Vent: Dad with pre-diabetes in denial

I needed to vent a bit.

My father has been quite insistent with my sister and me - both of us have Type 1 diabetes - to have better control, monitor our blood sugars better, eat better, exercise more, etc.

However, he told me a few months ago that at his latest doctor’s visit, he was told he has pre-diabetes. If he exercised and controlled what he ate, he might avoid Type 2 diabetes.

But…I see signs. I always carry a water bottle with me. There have been times when I’m driving him from work (we work at the same company) that he will want to drink “some” water, and quickly drain the water bottle. To me, that’s classic polydipsia. I haven’t noticed polyuria or polyphagia, though. He hasn’t changed his lifestyle.

I’ve spoken with him a few times about my concerns, but it’s obvious he doesn’t want to talk about this. He even admitted to intentionally not checking his blood sugar because he doesn’t want to know.

Obviously, while it’s hypocritical, I can understand.

But what can I do to help him? For selfish reasons (I love my Dad), I’d like him to exercise more, eat better, and avoid Type 2. But from my own example, that won’t happen unless he accepts where he is, where he’s headed, and what he needs to do to be healthy. I don’t want to be the Diabetes Police, but I’d like to help.

If you guys have experiences (whether having had pre-diabetes in denial or having a loved one with pre-diabetes), I’d love to hear them.


Offer to engage in fun exercise with him: walks on a beach, hiking, playing catch or frisbee, walking a golf course (no carts allowed), taking up tandem cycling, training together to run a 10K next year or forming up a triathalon team, etc. The BEST way to knock down classic T2 insulin resistance is DAILY exercise equivalent to walking briskly for an hour. Maybe you could volunteer to walk an elderly or disabled neighbor’s dog and invite dad along for the walk.

Getting him moving in a FUN way is the best gift you can give him, no nagging required.

Kitabparast, while I understand your position I can also see your dads. Do I think he’s being foolish? You bet. But you will not be able to do anything to him to “make” him accept his condition. Put yourself in his place. How do you feel when he is on your case about your diabetes? Do you ever feel like telling him enough already, I can take care of myself. We, so can he.

Bottom line is he is either going to accept his pre-diabetic condition or he will not. If he doesn’t, I guess he will join the ranks of other T2’s who failed to control things when first diagnosed. Your real problem is if that happens then you will have a fight on your hands because then it won’t be pre-diabetes any longer. It will be the real deal

My suggestion, lead by example. Show him what it means to control diet and to excercise. If you go out to eat together eat as a you should eat. If you cheat, you will be telling him it’s okay to cheat. In time he may come around and talk to you about what is going on.

I don’t envy your position. I hope others can give you so better advice. I feel like I have been little it any help.

Maybe get him to sign up here and start reading on his own. Hey, reading don’t hurt.

Good luck.

That was a super reply Jean V!

Thanks, Peetie. My dad used to always nag me about playing tennis in the hideous heat and humidity of South Louisiana, but it took zero nagging to get me to jump into a nice, cool, clean pool and swim for hours: playing Marco Polo, playing water volleyball, climbing up the water slide and coming back down (wheeeee) over and over and over again. Ditto dancing. I literally loved dance enough to dance until dawn – zero nagging required to get me up and out there until I was completely winded and soaked with sweat – just keep the cold drinks coming. ;0)

I try to apply these lessons in my own life: find something fun to do that involves moving and it will be a pleasure to do it.

I kept diabetes at bay for several years by doing East Coast swing dancing as my hobby/obsession, until foot surgery for melanoma cut short my dancing “career”. At my peak, I was dancing 12-15 hours per week, soaking through two or three dresses at every dance. I converted from “pre-diabetes” to full-blown T2 within six months of the abrupt halt to my ability to dance – or walk very well – after the surgery.

Even now, ten years post diagnosis and on MDI – despite my various aches and pains (recurrent plantar fasciitis, hip, shoulder and knee issues) I can knock down my insulin needs just by exercising “to pain tolerance”. It’s not as fun as it used to be (!!!) but movement is life for a T2.

Jean: It’s good to hear that you can still exercise to some extent. Hope the structural problems improve soon. I too have found that exercise is the most important piece in the treatment of my Type 2. Joining someone in movement they love is probably the best way to help. I have belonged to an exercise group since before I was diagnosed. This year we are adding Zumba. Exercise also helps lift the depression that often accompanies the diagnosis.

I was dx’d pre-d back in 2006. I went on a diet, exercised did everything right, lost weight etc. That lasted about 45 days. two years later August 2008 ended up in hospital with high bg and got dx’d t2 anyway. just got dx’d with LADA in April 2011. Your dad has to want to change and be willing to STAY changed for the rest of his days or it won’t matter anyway. I think I am like most people. Once the initial shock wears off we go right back to old habits anyway. Now that I am insulin dependent I really don’t have that option anymore. I hope your dad is willing to change but if he is like most people, he won’t.

Just love him and lead by example. Take care.

I have a suspicion that my mother is either diabetic or pre diabetic. I found a blood test form for her in her house requesting a repeat blood test for the glucose test - and it was written in the symptoms “diabetes?”. She said that she had had the blood test, but why would she still have the forms?

I think she is in denial. She is also a compulsive liar and an alcoholic and has fybromialgia.

I do not know what to do about her either.

How about offering to cook for your father - and if your sister is living at home to - share duties and cook healthily - that way you get to control what you and he eats. You do not have to say the reason why you are doing this. Also after meals why not suggest that you all go for a walk - to the local park or something.

I wanted to thank you all for your comments! They have really helped me a lot.

I’m going to start suggesting he join me in healthy things (walking, biking, etc.). I know he’ll like it, and it will improve both of our health!

I understand where your dad comes from, I was him for a very long time. A “D” diagnosis is very hard to swallow for some folks especially men whose masculine pride will not let them admit there’s anything wrong. We spend all our lives being the big strong one and never realize we are vunerable. I also suspect that he also suffers from powdered butt syndrome ( You don’t really want to accept advice from someone whose butt you have powdered). Don’t try to police your dad he will only resent it. You can help him by suggesting thing for his general good and not as just for his diabetes. the old saying that you can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink is true but who says that he won’t. Be discreet. He doesn’t have to know your trying to help.

Jean, I love the positive-ness of your response.

But I also couldn’t help feeling a little down, just thinking of the pre-programmed disadvantages faced by people born with insulin resistance.

Sure, exercise is good for everybody. But normal people don’t need to exercise for an hour a day, just so they can stave off serious illness. In fact, even very obese but insulin sensitive people can eat whatever they like and they might just get fatter but their pancreases will just continue to chug along, simply because they got lucky in the genetic lottery.