Tag Archives: type 2 diabetic

National Diabetes Alert Day 2011

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Today, March 22nd is National Diabetes Alert Day.  The CDC says one in four Americans has diabetes and doesn’t know it.  This is the diabetes worse case scenario.  Education and awareness are the only tools to begin helping someone who has diabetes but doesn’t know it.  Here is a link to the National Diabetes Education Program’s diabetes risk test which anyone can take.  It’s available in Spanish there as well.

We need to help spread the word about diabetes symptoms and risk factors because undiagnosed diabetes is the worst kind to have.  Once diagnosed, lifestyle changes and appropriate treatment can begin and not only can a person start feeling better, they can prevent all sorts of complications or at least slow down their progression. 

This is also a wake up call for those who have diabetes.  We don’t want people to lose hope.  We want  people to know that they can live a great life with diabetes.  This involves taking diabetes seriously and working closely with your doctor.  The first step in managing your diabetes is to acknowledge it, not ignore it.  If you’ve been told you have diabetes, don’t ignore it.  Learn about it and take control of your health.  You can do it.  You can feel better and you can greatly improve your future.  Make the decision today, to meet your diabetes head on.  Check out online diabetes blogs to find out how people with all types of diabetes are living wonderful lives with diabetes, one day at a time.

Spread the word to your friends and family.  Diabetes is increasing it’s prevalence and we all need to be aware of the risk factors and symptoms.

If you don’t have any symptoms but have a family history of diabetes, you also cannot lose hope.  Your genes do not typically have control over 100% of your outcome.  Your actions carry a lot of weight, too.  Learn about lifestyle changes you can make to delay or prevent diabetes.  It’s very much worth a try :)

Learn more here:

National Diabetes Education Program Website

American Diabetes Association Website

Living in the “Diabetes Belt”

One of my favorite spots for hiking!  Just don't fall in the water.
One of my favorite spots for hiking! Just don’t fall in the water!

 

I live in the state of Virginia and have since age one.  I’m at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains and find it a really lovely place to live.  I think this city has won awards for being such a great place to live.  I think my parents decided to come here instead of Miami, Florida because it’s safe.  It’s easy to drive here, low traffic, everyone obeys traffic signals.  There is a low crime rate, no hurricanes, no tornados, no earthquakes, and mild winters. 

It’s really comfortable here.  Most everyone has a car.  I have never ridden a public bus in my life.  We do have public buses but the overwhelming majority of people drive a car.  And of course they do, we have few sidewalks (and I mean few).  Most of our main roads are one lane each way.  The most popular club in town is unimpressive to say the least…  In school, we always said our town was “boring” and “sucked you in” because of it’s safety making it an appealing place to start a family.  (To be fair this place is growing and diversifying a lot so YAY!)

Guess what we have lots of?  Restaurants!  Shopping!  Movies!  and…wilderness.  Well, the wilderness is outside of the suburbs and a great place to enjoy hiking and trails (and canoeing, white water rafting, skiing etc).  Thing is, not many people like being in the sticks.  So a select group of people use this as a source for activities.  A lot of people fish around here…but I wouldn’t consider that strenuous exercise.  When I was dating my husband we’d drive around and around town looking for something to do and would eventually settle on dinner and a movie.  And dinner at most places around here has a southern influence or charm, as I like to put it.  We like beer, buttered rolls, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes with gravy, steak, french fries, and loads of ranch dressing on our salads. Dessert is a serious ordeal and we prefer it be classic apple pie or dense chocolate cake.  The other factor here is the quantity of food served locally.  At most any restaurant here, I can literally order one meal and eat off of it for three meals.

I don’t know how much of the South eats the way most do here but if the latest news about the highest number of type 2 diabetics being in the Southeastern US is any indicator, maybe we’re not alone here in my town.

The culture here has strong ties to certain foods (many of which I just mentioned) and it just so happens those foods are not the best to eat in large portions.  They are full of unhealthy fats and processed carbohydrates.  But it’s not easy to change eating habits.  We’re proud of what we eat.  Not to mention we typically continue to eat what we did growing up.  Our parents fed us what they were fed growing up.  And so on.  I am not originally from here so I ate from the local selection plus whatever my parents grew up eating and that exposure has helped me broaden my tastes and not be so fixated on certain foods.

