#dBlogWeek: What Brings Me Down

The one thing that always brings me down about diabetes

Today’s Diabetes Blog Week prompt:

May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with, or caring for someone with, diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and / or your loved one, and how do you cope?

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There’s one thing in particular that always brings me down when it comes to diabetes. That is talk of a cure.

Talk of a cure, you say? Why would that bring you down? Wouldn’t it give you hope? Hope that one day you won’t have to take pills or shoot insulin? Hope that one day you can go for a hike without worry that you’ll go low on the trail? Hope that one day you can eat a carb-heavy meal without judgement?

First of all, when people talk about a cure for diabetes they aren’t talking about me. They’re talking about resurrecting the pancreas. Regenerating a vital organ. Finding a way for the body to make insulin again.

People think they know the cure for the type of diabetes that I have. It’s lifestyle change. Lose weight. Exercise. Stay away from sugar. Eat more vegetables. Cinnamon. Yeah, right.

No consideration is given to genetic or environmental factors that trigger or encourage insulin resistance. There’s conflicting evidence on whether obesity is a cause or a co-morbidity. There’s disagreement as to whether type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder or an autoimmune disease. There’s more judgement than curiosity.

Bottom line is I don’t think I’ll see a cure in my lifetime. Not because I don’t think we’re capable of finding or developing a cure. But because we don’t have the social and political will to do so.

We’re stuck in the paradigm of how to treat an infectious epidemic. Find the cause and neutralize it. Make a pill or a medicine. Develop a surgery or an artificial organ. We have established industries of businesses and organizations doing this kind of work.

What we don’t have is a coordinated, science-based industry focused on what we need to change to stop the rise of chronic disease.

Such an industry would look at the rise of chronic illness in the national context of policy decisions, societal norms, and physical environment, as well as human behavior and health care practices. This is a complex and difficult undertaking. It would involve looking at everything—from the effect of chemicals in our environment to the effect of favoring feed crops and dairy in subsidized school lunch programs.

It’s unlikely that we will find a single factor that, if addressed, will solve the epidemic of chronic illness we face today. The cure will require major changes in a lot of different areas. That will require going up against a lot of entrenched and conflicting interests.

Which brings me back to the question of having social and political will.

Which I don’t think exists for the kind of lifestyle change we, as a society, need.

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This Is NOT Helpful…

They put a bunch of data from other studies into a one big pool and came up with…a statistic. That’s it. …

Source: Flickr - couragextoxlive

Diabetes Can Shorten Life by 6 Years, the headline screamed.

“A 50-year-old with diabetes dies six years sooner than someone without the disease…”

Oh my! I know a 50-year-old who happens to live with diabetes. What can be done to help her avoid this awful fate? Continue reading “This Is NOT Helpful…”

Living Well With Diabetes: Reach Out

There’s a certain irony to the fact that while I am responsible for managing my diabetes, I cannot do that by myself.

“No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main…”
—John Donne, Meditation XVII

There’s a certain irony to the fact that while I am the one responsible for managing my health, I cannot do it all by myself.

I’m not a health expert. I don’t know everything there is to know about diabetes or exercise. Heck, I’m not even a very good cook! I’m human. Sometimes I have to rely on others.

Every successful person has a support team. Continue reading “Living Well With Diabetes: Reach Out”

Living Well With Diabetes: Be Resourceful

No matter how well organized I try to be, life sometimes throws me a curve ball.

Whatever the cause I have to adjust my routine, often on the fly, sometimes in unfamiliar surroundings, generally by myself. And, oh yeah, I still have to keep tight control of my diabetes.

In short: How do I stay resourceful?

The best laid schemes of Mice and Men oft go awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain…
—Robert Burns, To a Mouse

No matter how hard I try to be well organized, life sometimes throws me a curve ball.

I get a cold that makes me feel so miserable that all I want to eat is warm bowls of chicken pho soup brimming with rice noodles. Or a business trip puts me on a 5 a.m. flight, disrupting my normal routine.

Whatever the cause I have to adjust my routine, often on the fly, sometimes in unfamiliar surroundings, generally by myself. And, oh yeah, I still have to keep tight control of my diabetes. Continue reading “Living Well With Diabetes: Be Resourceful”

Living Well With Diabetes: Gain Knowledge

After my diagnosis I was faced with a whole lot of new information. With understanding I could make better choices about my treatment and lifestyle changes. With knowledge I could make informed choices.

After my diagnosis I was faced with a whole lot of new information.

Well, it was new to me. Doctors, dietitians, websites, books, co-workers, friends, family… They all had something to say about diabetes, how it works (or doesn’t work, as the case may be), its complications, and what’s the best way to “treat” it.

Being bombarded with information wasn’t helpful. It was confusing. Sometimes one person told me one thing and another person told me exactly the opposite. Which was correct? What was just crackpot? I needed to sort it all out. Continue reading “Living Well With Diabetes: Gain Knowledge”