A Letter to the Newly Diagnosed, Continued
What you need to know when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
Let me ask you: Can you have a pet tiger? Sure you can. So long as you feed it well, groom it, and never turn your back on it, you can co-exist with a tiger in your living room. But if you neglect the tiger, starve it, turn your back on it, the tiger will pounce on you and tear you to shreds. Diabetes is the tiger. Feed it right. Take care of it right. And the two of you will live just fine together.
But if you let diabetes run wild it can and will kill you. But I promise you, it's possible to live for a very long time with diabetes. Now, you may know people who died or are dying from diabetes. Some may be in your own family. But that is not going to happen to you. Things are different now. You can grow old, healthy and happy — with the tiger at your side.
You know what? If you take care of your diabetes you will actually be much healthier than the average American who doesn't have diabetes. So it's a gift of sorts. Diabetes is the carrot and the stick. The threat and the reward. Diabetes — the tiger — will eat you alive if you don't do the few basic things you need to do to feed it. But if you take care of it, it will, in a sense, take care of you, too.
What do I need to do?
Let me tell you why I love having diabetes. Yes, I said I love having diabetes, and I'm not crazy. I am healthier with diabetes than I was without it. I think more about my body, what I put into it, what I ask it to do, than I did before. I am more keenly aware of my mortality, and yet will probably live a longer and sweeter life than I would have had diabetes not joined my team.
But that's just the sugar-free icing on the cake. What I love most about diabetes is that it is what the medical world calls a "self-managed disease." Yep. I'm in charge. Little ol' me. Not my doctor. Not some specialist. I get to be in the driver's seat.
With most illnesses the medical folks are in charge from start to finish and you are just along for the ride. Usually in the back seat. Here, take this pill. Don't do this. Don't do that. Avoid stress. Yeah. I'll get right on that.
With diabetes you drive and your doctor is the tour guide. And the best part is that it's an easy drive. Make tiny changes in your eating and activity, and you change your health destiny. And the fact that you are here today, reading more about your diabetes, tells me you're off to a great start. You've just signed up for Tiger-tamer lessons. And you're going to do an awesome job.
Excerpted from Taming the Tiger: Your first year with diabetes, a first year survival guide by Wil Dubois, Red Blood Cell Books, © 2009. ISBN 978-0-9822257-1-4.
Wil Dubois is the author of four multi-award-winning books about diabetes. He is a PWD type 1, and is the diabetes coordinator for a rural non-profit clinic. Visit his blog, LifeAfterDX.
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
Diabetes Drug Shows Promise in the Treatment of Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis
Two New LDL Cholesterol Drugs May Have Big Impact on Heart Disease
COBA Conference Steers Forward in the Fight Against Childhood Obesity
Google Secures Patent for Glucose-Sensing Contact Lens
Medtronic to Use GlucoSitter Artificial Pancreas Software in Future Insulin Pumps - A Big Deal!
Sesame Asparagus with Garlic Cannoli Strawberry Dessert Cowboy Bill's Turkey Chili Chocolate Cream (Dairy) Mixed Green Salad Southwestern Meat Loaf Soy Mashed Potatoes Croutons Pineapple Chili Salsa Tropical Fruits and Ginger
My diabetes is changing. Until a few years ago, my morning readings were reasonable and within the desired range of under 100 mg/dl. About two years ago, they started slipping upwards into the less-desirable but apparently not-worrisome range of 100-110 mg/dl. Now, this was what was recorded by my Abbott Freestyle Lite meter, which is known to record at the lower end of the home-glucometer variability range, but with my A1c firmly in the high 5s and low 6s, the meter's tendency to...