Rediscovering My Diabetes

The problem with knowing exactly what to do but NOT doing it. Yes, we all have gone through that. Sometimes it doesn’t matter that much, some other times it matters a LOT. Like when you have diabetes.

I’ve lived with the condition all my life, not because I’m a Type 1, but because I grew up with a diabetic father and a paranoid mother. Maybe I’m exaggerating about the paranoia; maybe she just knew very well what I seem to forget so often: diabetes is serious business.

When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes I felt like there was no surprise there; with the genetics, a history of weight issues and bad eating habits. Somehow I knew it was coming and I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be a diabetic no matter what. The problem is that most of the time I don’t remember I have diabetes, and I think it’s OK to keep an A1C of 6,2%. Worst of all, I rely on that A1C result every 4-6 months to convince myself that I’m the right track. Truth is, I don’t remember when was the last time I pricked my finger to do a blood glucose test.

I preach too much about diabetes, and I show myself as a know-it-all. I know quite a lot about the condition. I know all about the consequences of being out of control. I know all the physiology and what high blood glucose levels do. I know I could have a part of my body amputated, go into kidney failure, go blind, have a heart attack, etc. I also know how to manage it and I can repeat to a T what I’ve learned in my diabetes education sessions, reading books and sharing my experience in diabetes communities. But what good is knowledge if I don’t apply it?

Sometimes I think it’s because I’m just not afraid to die. I assume that complications of diabetes will do to me what they did to my father, taking him to the other side without a warning. But then I’m just blind to the past because my dad had retinopathy and neuropathy and we had scares more often than not. One day he stopped breathing, he died… because he was a diabetic. He did great for the most part, and I wish he had all the resources I have now to keep his blood sugars in control. But even if he was a disciplined person, he still died; and so I wonder “Why bother?” — That is just wrong.

I don’t think I see myself like I should. As a diabetic who can have a fulfilling life and shouldn’t live with shame because of her condition. But I also as a person who must introduce important routines in her daily activities, name it blood glucose testing, exercising, watching carbohydrate intake closely and responsibly. It all sounds so simple here… try doing it!

I suppose I have to stand in front of a mirror every morning and remind myself that I have to take care of this body and be aware of my diabetes. I may be 34 years old, but I still behave like an irresponsible kid sometimes. It doesn’t make me less of a person to admit I have diabetes, and that I really have to forget abusing milkshakes at 3 p.m.

When I joined, I did it because I needed motivation. However I’m not there often enough to share experiences and actually learn something from other members. And then I was asked if I wanted to become and Ambassador for the Diabetes Hands Foundation in the Kansas City Area. While honored, I was also ashamed of my poor management and control. For how can I be some kind of spokesperson if I don’t practice what I preach?

I come to this realization (which is not rocket science) every single time I see the diabetes community working hard. But I never stick to my purpose and objective to make a good diabetes management part of my life once and for all. It’s extremely hard to admit it, especially for type 2’s who don’t depend on an insulin pump. Pricking my fingers twice a day may not be fun, but it’ll save me more than one headache in the future. And eating well will not only benefit my blood glucose levels but also my waist line. So why don’t I do it already, right?

While guilt is what makes us do certain things sometimes, it should never be a motivation for people with diabetes. Yes, I’m fat. And yes, my blood glucose levels will improve with weight loss. But I recently learned that there are other things that should be considered when talking about type 2 diabetes. Fortunately I have a doctor who is optimist and kind, and who never gives me the “What are we going to do about your weight… tsk, tsk” talk. I suppose she knows I’m someone who’s smart enough. Would I like her to be more aggressive or mean? No, thanks. I don’t need a drill sergeant; I just need good motivation. And what greater motivation there is than the promise of a wonderful life next to the people you love?

So my plan is already rolling. From visiting my endocrinologist in the next 3 weeks, to scheduling an eye exam. Eating is already being taken care of, but I need more exercise. But the most important thing is to be close who those, like me, have to live with diabetes and care enough to show the world they are doing something about it.

Beatriz, wise words

Rediscovering the place thing take in our life is an ongoing never-ending process. It is hard all that is going in our minds into writing… sometimes we are too hard on ourselves, and that leave us kind of paralyzed… you are not alone.