Maybe this is the biggest problem for the people in Southeastern United States?  A culture of foods that in large quantities, become dangerous to eat.  Seriously, if the enjoyable thing in one’s culture was to have a raw veggie fest every night in front of the TV, the outcome would be a bit different.  Of course, genes are at play with type 2 diabetes but maybe this is all the more reason to try to focus on those factors which we do have control over.  Maybe we can help our odds a bit.

So I’m sending slack to the people of my area because yes, you grew up with all things yummy.  I understand the appeal of fried apple fritters, I SO do.  And I’m not saying you can’t have any.  I’m just saying, things need to change and you can start, little by little, to help make our Southeastern culture one of great health, in addition to one of hospitality, warmth, and faith.

Oral Medication Resource for Type 2 Diabetics

 

A big reality for type 2 diabetics is oral medicine.  This is something you’ll never ever see me write about because I don’t have a clue about oral meds. 

I did want to share with you however, a resource guide about oral medications for type 2 diabetics that Registered Dietitian, Emilia Klapp has put together. 

It’s always good to be safe when taking any medication and her guide includes such information you don’t want to ignore if you take any oral meds.  And I don’t mind stearing you to her site as it includes helpful daily info regarding important topics like hypertension and cholesterol and of course diabetes management.

So check out the Oral Medication Resource and The Diabetes Club when you get a chance!

Have a nice weekend!

10 Thanksgiving Tips for Diabetics

 

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

-JFK

I think Thanksgiving and respect go hand in hand.  We give thanks on Thanksgiving Day and when we give thanks, we are grateful.  When we’re truly grateful for something we have the desire to maintain it or keep it.  For example, I’m grateful for my husband and children and try to do my part to keep them safe and healthy and happy.  I’m grateful for my current state of health and therefore work to keep it that way.  I’m even grateful for this awesome computer and try to treat it nicely so it doesn’t die on me (even though sometimes I want to throw it out the window). 

So since Thanksgiving and respect are like cousins, I want to propose that although you might look forward to filling up without regrets on Thanksgiving dinner, may you also keep in mind just a few things.

Below are 10 Thanksgiving Day Tips:

1.  Whether you’re religious or not, your body is your temple.  Give it some turkey, veggies, and don’t weigh it down too much with the mac and cheese or neverending bread rolls. 

2.  Be mindful of every bite.  Be grateful for every bite.  I once inhaled 3 pieces of pumpkin pie only to realize, much to my dismay, that I forgot to enjoy a single bite of those 1000 calories!  What a tragedy…

3.  Go for fresh and simple.  Green bean casseroles are yummy, indeed.  But, have you tried plain steamed green beans with a little seasoning and salt?  So fresh and flavorful and a perfect compliment to other heavier foods.  Easy to make too!

4.  Distract yourself from food.  For some reason I eat less on Thanksgiving than I do on the other days of the year.  I’m weird in so many ways, believe me I’m just happy that in this regard, my weirdness is actually beneficial!  Anyway, the reason I eat less is I’m overwhelmed with everything else going on.  I’m bopping along to music, talking and joking with others, seeing what interesting special is on TV, etc.  The point is, I’m not eating too much, and I’m having fun.  You too, can balance out the large meal you’re going to have by getting up after dinner and trading seconds for a fun impromptu dance in the living room.  Or karaoke.  Or whatever, you get the point.

5.  Be picky.  I don’t eat certain dishes every Thanksgiving.  Not because I don’t like them.  It’s just that I like other dishes more.  So by being a little picky, I can reduce lots of calories and carbs and still enjoy some of what I really love-like dessert!

6.  Focus on people.  Ask anyone what they think is most important about a Thanksgiving gathering.  “People, loved ones, family, friends” is usually the answer.  However, we spend tons of money on food, eat tons of it, all at the expense of our health and in the end, don’t our loved ones want to see us healthy and feeling good?  A great way to distract from food is to focus on all the conversations you have with family and friends.  Act like food isn’t the main attraction (even if it is).

