Year in Review
A look back on the diabetes events of 2010.
By Kalimah Johnson
January 2011 — There has been plenty of news to go around concerning diabetes for the year 2010. The whole drama of Avandia and placing the drug on restrictions in Europe and the United States because it did more harm than good I thought was news-worthy. The possiblity of long term health care benefits for people with type 1 and the discussion of health care reform and how it affects those of us who have diabetes was in no doubt a hot topic. The sad fact that more and more people in the U.S. are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes— 24 million, or 8 percent of the population, as reported by the CDC to be exact—is also worth mentioning in my year in review. I am challenged everyday by this disease, frightened by the statistics, and even more overwhelmed when I learn of people whom I happen to know, like, and/or admire suffering from the consequences.
My best friend just found out she has been diagnosed with prediabetes. My thought is that our Primary Care Physicians need to be more proactive and aggressive with handling this disease because my friend told me that she told her doctor that she was not going to take any medicine and the doctor said okay. Okay? I urged her to rethink her approach and consider doing more than just changing her eating habits.
A dear colleague ran into my office just last week to tell me all about her recent diagnosis, which made me think back to when we co-taught a class and I noted how much she would drink fluids and use the restroom, but it never occurred to me that would be diagnosed as having diabetes. Shame on me. I should know better and pay closer attention to symptoms that are occurring around me as well as within myself.
However, I did notice while watching one of my favorite comedians on television that he was looking rather ill. His stomach was protruding, his face appeared to be darker than usual, and something about him just did not seem right. He appeared to be tired and had dark circles around his eyes. While he was making me laugh, apparently there was something else going on with him. Tracy Morgan of 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live just had a kidney transplant in December 2010! I had no idea this man had type 2 diabetes because he rarely ever talked about it. Unlike his predecessors, such as Richard Pryor or Martin Lawrence, who would frequently tell jokes about their health status, I never once heard Tracy revealing his struggles or stories of dialysis or any other complication as a result of having diabetes. I guess he wanted to keep it private.
He also stated that he did not take his diagnosis seriously when he was told in 1996 and it was not until the doctor warned that an amputation was in his near future that he became more adamant about caring for the disease. I know this story all too well.
I don't know if Tracy wanted the world to know about his health status but now that we do, it is my hope that he will honor his new kidney and live life to the fullest. His health situation has reminded me of how delicate our lives are and how important it is to manage the disease before it manages you. So in the new year, I hope that I can stay on top of my health and keep the complications at bay. Writing this year in review was just the assignment I needed to remind myself and all of my loved ones to be proactive about our health. When a fan asked Tracy Morgan how having diabetes affected his comedy he stated, "I feel fortunate to have the disease but not have it affect me. I take insulin every day. My blood sugar doesn't get over 120." Maybe one day he will tell his story in one of his skits and use his talent to bring some normalcy and laughs to managing his type 2 diabetes. Although I know it will be a challenge, it is also my hope that I can enter the New Year with numbers as low as 120!
Got it Sugar?
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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