Health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves as Americans to be fooled into accepting that one must be blessed with “means” to actuate appropriate health care. As a nation we have failed to realize that our health care system is a barometer of our society’s value for human life.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

And on that note, I’d love to spread some awareness, so let’s start with some basic facts that are contrary to some common myths associated with diabetes.
1. Diabetes is not caused by eating too much sugar.
2. You CAN eat sugar if you have diabetes.
3. Type 1 diabetes is managed very differently in many ways than type 2 diabetes.
4. Diabetes is not caused by being overweight. If that were the cause, all overweight people would have diabetes. The incidence of type 2 diabetes is , however, higher in patients who are overweight.
5. A person with diabetes can have very healthy babies (and many have).
6. You cannot manage type 1 diabetes with diet alone. Ever.
7. There is no set or specific “diabetic diet.” A diet for any person with diabetes is determined in tandem by the person with diabetes and their doctor.
8. If you have type 2 diabetes and are overweight, you do not “lose” your diabetes if you lose weight.

I don’t often focus on diabetes awareness on this blog. And honestly, I can’t say that my “averages” are all that hot this past month or two. My last a1c was 7.5 and my average for blood sugars last week was 183.5 (OUCH!) I’m seeing more and more highs, and feeling more and more complacent about it. I am feeling overwhelmed.

I think these periods are common for most people with diabetes. Managing diabetes is not done once every 90 days with your endocrinologist. Diabetes management is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no breaks ever, not even when you are asleep. The weight of diabetes management at times is intolerable. It is at these times when control slips, and good habits lapse.

Outside interference, as I like to call it, is often not helpful in these instances. Should a coworker gently probe about my “ability” to eat a snack size chocolate bar, I will more than likely in some sort of rebuff eat three. I can eat chocolate, and outside opinions in regards to my very personal diabetes management are generally not welcome. Would you chide my daughter for running around for an hour without her theratogs and braces? No. Her care. Our care. Not yours. I was diagnosed early enough in life that at some point your taxes (and mine, thank you) will be paying to correct complications. That is not so much a failure on my part rather than a failure of my endocrine system in general at a very young age combined with the failure of our national health system (nothing much natural about it) discouraging appropriate care for young people with type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is hard work, and it is work that I am very much engaged in. This is my health, it is important to me, and I understand that here shortly I will be out of this slump. It is important, though, to realize and understand that an occasional slump in rigidity of care may be necessary for emotional health. The very scope of care that our disease requires is exhausting, and there are bound to be hills and valleys in the timeline of care throughout our life.

November is diabetes awareness month and I am sharing with the world, today, that it is okay to sometimes not be in that good of control. Sometimes this is okay. Not forever, and not ongoing, but sometimes. Afterwards we have the responsibility to get back on track, and as long as we never lose sight of that, we are okay. We have to give ourselves that bye, every once in a while.

To every person (adult, child, teenager) struggling with diabetes today, please take it to heart that you are struggling as evidence that you are working for a better result.

1 comment:

Bad Decision Maker said...

thanks for this post. i am struggling a little right now too!