Celebrities in the Type 2 Nation
Tom Hanks diagnosed with type 2 — what does this mean for the rest of us?
November 2013 — "Forrest Gump has diabetes?" That was my first thought when I heard that Tom Hanks had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I have to admit that I was a bit mystified. I mean, Forrest was very active. He ran, played sports, served in the army, and even worked on a shrimp boat. But then I remembered he was also fond of chocolates. I guess his love of sweets finally caught up with him. We all know that candy equals diabetes.
I finally returned to reality and accepted the fact that Tom Hanks, not Forrest Gump, had type 2 diabetes. I then pondered, "Was this supposed to be national news?" I appreciate type 2 being in the spotlight, but it seemed that all of the major news outlets reported on it. And the misinformation machine was present too. One reporter noted that "type 2 diabetes occurs when the body fails to produce enough insulin." Nothing was said about insulin resistance or that Tom's pancreas may have trouble releasing insulin. I gritted my teeth as I shook my head from side to side. I also remembered, upon my diagnosis, my doctor telling me that I might have more insulin than him, but my cells were resistant to it and that my pancreas may also have trouble releasing it.
Oh, by the way, happy Diabetes Awareness Month! Isn't this is the perfect time for a celebrity diabetes diagnosis? While I wouldn't wish this chronic condition on anyone, I think such a high-profile, non-obese celebrity like Tom Hanks being diagnosed is good for the type 2 nation, especially during this time of year. His timing was impeccable. Tom "comes out" and immediately starts helping educate the public. Our job will be to continue the conversation, and clean up the media's misinformation and misconceptions, (like Mr. Hanks being in danger of overdosing on insulin).
So what happens now? I hope Tom Hanks will have great success in keeping his weight down and his blood sugar under control. If he fails, the public will probably perceive type 2's as failures. I felt that way when Mike Huckabee started gaining weight after losing over one hundred pounds. With my ongoing marital separation and impending divorce, I have gained twenty pounds, and my A1C has risen from a 5.3 to a 6.5. While Mike and I are not failures for suffering some setbacks by gaining weight, we are reacting to the stresses and consequences of life. What we now have to do is reverse our actions, gain control, and get our weight and diabetes stats under control.
So again, "Happy Diabetes Awareness Month", and please join me in wishing Tom Hanks, Mike Huckabee, and other celebrity / public figures with type 2 diabetes great success in managing their weight and blood sugar. They have now taken on a great role of responsibility. Their actions can effect public opinion about the type 2 nation, i.e. you and me. Let us also wish the lesser known type 2's, like Travis Grubbs and you, that same great success. While we may not have the same influence as Mr. Hanks, we are just as important. Are you with me? Let me know at email@example.com.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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