7.  Get creative.  I once knew a family that had an interesting way of avoiding over-eating.  Instead of eating and then lingering at a table covered with possible second helpings, everyone would eat slowly and when everybody finished, they’d all get up and help out with clearing the table.  They would just leave out water and wine and sit and talk without all the food tempting them to eat some more.  I thought it was a great idea.  They would soon relocate to the living room for more talking, TV, music, and games.  And everyone went to bed without feeling like a stuffed turkey.  

8.  Tweak holiday meals.  You don’t have to replace your favorite dishes.  You can do a lot of good by just searching for healthier alternatives online.  Try a search, I guarantee you’ll find lots of raved about recipes.

9.  Breathe deeply.  Holidays are stressful.  Lots of heart attacks occur on Thanksgiving and the days surrounding Thanksgiving.  Try to remind yourself to breathe deeply throughout the day and try not to sweat the small stuff. 

10.  Last but definitely not least, don’t forget to test.  In particular, don’t test right before eating, test an hour before eating.  Trust me, you don’t want to find out your blood sugar is high right before eating.  This happened to me once and I sure regretted having to eat dinner all alone at the table an hour after everyone else. 

It may seem a bit much to go to so much trouble for your health on Thanksgiving but, remember, one of the greatest things to be thankful for is your health.  Treat your body like you’re truly thankful for it.  Unlike all that stuffing, it always loves you back in the end.

Check out last year’s post, Be a Grateful Diabetic on Thanksgiving Day.

Two Reasons, One Recipe Campaign

 

 

I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with Acclaimed chef and type 2 diabetic, Franklin Becker and Dr. Yehuda Handelsman, an endocrinologist and the current Chair Medical Director of the Metabolic Institute of America and Chair and Program Director of the World Congress on Insulin Resistance, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease.

They have teamed up to educate adults with type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol and healthy food choices.  The name of their campaign is Two Reasons, One Recipe.

Chef Becker is the execute chef of New York’s Abe and Arthur’s Restaurant.  After his type 2 diabetes diagnosis he set out on a mission to create healthier versions of his celebrated recipes.  On the campaign’s website, TwoReasonsOneRecipe.com you can find some tasty recipe ideas and learn more about the campaign.

These two men have teamed up to promote the importance of lowering one’s A1c test and measure of bad cholesterol, which is LDL-C, in adults with type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. 

I disagree with the campaign when it comes to the use of vegetable oils and soy but, I appreciate the effort on encouraging people to eat more vegetables and lean meats and enhancing the flavor of dishes with safe options like lemon, herbs, and spices. 

Ana and I came up with some questions to ask and you can check out the short video below to see what Chef Becker and Dr. Handelsman had to say. 

Note: While I spoke to them, I watched them on a video that had a few seconds of delay so when you hear me hesitate or talk unbelievably slow, please know this was like a mind game for me-next time shall be better, I promise!

 

If you don’t see the video above, here is the link to it.

Don’t forget to check out the recipes on Two Reason, One Recipe, they look really tasty!

Soda and Diabetes

 

Firstly, I want to announce that anytime I give a recommendation, it will now be referenced so you can read the science for yourself and know I didn’t make it up.  Then, if you want to tell me you disagree, I’ll ask for your references as well.  We’ll learn more from each other this way, it’s a win-win. :)

I recently read about how just one soda a day hikes up a person’s diabetes risk by a whole lot.  This study concluded that other drinks containing High Fructose Corn Syrup did the same thing.  This would include sweet tea, energy drinks, etc.

An article talking about this study is here

This study showed that people who had one soda a day were more than 25% more likely to get type 2 diabetes than those who didn’t have nearly so much soda (no more than one drink per month).

Most people I know have at least one soda or sugary drink each day.  Does that mean many people have increased their risk for type 2 diabetes by 25% or more?  It looks that way.  So while  type 2 diabetes isn’t caused by too much sugar, it looks like drinks with High Fructose Corn Syrup play some sort of a role in type 2 diabetes incidences, no?

Anyway, it’s not too late to cut out sugary drinks.  No matter who you are or what diabetes you have you can still decide to do this. 

Not only will you significantly improve your health with one step, but you’ll likely drop a few pounds (as long as you don’t make an increase in caloric intake somewhere else in your diet). 

