Welcome back to our weekly advice column, Ask D’Mine, where you get all sorts of suggestions about navigating life with diabetes from host Wil Dubois, an expert D-clinical teacher and diabetes author who’s longtime kind 1 himself.
Today, Wil’s working to reassure a man who got blindsided by diabetes (didn’t we all?) In that period of absolute disbelief.
Jason, type 1 from Nevada, writes: I am a 38-year-old male diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about a couple of years ago and was taking metformin to control it attracted my A1C down to approximately 5-6. The last six months so I’ve had blood glucose. So I eventually make it to my doctor, take my blood work, and sure enough my A1C was 9! I was told by them that I am a type 1 diabetic and will have to take insulin. This only happened in past ten days. I am carrying long acting insulin once a night for now till next month I return to doctor. Since I’ve been doing so my blood sugars have been good. I’ve been eating well and workout hasn’t been a problem for me. I will do whatever I can to get the best A1C I can have, but I am very depressed, angry, angry, sad and still in disbelief that this happened to me when for the most part I’ve always taken good care of my body. Is there any guidance you can provide me to remain optimistic and reassure me that I can still live a long life? My biggest fear is that I will die before my time because of this disease. I really don’t wish to appear and say to myself!
Wil@Ask D’Mine answers: First the baseball bat to the head. I’ll say something nice to reassure you.
Sorry if that seems mean, but you said. And I have had two sips of coffee this morning. You said you’re depressed, mad, angry, and sad that you just got type 1, as, quoting you directly, “I’ve always taken good care of my body.”
Seriously, Dude? Do you really believe that there’s something that you did that caused you to become type 1? Since you failed yourself in some 12, or that you have it?
Type 1 doesn’t work like that. And neither does kind two, for that matter. No one ever gave diabetes. Well, no one but that poor dumb bastard from the Czech Republic who shot himself in the pancreas.
This great thing about people giving themselves diabetes has got to stop! Maybe we must replace all of the “Shit Happens” bumper stickers with “Diabetes Happens” bumper stickers. Because that’s the Gospel Truth. Diabetes happens.
It occurs to males, females, and transgender people.
It occurs to white people black people people, people that are red, and people.
It occurs to middle-aged people, kids, young adults, babies, and men and women.
It occurs reds and blues.
Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief. No one is immune.
Diabetes is an opportunity scourge.
It is global, leaving no nook of the ground untouched.
Diabetes starts deepdown, down, down deep in the DNA. It is there when you’re born. A time bomb that is ticking. Waiting.
And there’s nothing you can do to stop it. You, I, nor anybody else has any culpability when it comes to getting our diabetes. Period.
It was your fate. It is a fate that is common. Get it over.
But that’s where the buck stops. While obtaining diabetes is unavoidable and not ours to control, the following step is entirely ours to control. Since the three fates–Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos–abandon us after diagnosis. Are not, although the diabetes is inevitable. We are the masters of their destinies.
And here is where I can say something reassuring. But before I do, I’ve got a challenge to all 415 million of my diabetes brothers and sisters, and you as well: Never let an ignorant word about diabetes have been spoken. Anytime you hear anybody say something stupid about diabetes–particularly about its origin–don’t allow it to go unchallenged. Simply reply, “Truly, diabetes just occurs. It is a disease. Just like nobody gave themselves breast cancer, nobody gave themselves diabetes.”
Adding “Except that poor dumb bastard from the Czech Republic who shot himself in the pancreas” is optional.
Diabetes illiteracy will be stamped out in a year if we did that every single time we heard nitwitted-ness concerning the cause of diabetes. Maybe we can’t cure the disorder, but we sure as hell can fix the ignorance concerning it.
Now, back left us. This is the area where diabetes becomes the most amazing of the chronic diseases. Diabetes, as much as I can tell, is pretty much the sole killer disease that can be entirely self-managed. In reality, it can be so well self-managed that it turns into a pussycat as opposed to a killer.
Can you live a long life? You bet your ass you can. A few years back, the Joslin Diabetes Center gave its first 80-year medal to then 90-year-old Spencer M. Wallace, Jr..
But let’s be honest here. Diabetes is a enormous killer. What exactly do you need to do to maintain an 80-year medal as opposed to a volcano plot that is premature?
Here is my recipe, based on my observations, the latest science, and my choices: Eat however you need to eat to minimize glucose variability. That’s job one. Then adjust your insulin levels to get your blood sugar low as you can get it. That will minimize the danger of both macro vascular and cardiovascular disease that is micro. A A1C alone is not enough. Both the average and the range need to be low.
Channel anger into purpose. It is OK to be mad. That’s common. But concentrate that anger into actionable measures. Look forward, not backward. Becoming sad over what happened is a waste of energy. You can’t alter the past, however, the future can be shaped by you.
Keep active. Movement that’s embedded into your day, rather than ritualized exercise is better.
Accept the fact that your insurance company doesn’t care not or if you live a long life. They don’t possess the term view. That means that if you would like to live long, and live well, you need to be happy to spend money in your diabetes. A great deal of money.
And finally, remember that you are a individual with Diabetes. You’ll observe that Person comes in that name. Person. Synonyms for “individual” include human, individual, and alive soul. Be a person. Live, love, laugh. You need to pay strict attention to your diabetes always, but don’t neglect your own humanity. Treat yourself now and then. Choose your vices and excesses. Stay in control, but be sure to don’t become a expert patient in the procedure.
This is not a medical advice column. We are PWDs publicly and publicly sharing the wisdom of our accumulated experiences — our been-there-done-that knowledge from the trenches. But we are not partridges in pear trees, or MDs, RNs, NPs, PAs, CDEs. Bottom line: we are a little part of your prescription that is total. You still require the guidance, therapy, and care of a licensed medical practitioner.
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