, who is Type 1 is not nearly as worried as I am and has a much better A1c. But still, we have to keep going, we have to change the ideas that people have about our disease, because we are NOT less important.

  3. I came across your blog today and I like your honesty and advocacy. Do me a favor and look us up. We are an advocacy group that wants to be sure ALL diabetics get the care and products they need to be healthy.I'll have you google us (People for Quality Care) instead of giving you a link so you know this isn't spam. I'm anxious to hear from you. Thanks

  4. Hi Kate. It bothers me so much when i hear people saying that Type 2's bring it on themselves, I can't even describe it! I want to ask them if people who wear glasses brought that on themselves too cause they didn't eat enough carrots?!! i feel for type 2's because i truly believe that it is harder to "control" than type 1. we at least can bolus for the "extra" treats we have, and yes we can be a little less strict. Diabetes sucks, no matter what type, and we all need to look after ourselves the best we can. I know it's hard, but there are some people you can't tell anything. just keep doing what you do best! sending hugs (((( ))))

  5. Thanks for the comments, folks. I am doing much better with this...at least I am today. I really need to get a thicker skin or learn to ignore other people's opinions when they do nothing but hurt. Hearing another side of a situation can be educational but not if the comments are just to bash someone or something.

    Moving on and moving up!! (except the bg which must move down!)

  6. Alcoholics brought it on themselves too I suppose and should be looked down upon and dismissed. You are right in that you must ignore those dumb comments. Educate if you can but you can't awaken someone who wants to stay asleep. I'm lucky in that so far after four months since I was diagnosed with type 2, to not encounter anyone that has said anything to my face. It never occurred to me that people even feel that way until I have been reading up on it and heard of other's experiences. Too bad for those people that don't understand. They aren't going to get in my way however of managing this, and of keeping my heart and mind positive. In other words...they can take a flying leap! :)

  7. I feel you on this one Kate. It really bugs me. I only spent a little less than a year being misdiagnosed with type 2, but I experienced enough judgement to know what it feels like and how wrong it is. I wrote a little bit about it a few months ago (http://momentsofwonderful.com/2012/05/when-we-say/) and I wish there was more I could do to make it stop!


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