About the Ambassador thing, I understand what you are coming from, but wanted to tell you two things: keep in mind most people should not expect you to be perfect (I mean, nobody is…) in order to reach out to them. With that said your well being is number one to us. :slight_smile: take the time you need… there will be allways opportunities to help when you are ready. :slight_smile:

Love your honesty! I think people will relate to and understand your message about diabetes because you reflect how the majority are living (remember. only about half of the people who know they have diabetes have A1Cs under 7 percent).

You may be very successful at getting people to take action because you plan to take action along with them.

It’s a truly motivating message for you to be able to say: “Diabetes is serious. And it’s hard. But we can do it. We’re worth it. Let’s work together to improve one thing at a time.”

And, be kind to yourself. Set one goal at a time, have some success, then move onto the next thing. Otherwise, it’s just too overwhelming! Can’t wait to read how things are going for you!

Thanks so much for sharing. I have had Type 1 since I was one year old and I will be 29 next week. For some reason lately, checking my blood sugar seems like the hardest thing to get done. I eat well mostly, exercise and am on a pump, but I hate checking my blood sugar. I am the only diabetic in my family, so nobody really understands at all. Best of luck to you!

Dear Beatriz

Go do the ambassador thing, you will be the most realistic example much better than a diabetic who runs a marathon every month. Knowing and doing are two different things. I have not been able to loose even one ounce. I am extremely insulin resistant and taking 100 units of external insulin per day so weight loss is impossible. I am thinking of asking the Doctor for a C-peptide test and if there is some insulin production to really cut the external insulin a lot and the devil who cares were the BG goes. If you have an A1c of 6.2% without too much effort that is good. Not sure if stressing yourself out with extreme measures is a good idea. Remember until we find out how to treat insulin resistance adding extra stress is known to really increase it.

This sounds all SOOO very familiar to me. Things that helped me (don’t know if they help you):
I was reminded that I am the one who is responsible for my health and that I wouldn’t be tortured by my bad conscience anymore if I just did anything. I took the first step. (Congrats on taking your first step, it is the most important one.) For me this was starting to log my numbers again. It forces me to sit down at least once a day to think about my D. And actually I joined TuDiabetes also to have something that would keep me on track every single day.
You’re on the right track. All the best to you!
P.S.: I asked myself “advice or sympathy?” and decided for advice. But be reassured that I’m as well able to relate to your feelings. :wink:

Thank you, all, so much for the kind words.

I got the chance to meet one of the member of TuDiabetes today. We got all excited about the things we want to do in the area. That is another excellent source of motivation for me. :slight_smile:

And I’ve been checking my blood sugar regularly. :wink:

Beatriz: I love your post. And 1 - do not feel guilty for the stages of grief that normalize us all. I did it, too - ignored until poor control got the best of me. I think that as a spokesperson, you truly know what we all feel because you experienced it!

Like you, I’m on a mission - to advocate for others and care for my own diabetes.

I can hardy wait to meet you in KC when I come there or when you come to STL!

Go girl!

Wow. Well said. I have T1, but my feelings were the same untill I decided to go on the insulin pump. I think that was my wake up call and my motivation to take control.
Great post!

It happends to the best of us, sometimes we are so fed up with thinking diabetes that you put it in the back of your mind. I was on insulin for about 9 months when I was diagonsed. After taking care of myself I completely got off the insulin. I thought I was “cured”. 3 years laters and the same bad habits I wound up with uncontrol blood glucose. I love to be on a bicycle but during the 3 years of off insulin I dont remember being on the bike much. I guess cause I had a small child and sometimes you tend to focus more on the kids than on yourself. So what I learned is that I had to pace myself on the way I managed things. As far as excercise, find something that you like to do that will get you moving. I sometimes go back to my childhood days to try to find something that will get me moving. I get on my bike, I even bought a longboard. My son just started skating and i would just sit and watch him. Then the inner child came out and I decided to get off the sideline and skate with him. I am older and more fragile but I rather be on two feet than sit there thinking that every little complication will get me. So find something that makes you happy to get moving, roller skate, bike, play wii sports. Moving is addictive. Once you complete something you want to go to the next thing. I sometimes play wii boxing and before I know it my bloold levels are in the low 70’s. Go figure. Take care