25 Things About Having Diabetes
Random thoughts about type 2 diabetes and chronic disease
By Ilene Raymond Rush
February 2009 — First, a bit of full disclosure: my oldest son works at Facebook.
This is worth mentioning, because if I wasn't on Facebook, I may not have found myself immersed in what appears – based on recent articles in the New York Times and The Washington Post – to be the newest Facebook fad. It consists of compiling a list of 25 random items about yourself ("Note to Bruce: if Patti ever disappoints you, I'm here.") that you then share with your Facebook "friends" while encouraging them to compile and post a self-centered compendium of their own.
At age 54, it's become tougher and tougher to be even on the fringe of the zeitgeist, so naturally I jumped on this bandwagon, sharing tidbits of random information about moi on my Facebook site (feel free to befriend me to read my original list). But it was only after posting my list that I realized one random fact missing – the entire portion of my life which has long lurked in the shadows, my struggle with and thoughts about type 2 diabetes.
So here, forthwith, are …
Twenty-Five Things Random Things About Type 2 Diabetes and My Life with It:
1.Most of the time I've had type 2 diabetes I've been in denial.
2.Learning that I had gestational diabetes with my first son (the Facebook computer whiz) was one of the scariest days of my life.
3.Learning how to take insulin during my second bout with gestational diabetes was surprisingly easy.
4.Having type 2 diabetes has boosted my personal science IQ. Ask me anything about beta cells.
5.Although I still whine about exercising, I am annoyingly supercilious that at age 54, I can clock (on good days) an 11- minute mile.
6.On the rare morning I leave the 20 and 30-somethings in my Killer Exercise class in the dust during weighted V sit-ups, I could crow. (And sometimes I do!)
7.When it comes to diabetes treatments, doctors don't always have all the answers.
8.Neither do nutritionists.
9.There are some amazing doctors and nutritionists out there.
10. Managing a chronic disease can be extremely frustrating. There are the days when I know I have been "good" and yet my blood glucose readings refuse to acknowledge my sacrifice. Conversely, there are "bad" days when everything on the meter is just hunky-dory. Go figure. I can't.
11. This week, I started Byetta.
12. The older I get, the more inspired I am by people who remain doggedly optimistic about having a chronic condition.
13. I really, really miss eating chocolate chip ice cream, French bread, and spaghetti alla carbonara. I know people say that those with type 2 diabetes can eat all three in moderation, but I lack the moderate gene.
14. Every single day I work hard to make peace with my body.
15. Every morning I weigh myself on two different scales because for better or worse, I remain obsessed with weight issues. I am convinced that part of this is because an endocrinologist once told me I should weigh 122 pounds, which is not going to happen in this lifetime on this planet but remains stuck in my brain.
16. My fingers tingle when my sugar drops.
17. I still forget to carry glucose tabs and candy with me – not smart.
18. Although I know I shouldn't, I occasionally skip meals and settle down to split a bottle of good wine with a friend.
19. I worry that my kids might inherit a tendency towards depression and type 2 diabetes. Or my grandkids.
20.The obesity epidemic among kids in this country worries me.
21. So do the costs that all of this obesity is going to put on the health care system.
22. I'd love to give everyone in this country a free membership to the Y.
23. Diabetes remains a kind of mystery disease to most people based on the advice they give me on what to eat, when to eat, etc.
24.No two people with type 2 diabetes are the same. My diet is not your diet (another huge frustration at times).
25. I have type 2 diabetes, but it is not who I am.
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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Occasionally my mailbox or follow-the-link browsing will come up with something discussing whether (and if so, when) to ease the restrictions on treatment goals when the patient is elderly, arguing either to favor a higher quality of remaining life (lifestyle choices less limited by chronic illness) or to take into consideration geriatric cognitive decline (aka "senility") and simplify, as much as possible, the regimen. While the goal of medicine is, obviously, not to...