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What do people think when you say “I have Diabetes”?
I was told recently that “diabetes was a death sentence” by someone who had lost a loved
one due to complications from this mysterious disease. It stopped me in my tracks. I thought “I hope not”.
This got me thinking about what people who don’t know much about diabetes are really thinking when you tell them you have diabetes.
Over the years some of the comments I’ve received out loud have been that I’m too thin to have diabetes (by the way I’m not thin), I get the pity look, and “God love you”.
So, are people having flashing images of one-legged ailing & blind relatives? Are they thinking that I must be fat and lazy because of all the media attention focused on the link between diabetes and obesity? Are they thinking that I deserve to have diabetes because I’m fat and lazy?
All of these people can be forgiven for what they think – they are lucky enough not to have someone close to them who has it. Unfortunately, according to the figures from the World Health Organisation this will probably change.
Thankfully, I don’t dwell on what other people are thinking and I choose between explaining what having diabetes really means or just practise nodding my head.
Happy World Diabetes Day
November 14th was chosen by the International Diabetes Federation because it also happens to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922.
Anyone with insulin dependent diabetes knows how important these two chaps are and I personally owe my life to them.
But it’s bitter sweet to wish people a “Happy World Diabetes Day” when maybe I should save my wish and wish that I didn’t have diabetes in the first place.
Why should I celebrate this day? Why am I celebrating having an illness??? I could roll over and say “to hell with it”. I could decide to not care anymore and give up – let diabetes do its worst and painfully make my life miserable until death.
But I choose to fight! I choose to want to live a good life for a long time and watch my children grow up and maybe even become a grandmother. I want to keep all of my digits and my sight; I don’t want to be on a waiting list for a donor kidney. I want to live life to the fullest.
So, I work hard at trying to stay on top of it. I take my insulin, I test my glucose levels multiple times a day and then some, I weigh my food to find out the carbohydrate content and then calculate how much insulin to inject, and I try to eat healthily.
So I’m not really celebrating having diabetes. I’m celebrating life and the quality of it.
I have Diabetes Type 2, and after the shock, and dealing mentally with the depression and dire consequences, I feel more in control of my life, and careful of keeping control of my diet, taking my medecines, etc.
I'm really grateful that I found out I am Diabetic.
Good to know about world diabetes day. For me I look after it, test multiple times a day, watch my carbs but I do eat foods I like but then test and test and take action so that my bloods do not go too high. Have a huge tendancy for low blood sugars though which are bad (there are days where I have a diabetic fit every day). I have little if any hypo awareness (am an oesophageal cancer survivor, diagnosed October 2006, the surgery made me loose the awareness). Have finally found a doctor who listens, it has only taken over 25 years.
I do not let or want diabetes to take over my life so it does not - have seen that with diabetic friends where all that they can ever do is talk about diabetes all the time - there is life outside of it - it does not define me.
As mentioned I am an oesophageal cancer survivor - that is a wakeup call. I also have an underactive thyroid, scaroicosis and may have addisons (should know soon).
I would urge people to look after their diabetes but not let it control their life.
Oh, I am expecting my second child in May/June next year (my son is over 7 months old, we experienced several miscarriages before we had him).
Hey, I've just been diagnosed with type 1 two weeks ago. Does anybody know is there anything happening in the Cork area tomorrow for World Diabetes Day?
I seem to be doing very well at keeping my levels under control at the moment, but the rate at which exercise makes me drop is a bit dispiriting. Like you Cathy, I seem to not to have any awareness of when I drop below 4. Was at 2.9 the other the day without it having any affect on me. The advice is conflicting, exercise is good for you, but so is keeping your levels under control. It's the bloody exercise that messes them up!
Apparently, according to my nurse, I'm still producing a large amount of insulin. I'm basically giving myself 1 unit of of nova-rapid for about 40 carbs. What's so frustrating is that I know when this 'Honeymoon Period' is over, it'll be like starting all over again. Has anyone had a Honeymoon Period? How long did it last? How easy was it to adjust?
Cork is very active in the Diabetes Community. However, most of us are decending on the Burlington for World Diabetes Day.
But there is Type 1 Support group meet next Thursday, November 18th at 7.30pm. You can contact Charlotte at the Diabetes Federation Cork office 021 4274229 or email email@example.com for further details.
You are one strong lady Cathy. I am in awe. Congratulations and best of luck with your new arrival. Diabetes is basically a balancing act and there are millions of conditions i would rather not have than diabetes. Since diagnosis, my general diet and health has improved as i have to be more careful. As my doc said, i will probably live longer with diabetes than not as i am more aware of my health now
Are there any diabeties groups in co. Waterford or South Tipperary? I'm looking into some stuff for my mum. She was diagnosed as type two about 10 years ago, and although she watches her sugars she does not do it nearly enough. She is also an awful woman for sweet things and buying sweet things "for the visitors" or "the children are coming to visit" - hence buns, chocolate, smarties etc!
I live on the West coast so I don't have any info for Waterford or Tipp but I do know that there are local Diabetes Federation branches there which means there should be events of some sort. There are diabetes education courses all over the country that your mother can do. The course are called DESMOND which a gp has to refer her to but she needs to ask for it and the other one is CODE and she can do this one by calling the Diabetes Federation of Ireland on 1850 909 909.
Hope this helps.
I will be diabetic three years on christmas eve and have to say it may sound weird but its the best thing that happened me,i had turned into a slob and to be admitted to hospital in the early hours of christmas eve morning and come around in ICU three days later to be told i had died twice and had about forty minutes before i went into a full on diabetic coma from which there was no comeback,basically the only way i was leaving the hospital was in a coffin, also my blood sugars were 96.4 .So I was given a second chance and took it with both hands lost over nine stone and my last hbA1c was 5.2. lately i have been getting a sweet tooth with cakes and biscuits but my sugars when tested dont go above 5.8 but will knock them on the head with christmas coming up as i do indulge at christmas but kinda treat it as a birthday celebration as much as christmas
How did you loose the weight?
Because i was on insulin and byetta at the start in hospital the endocrinologist got me off insulin after a few weeks but because i was on it and the nature of my job i was out of work for six months so i walked in the morning and i walked in the evening basically everyday plus my diet had changed as regards no alcohol for six months no fizzy drinks, sweets crisps basically cut all junk food and the weight excuse the pun walked off me.
In Germany at the minute working so haven't had a chance to check up the threads daily. But found this one very intriguing especially on peoples reactions.
The work here is constant running around so I carry a Hypo Stop in my pocket for just in case moments but one of the German workers pulled it out of my pocket and asked what it was, I replied Ich bin diabetiker and her reaction was 'Oh noooooooooooo, so so so so young' and then proceeded to hug me!!! I have to say I couldn't stop laughing at her and she was so confused! Hilar!!
I don't see it as a hindrance, if anything I take the outlook that I could have a much more serious illness....and my diabetic anniversary is the Dec 15th and I mark it every year! This year will be no different and plan on hitting the Christmas market for some treats
All the best
^ Had a similar reaction this weekend, although without the hug and German. Was having a couple of beers with some running club mates after a race earlier in the day, not quite sure how it came up in the conversation though.