I had a hard time giving up regular soda when I was 11 and diagnosed type 1 diabetic.  I never had more than one soda a week but, still.  I enjoyed that one soda a week.  I didn’t like diet sodas for a while but, eventually learned to absolutely love the taste of Diet Coke.  Then after researching artificial sweeteners I decided to cut out Diet Coke, too.  This was really hard but, after doing so felt so much better and stopped feeling hungry all the time.  Now, I enjoy a Diet Coke about once a month and that’s it. 

The key is just adjusting to a new norm.  Even though it feels impossible to substitute water for sodas or other sugary drinks, it won’t always feel that way. 

Something that helped me adjust was to add lemon or lime juice to my water and to discover herbal teas.  I also enjoy making my own hot cocoa which allows me to control how much sugar goes in.  Over time you’ll be pleased to notice that a regular soda suddenly tastes so sweet it makes you gag.

The point of all this is, A) studies prove you have lots to gain by cutting out or minimizing sugary drinks, and B) I know you can do it!

Start today and if you have a hard time, just minimize your intake very gradually so you hardly notice.

Note: If your blood sugar gets low and you usually drink something sweet to correct it, I suggest 100% natural juice or drinks with sugar and not High Fructose Corn Syrup.  I usually carry 100% orange juice with me at all times.

Watch This Video and a Child Will Get a Week of Life-Saving Insulin

The eye of a doctor looking at a droplet on a ...
What would you do without this?   looking at the needle from Crestock Photos

 

The Big Blue Test, was started by the Diabetes Hands Foundation last year and entails encouraging all people with diabetes to test their blood sugar on World Diabetes Day, November 14th at 2pm.  Here is how it works:  Test your blood sugar, do 14 minutes of any type of activity, test your blood sugar again and then share your results here!

This year, Roche Diabetes Care has teamed up with Diabetes Hands Foundation to try and get at least 100,000 views of the Big Blue Test promotional video.  Every time someone watches this video, Roche will make a donation (up to $75,000) 

Then, Diabetes Hands Foundation will be using the money to aid the Life for a Child program, run by the International Diabetes Federation, and Insulin For Life.  According to AskManny.com (the man behind the Diabetes Hands Foundation), these two global, humanitarian organizations provide diabetes medication and supplies to children in the world’s poorest countries.

I’ve long stated that although I wish for everyone to be able to afford diabetes pumps and a CGMS, my greatest concern is the many diabetics out there who don’t even have regular access to insulin and syringes.  This is a way to help those who are much less fortunate.  All you have to do is spread the video so we can get all the views we need to send all the help we can.

Visit BigBlueTest.org to watch the video (or watch it below):

 

Empathy 101 for Diabetics

The best way to open a closed door.      Photo Courtesy of Nuttakit
The best way to open a closed door.     Photo Courtesy of Nuttakit

 

While I would consider myself no expert on the subject of empathy, I would say that it is a natural quality of mine (unlike so many other things lol).  Not something I take credit for, just something I was born with it seems.  Today it’s all about the greatness of empathy and how you and I can put it into practice more frequently.

What is empathy?  You know that saying, “walk a mile in another man’s shoes”?  Well…it’s like that.  Empathy is imagining how someone is feeling and you can even learn to anticipate how someone will react to something.  I was in an empathy training for work years ago.  We had a series of questions to answer and then we reviewed everyone’s answers.  Out of 30 people only two of us had “acceptable” answers.  It led me to believe that many people may be a bit out of touch with using empathy.

Or maybe it’s not that we don’t know to use empathy.  Maybe we only use it with loved ones.  This is a big problem because often, people who could really use our empathy are acquaintances, or even people we don’t like or know.

Don’t feel you owe anyone empathy because you’re suffering a lot?  Well then consider that your actions dictate how others will treat you.  You want understanding don’t you?

Well, here are ways to get into an empathy giving habit:

Imagine what someone may really be feeling/thinking.

When that “diabetes police” says “Geez, your blood sugar is high again!” imagine what that person might be feeling.  Perhaps frustration in loving you and knowing that a high blood sugar doesn’t mean good things for you?  Or maybe this person is just surprised or confounded by your blood sugar being high even though you seem to do really well and they are frustrated with your misfortune to have diabetes-not with you necessarily. 

