A few day ago my good friend Rick wrote a blog about how there are few blogs that are written by Type 2 diabetics. Of course he is right, even though our numbers are great few of us choose to blog. I decided then to do my part and write a blog but the question was what to write about. I soon that realized a subject brought up by Stoner, another friend of mine. "What is it like to have Diabetes" would be an excellent topic from a T2 point of view. Rick did an excellent job expressing what it is like for him as a Type 1, this is my attempt to explain what its like for me as a Type 2.
The best place to start is to say that its different, not just different than Type 1 but also different at each stage of this disease as it progresses. It also varies from person to person in the way it manifest itself.
In the beginning its all about diet and exercise for most of us. Its about preventing, preventing it from getting worse or if its even possible bringing things back to normal. I recognized it as a serious disease but not an immediate threat and something that could be dealt with later. Some people do not make that mistake but unfortunately I did. It was a foolish notion that I would later learn was terribly wrong. For me it was don't worry too much you have plenty of time to take care of this.
The progressive nature of T2 soon leads to what I call the oral pill stage. This for me is the worst stage. It is a never ending always changing parade of pills. In this stage you must always be proactive, you can for the most part keep control of your blood glucose with pills and, of course, diet and exercise but if you screw up and lets say indulge in Aunt Susie's pecan pie then you have no tool to bring your blood glucose back into line other than time and good behavior. This stage is a constant struggle to get it right every time. Add to this an unstoppable need to quench the hunger brought on by a desire for carbs and you have a struggle of monumental proportion.
If you stay at it long enough with T2 you may find yourself where I am now. All the many pill that you once depended on have lost their effectiveness and now insulin comes into the picture. First its basal insulin then MDI and now a pump. Insulin for me was the tool that was missing for so many years. I now have the ability to make a difference in my blood glucose if I'm not always perfect. With insulin I have all the responsibilities that come with it but that has been good for me. The need to test and count carbs to calculate a bolus has brought to me an understanding of how my food effects things.
What is it like now for this Type 2? Its never being alone with my thoughts, D always insets its self into them. There are so many questions that D puts into my head every day. Is there enough insulin in my pump? How many carbs are in Aunt Susie's pecan pie? Did I bolus enough for that last meal, or even worse, did I bolus too much? I think of it as hitting a target that is two or three hours away. Hitting this target is the most consuming thing I have ever done and the most important. There are countless preparation that must be made to hit that target. There are mistakes to be made that can have dire consequences so there is constant pressure to do it right.
I have learned that even with all this pressure, I now have the knowledge to deal with it. I have learned a lot along the way and hope to continue to learn as time goes by.