My First Year as a Diabetic

Well, I just finished my first year as a diabetic and figured I would have another first, my first blog. I had this idea a while back and am hoping that this might make the learning curve for another newbie just a little faster.

Things I have learned during my first year as a Type 2 diabetic.

I was diagnosed on Aug 18 2008 and in my first year I learned a lot more about the body, nutrition and digestion than I ever thought I would need to know. I also came to some realizations that I wanted to get down before they faded away into the background clutter in the hopes that someone else will see that they are not the only one who has felt overwhelmed or confused.

These thoughts are not posted in any particular order beyond when I thought of them.

When I left the office my first realization was ‘I am about 98% ignorant on this’ I knew I was not able to properly metabolize sugar, and that carbohydrates were digested into sugars. But that was about it. My dog is diabetic so I knew about insulin and syringes and eating by the clock.

Newly diagnosed people will be very overwhelmed with the amount of information both good and not so good coming at them from many directions, help them if you can to sort things out and learn what is good and not for them and their individual disease. Remember their questions are not dumb or stupid, they may have heard misinformation or confused some information, they are seeking understanding because their life and health depends on it.

Not every diabetic is going to do what is needed to stay healthy and there is nothing that you can do, that I am aware of, to change that. Accept that they don’t want to accept the fact that they can control this disease and live with it and do what you need to do for you.

Just because an organization has diabetes in it’s name does not mean it is good. As a type 2 the ADA is not my friend in their methodology of diet and BG control, they need to stay in the advocacy role where they do a good job. Or in the words of Gretchen Becker “Today, we have new evidence, and if the ADA wants to keep anyone’s respect, it’s time they follow Crick’s advice, admit their mistakes, get rid of their old ideas, and move on. It’s time they switch their focus from politics to real science that helps real patients.
Until they do, some of us think the whole organization is not to be trusted.”

While Type 1 and Type 2 share some common traits and a name they are 2 distinctly different diseases, I don’t know if either is easier, but they both have their differences. I would guess the same holds true for the LADA, Type 1.5 …… From knowing a co-worker who is Type 1 he has more flexibility in his diet, but we both agree that we would rather be where I am.

My Dr does not know it all.

Once you find what you need to do to control your bg, talk to your Dr. he or she works for you, they are taking your money and need to support you in your decision, if they won’t, fire them and find another who will.

My diabetes is a very individual thing. Yours is too.

Diabetic educators will give you a good foundation to build your knowledge on, just be aware that they only know, or are only allowed to teach, the ADA way which may or may not be in your best interest but it is a starting point, a safety zone in traffic where you can stop and plan what direction you need to persue.

You will have many chances to teach others about diabetes, knowledge is very lacking in the general populace, just let it be known that you are approachable with questions.

Be afraid, be very afraid, of hospitals managing your diabetes and or diet if you are an inpatient, again the ADA way is not your friend.

You have Dr Bernstein at one end of the spectrum and you have the ADA at the other, and the Glycemic Index method and David Mendosa somewhere in between. With the method that works for you somewhere in there waiting for you to discover.

Test and test often to see what foods and in what quantity do to your system this will help you to discover what you need to do to live with this, it is controllable but it is up to you to do your part, your Dr can help, but he can not do it for you.

Congratulations on learning a lot–and sharing it with others–during this year! Thanks for the thoughtful words.

Although type 1 and type 2 (and the stages of both–a type 1 who still makes some insulin is different than a type 1 who does not; same is true for type 2s along the continuum) are very different diseases, we do all share the same goals of controlling blood glucose, staying as healthy as possible, and enjoying our lives.

Wow. Thanks for the insight and sharing your first year of the journey. I’m going to go back and reread your blog.

Thanks for writing this Dave. I have reverted back into the denial stage. I had almost 8 months of “good” eating and taking care of things. I felt better, looked better and so then I fell into the just treat myself trap. I am glad to have re-read your blog. Thanks. =)