Change your choice of words.

You know how mothers act when their child does something daring (like jumping off the deck or roof of a house)?  A mother will run to her child and instead of hug him in relief of his being ok, she’ll scold him at the top of her lungs and tell him ten different ways he’ll suffer if he ever scares her so badly again.  What mom really meant was, “I love you so much and if something ever happened to you I don’t know how I’d go on so please don’t do this again-you might get hurt.”

This is how many of us are.  It is natural for our fears to shake us up and make us speak in harsh or demanding tones when really we just feel worried about someone.  So a great thing to try is to change our words.  Tell your loved one, aka personal diabetes police officer, that you’d appreciate it if they’d instead say something like, “Oh no, your blood sugar is high again, you probably don’t feel well.  How can I help?”

Look around you and put yourself in another’s shoes.

When you’re in line to buy groceries and someone ahead of you is a very old woman taking what you’d swear is a million years to write a simple check, stop yourself and imagine being her.

She is hunched over and so you figure her back must not feel so good.  Her mind isn’t as quick as it once was so she is looking up at the monitor to make sure she got the amount correct on the check.  You notice her fingers trembling just a tad and so imagine her fingers are having a tough time grasping the pen.  And maybe she doesn’t feel well.  Some days you don’t either and you’re not her.  Perhaps she feels really awful and just wants to lie down.  Instead, she is at the store by herself and is trying to just pay for her food and go home.  Maybe the walk to the car won’t be easy…

You get what I mean.  That was an easy example.  What about when you get angry with the infamous (in the diabetes community) Halle Berry.  Yes, her.  You might be frustrated because she hasn’t done the amount of diabetes awareness work you’d like her too.  You might be angry because years ago she said she turned into a type 2 diabetic from a type 1 with diet and exercise.  And you might be frustrated because she doesn’t seem to have an understanding about the different types of diabetes and how her words impact so many.

Fair enough.  But, I suggest we try hard at being as kind as we say we are.  Try to give her the benefit of the doubt.  She has helped raise money for diabetes and shows up at events, maybe she doesn’t want to do more because of some unknown struggle in her life?  When she made the incorrect statement years ago about no longer having type 1, I think, well someone might have misinformed her.  Not everyone does research on their own and maybe she thought that since she could afford a top doctor that he or she would be trustworthy.  Why would someone say they went from type 1 to type 2 diabetic?  I believe her understanding of the correct info was somehow lost somewhere.  Maybe she didn’t understand what a doctor explained to her.  Maybe a doctor gave her incorrect info.  In later interviews she has said that she manages her long time type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise and that she used to use insulin-but doesn’t anymore.  So it sounds like she has come closer to understanding her condition.  She appears healthy so I can’t say she looks like she doesn’t know how to take care of herself.  I guess time will be the one to really tell us.  I wonder if she has a hard time with the constant media attention.  I wonder if she hasn’t learned more about diabetes because it scares her and talking publicly about it might be depressing (hey, I know some people like this).  I’d like it if we had her as a force on the diabetes awareness scene because she is so well-known.  But, she isn’t required to do this and for us to act like she is, is wrong.  

We’re in the same boat and sending her more rude messages than we send others who we wish would do more is also wrong because remember, diabetes is hard on everyone!  If you think her life is easier than yours then you are still fighting your own ignorance.  Besides, all the negative attention on a celebrity reinforces the thinking that celebrities are better than us or somehow above us non-celebrity folk.  They’re not.  We criticize when others make celebrities more than what they are.  Then we turn around and bash them for mistakes that anyone might make.  We say that because they’re famous they have greater responsibilities.  I understand this.  I also understand that if Halle Berry got online and read what everyone said about her in regards to her diabetes, she might steer clear of advocating for diabetes.  You know, to steer clear of all the angry, hateful words and criticism.  I wonder how may of us might to do the same, in her position.  Maybe if we’re nicer and call out for her help…maybe then we’d get it.

