In Which We Talk About Discipline

When the complications of diabetes become even more complicated.

Kathryn Foss Bio By Kathryn Foss

Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!

August 2008 — Ah, discipline. The OTHER big D in my life.

I'll just go ahead and confess right up front here: I suck at discipline. I am downright unruly. Unfortunately, this is not a good trait to have when dealing with serious disease. If I have learned anything about diabetes in my three years of being a diabetic, it is this: Diabetes requires discipline. Period.

If you don't master it, it will master you.

And because of my tendency to be a daredevil diabetic (read: lack of discipline), I have become the big D's whipping girl. My lack of discipline is rewarded with sky-high blood glucose readings and, as a result, I am constantly sick. Sadly, I am being whipped, and hard. The fancy pants word for this is "immunosuppression," and it is no laughing matter.

Case in point, three weeks ago I received a letter informing me that a recent mole I had removed turned out to be cancerous - basal cell carcinoma. The letter also said that this is very common and not to worry, it is a "kind, nice cancer" and they got it all.

I Googled it, and it turns out that one of the causes of basal cell carcinoma, besides sun exposure is immunosuppression.

Wow. That got my attention. I can handle having colds and general sickness, but cancer is in a different league. I don't care if it's the "nice" kind or not. Whether unmanaged diabetes played a role or not, I do not know, but it gave me a well-needed kick in the pants.

Time to stage a coup.

In my never-ending struggle for diabetes domination within my own body, I have pulled out the big guns. That's right, I am kicking it South Beach style. I am using the South Beach Diet to help me to once again be the master of my domain. The South Beach Diet can be a really good diet for diabetics as it focuses on good carbs, lean protein, and lower calorie choices, and for a lot of diabetics, eating this way results in more stable blood sugars and weight loss.

Well, I am toodling right along on the South Beach diet, and I have to admit, that frankly, I am LOVING it. Aside from the occasional pesky bread craving, and the odd Splenda induced headache here and there, things are going well.

I continue to find recipes that are intriguing and I must still be in the honeymoon phase of my new diet, because making "faux" things is not yet annoying. I have found all kinds of faux recipes for people of the low carb persuasion.

Macaphony and Cheese! The clever recipe creator substituted TOFU for noodles. I hold macaroni and cheese in the highest esteem, and this just seems a bit sacrilegious. Mac and Cheese is a major comfort food for me and I won't defile it by making it this way.

Faux-tatoes! This is sneaky cauliflower disguised as mashed potatoes. I must admit that I find myself laughing out loud at some of the reviews:

"OMG!! These taste just like mashed potatoes!!!'

Seriously??? No, they don't! They taste just like mashed cauliflower!! If you REALLY think that mashed cauliflower tastes just like mashed potatoes, well then ... wow. Apparently cauliflower is like the Messiah of South Beach. You can even grate it and use it as a rice substitute.

Faux-sagna! Yep, you guessed it, lasagna without the noodles. Instead of the noodles, you use broiled eggplant. I found this was a recipe I could get behind. I made it last week and it was delish. I didn't miss the noodles at all.

Now, don't get me wrong! It's not that I don't like the "faux" things, but for me, it's just easier to acknowledge what something really is! Don't try to trick me by telling me we are having mashed potatoes and then give me mashed cauliflower, because I WILL taste the difference! Let's just agree to call things what they are.

So, miracle of miracles, I have been disciplined. And my discipline has been rewarded.

Two weeks into this, my blood sugar levels are the best they have been in recent memory! After only a week of diet modification, my fasting levels have been within the American Diabetes Associations range of healthy levels! That's a big deal, people!

So, I feel very cocky these days knowing I am the boss of me, and it is such an amazing feeling when I am the one doing the whipping! It feels like this is something I can turn into a lifestyle. I am feeling better than I have in quite some time, my energy levels are up and I am really excited to see how the next few weeks and months go!

Read more of Kathryn Foss' columns here.

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.

Last Modified Date: June 24, 2013

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

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by Brenda Bell
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...
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