The Long Term

Taking care of my type 2

kalimah bioBy Kalimah Johnson

Type 2 diabetes can wreak havoc on our lives on a day to day basis in terms of thinking about and remembering to test/monitor, exercise, make the best food choices, count carbohydrates, make doctor visits, take our meds, and seek outside support and information — all just to be certain that we are taking care of ourselves in the best possible way.

This routine alone can keep us from really thinking about and internalizing why it is important for us to do this in the first place, which is to ultimately keep the long term complications at bay, so that we can have vibrant lives. In addition to issues that are related to our physical health and the good ol' aging process… We have type 2 diabetes. It is a degenerative disease, one that takes its toll on us over time. Therefore, we must be vigilant, vivacious, and very mindful of the disease and the impact it can have on us and our family members. Having type 2 diabetes can be isolating and a down-right drag, and sometimes we get lazy.

Let me self-correct here… Sometimes I get lazy. I want to be normal, meaning that I don't want to have to do anything outside of a normal routine to care for myself. Sometimes I don't want to watch my intake of alcohol or food. I just want to enjoy myself, in the same way that others do… But I can't. It's a fact of my diabetic life. So this day-to-day stuff just can wear me down, especially during the holidays and other special events.

For example, I was a guest of my beloved football team, the Detroit Lions, for the Thanksgiving home game (and they kicked Green Bay's butt by the way, 40-10, yes!). Everyone I was with was eating and drinking whatever they wanted, and I was ordering water and diet soda (diet soda is rare for me nowadays, but it was my best effort at treating myself). I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich then removed the bread and mayo before eating it. I got a couple of sideways looks and folks started asking me questions off to the side like, "Are you okay?" and, "Are you STILL trying to lose weight?" I was feeling a little awkward, but I just said something to the effect of, "Naw, I just don't like the bread and mayo and I am not in the mood for drinking — it's too early." I was lying, and it was difficult, but I had to say something. I made it through the day and the evening with family. I made really good choices for the most part and was proud of myself. Upon reflection of that day I can say that I did really well in terms of caring for myself and my type 2 diabetes. The evening of Thanksgiving when I checked my bed-time sugars I was at 180. Not too bad.

As I stated in my last series regarding my bariatric surgery I have lost over 100 pounds and now my partner will be having the surgery in January. Please pray for us as we approach a new life for her (I am so excited and nervous too). The weight loss has assisted me tremendously in managing my type 2 status and has given me a new chance at learning about food and how it impacts my body and the disease. Sometimes, we type 2 folks get a bad reputation too, in terms of our diagnosis being directly related to our eating habits, physical activity, and weight primarily — which are all controllable and mostly related back to our choices and the day-to-day decisions we make. However tough as this may be, we must be strong and make good choices daily, because we don't want the long term effects of the disease to get the best of us. Type 2 diabetes unmanaged can cause circulation problems, dental issues, amputations, heart failure, kidney disease, blindness, and other troubles. And… We DON'T want that!

We must care for ourselves, educate others, give permission to feel the frustration of being different in diverse settings, and stand out. We must stand up, be proud and try to never be embarrassed about the disease. I am going to stop this madness and all the "colorful ways" that I explain what I am doing or eating and why… Because I have SUGAR! That's why! So, to some of my lovely friends and family, stop asking all them damn questions and take several seats! I must think about the LONG TERM COMPLICATIONS and keeping them at bay! Plus, I have got to see my Honolulu blue and steel grey guys get to the Super Bowl one day… And complication free.

Got it Sugar?

Good.

Learn more about the basics of bariactic surgery.

Read more of Kalimah Johnson's columns, Get it Together, Sugar, here.

Disclaimer
dLife's Daily Living columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team to find out what will work best for you.

Last Modified Date: January 29, 2014

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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