So with that said, I’m proposing everyone try to empathize with those you find it hard to empathize with the most.  I admit it’s not easy but, I’ll keep trying and you keep trying and together we’ll find that the Diabetes Online Community and the world is a much nicer place.

Which Diabetes is Worse?

It's a journey for both.  Photo courtesy of Evgeni Dinev
It’s a journey for both. Photo courtesy of Evgeni Dinev

 

David Edelman started a very interesting conversation at Diabetes Daily.  He eventually made a late edit saying he started it to show how unproductive the subject matter is to talk about.  I wish he hadn’t said this because I don’t think communication is unproductive.  I think anger and fear and ignorance is unproductive.

“Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.”

-Aristotle

The subject matter is probably one of the most debated subjects surrounding diabetes.  Here is what I have to say about the subject regarding which diabetes is worse, type 1 or type 2.

I have had type 1 diabetes for almost 16 years now.  I have family with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, type 1.5 or LADA ,and even pre-diabetes.  I think that having any type of diabetes is difficult.  I think every human being has their own difficult journey in life.  We are all human beings and we all have different reasons for which life might be challenging.  If a pre-diabetic feels suicidal for whatever reason, then do I have the better diabetes?  We can’t answer these questions for each other because we are not in each other’s bodies.

Do type 2 diabetics have a clue how hard life is for a type 1?  NO.  But, do type 1 diabetics know about the deep, painful and complex struggles of life with type 2?  NO.

Our lives are full of thousands of factors which vary upon each separate individual.  All of these form variables and they are countless.  We can’t possibly speak for another person and say they suffer less than we do.  Scientifically speaking, it’s not possible.

 The only disability in life is a bad attitude.

-Scott Hamilton

My husband is from a tiny town in rural Mexico.  We were talking about how sad the issues with poverty are all over the world in general…I mentioned my depression about certain things and somehow he brought up how he knew some people in his town who were genuinely happy.  They were barely scraping by but, they were happy.  And at that time, years ago, I wasn’t.  It suddenly occurred to me that often, those who suffer the least are those in a healthy frame of mind.  I was allowing myself to feel like a victim and these others, with struggles I couldn’t imagine living, seemed to suffer less because of their attitude.

So now, I’m almost never jealous of those who have a nicer car or home or who have better health than me.  I’m jealous of those who are happier and have a more resilient attitude.  Since we don’t know what life will throw out at us, the best defense is a wonderful and healthy outlook on life.  (I’m not saying this is easy)

I understand many of the points type 1 diabetics had to make about how our type of diabetes is very exhausting and how we could quickly die at any moment with just a small error or miscalculation.  We don’t mean to sound dramatic, this is the truth and we just want people to acknowledge this!  We just want people who are not type 1 diabetics to say, “I don’t know what you’re going through but, it sounds really, really, awful.”  Most of all, we want people to listen and not judge.

Type 2 diabetics want the exact same.  If someone has lung cancer because they smoked too many cigarettes do you deny them sympathy?  Type 2 diabetics want people to understand that no, maybe some of them haven’t always taken the best care of themselves, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t trying, that they aren’t struggling.  It doesn’t mean they didn’t live what they believed was a healthy lifestyle.  It doesn’t mean they didn’t live a truly healthy lifestyle.  Besides, when the government has told us in the past that fat is unhealthy and carbs are good and most of what we find around us is processed, it’s no wonder we have an epidemic.  And I can’t imagine how hard it must be for a type 2 to juggle medications.  Seems like a nearly impossible way to manage blood sugars.  Especially when your doctor gives you your dose and it may not be the exact amount of medication you require.

I’ve read over and over again that unhealthy lifestyle habits can change the expression of our genes, basically switching on genes that predispose us to cancer, type 2 diabetes, a full head of gray hair, and so on.  BUT, the point is that we need to exercise some more sense coated in compassion.  I grew up eating a lot of white bread just like a type 2 diabetic might have.  I got type 1 and they got type 2.  When I got older I ate too much McDonald’s and gained weight.  Just like a type 2 might have.  I don’t get blamed for my diabetes and that type 2 does.  How is that fair?  How dare we do that to them?  My husband asked me the other day, “if you could trade your type 1 for type 2, would you?”  I couldn’t answer him.  I just want neither type.

“Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.”

-Albert Einstein

It’s not fair and every type of diabetes deserves compassion and understanding.  I don’t believe that genes are 100% to blame but, I don’t think most type 2 diabetics believe that either.  I think that type 2 diabetics are struggling to figure out (just like myself) how to eat healthy on a budget, how to exercise after a long work day and commute home, and how to show up at the potluck without brownies so people don’t give you strange looks when you instead bring something “healthy”.  Our entire way of life is very accustomed to some long standing habits that we are now struggling to change.  It doesn’t make things easier when people don’t even agree on what changes we should make.  It also doesn’t help when we tell them they should lose weight (the ones that are overweight).  I mean, I don’t ask my husband if I look fat so he can enlighten me, I ask so he can lie and tell me I’m not.  People know if they should or shouldn’t lose weight.  Some overweight people are healthy and feel fabulous.  They probably don’t need to lose weight but only they along with their HCP can decide on that, not us.  And those who should lose weight?  They just need some support.  It’s hard to lose weight-especially if you’ve had that extra weight for a long time.  And especially if diabetes causes your feet to burn, your mood to plummet, and your wallet to shrink from prescriptions and doctor visits.

I think that part of why the discussion gets so heated is that we all are desperate to claim that our disease is the toughest because if it were, wouldn’t we feel better about ourselves?  If we were each dealing with the most difficult form of diabetes, wouldn’t we feel a bit less like failures and a bit more like champions?  I’m not saying we’re failures, I’m saying we often feel as if we are.

A lot of the negative energy in these comments stems from hurt.  These people have really deep wounds and they want a band aid.  Then we try to tell them how they’re wrong and it puts salt in their wound.  This just causes more illogical back and forth.

How about we all just stop and listen to each other’s stories and sympathize and give support?  Let’s try our best to put ourselves in each other’s shoes.  We need to find a way for you to tell me your story while I just listen (not trying to one up you with my account) and then you listen to me while I tell you mine.

Honestly, I’ve never told anyone about how a typical day of mine goes.  I’ve never told them about how I feel when I wake up until the time I go to bed.  Now that I realize this I also realize I have never heard a type 2 tell me how their typical day is and what they think and feel throughout it.  I really want to know.  Is there anyone out there who will share this with me?  (Since writing this post, a type 2 has shared the experience-read here!)

Some people in the discussion were upset and said they feel we should each stick to working on our own causes.  I think we should unite.  We should all simultaneously support the cause for a cure for type 1 and 2.  At the same time we should all work on ourselves.  Do the best you can eating and exercising and getting your friends to join in.  Read and research how to be healthier.  Use common sense.

And if you’ve been cruel or judgmental, or less than kind, I forgive you, now just forgive yourself and make a personal note to stop or do less of it.  And keep working on this.  (I’m including myself here) Eventually we’ll succeed and find that we inspired many other people to do the same.  This is how change happens.  It doesn’t happen with hateful comments.  So let’s share and listen more and work on ourselves.  And we’ll see what happens.

LADA Awareness Week Oct 18-24 2010

 

Sounding the alarm on a different type of diabetes.  Photo courtesy of Paul.
Sounding the alarm on a different type of diabetes. Photo courtesy of Paul.

 

Did you know there might be a type of diabetes more common than type 1 and less common than type 2?  It’s called Diabetes Type 1.5 or LADA which stands for Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults.  I actually have an uncle who was diagnosed with this around the age of 40. 

The reason we must make awareness on this issue is that many of these LADA patients are often diagnosed as Type 2 diabetics.  Can you imagine how hard it would be to manage your health without knowing you need insulin all of the time?  It’s definitely a struggle for these types, not to mention they go through life feeling fine and then wham!  Lifestyle habits that have gone on much longer than a child’s when diagnosed with type 1 must suddenly be altered dramatically.  I can only imagine the whirlwind that ensues. 

The real tragedy though is again, not knowing one has this until it’s too late.  So I urge you to learn more about LADA through the following links:  (links take you to LADA related info)

TuDiabetes.Org

Dlife.com

Tell everyone you know!  It’s always better to be aware than to learn a lesson the hard way.

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