Diabetes Is Sometimes A Personal Battle In Itself

By PetiePal Latest Reply 2011-01-13 17:39:13 -0600
Started 2011-01-09 11:55:14 -0600

Ok so this started as a reply to a discussion..but then I realized how long it was lol so I wanted to toss in a new discussion based off of it. (Original discussion: http://www.diabeticconnect.com/discussions/92...)

You know for some people it's easiest to keep your diabetes to yourself. This is what I did early on last summer. My immediate family knew and my gf. I told my best friend a few weeks later but largely kept it quiet from anyone else for about 3-4 months until *I* had a handle on it. I read up ridiculously, took classes and absorbed as much info as I possibly could. I didn't want people telling me all the things they "thought" they knew about diabetes and like snatching something out of my hands I "wasn't supposed to eat."

I never knew until I was diagnosed how many people had so many different misconceptions and how INVOLVED they want to be in your medical care and expertise lol. And it IS easy to feel overwhelmed by the deluge of information thrown at you. It seems like Dr. Oz is on every week touting some new statistic that isn't quite 100% accurate or misleading etc. There are literally thousands of books out there to read…and all say either the same thing but slightly different or offer a RADICALLY different view on treatment/causes etc.

Early on I was worried that I would get complacent at EXACTLY now…almost 6 months after diagnosis. I figured I would have my diet and sugars under control but I didn't expect my A1c to be as low as it just came back. (11.3 last June, 11.1 last August, 6.1 a week ago) I almost kind of dreaded it coming back low (although it really was the last thing I thought, I expected fully to come back in the 8s or 9s since I have not really been exercising a ton yet) because I knew that complacency can set in and I'd be more apt to order out for pizza etc. I was a little weak around Halloween and I would admit I might have 2 or 3 funsize candy bars…but I kept it in moderation and tried to keep the fear that if I DID ignore it I would get complications. I joined an IRC chat room called Diabetic-Talk that I found way back last summer with a GREAT group of people. Some are in very advanced stages of Diabetes…lost limbs, kidney/pancreas failure, retinopathy, neuropathy etc. They were very supportive and listened to my rambles sometimes when I really just needed SOMEONE to talk to who wasn't judgmental or had any prior assumptions and WERE diabetics themselves.

Still now it's a conscious effort EVERY day to make sure I'm trying my best to eat things that won't drop my sugar too low before the next meal, to actually eat ENOUGH carbs and not under consume bc of a fear of too much, or deny myself everything and go into super strict "starvation mode!"

I will admit there have been some nights where I WILL order out for a pizza and have 4-5 slices…not good I know and the low A1c kind of (negative!) but positively reinforces that behavior. I need to work better on having a more steady middle for my sugars than spiking and dropping bc that's only stressing my beta cells.

What I'm getting at here is that diabetes is different for everyone, and no one knows the challenge it poses to you better than *yourself.* You need to figure out what scares you a little but or in a more positive outlook what MOTIVATES you to get healthy and stay healthy. Scared of dying? Ok! Don't want to make your loved ones or s/o suffer bc you brought complications on yourself that are totally avoidable? Ok! Doing it JUST for you? Great. Find your motivation or your deterrent and keep it in mind constantly.

For me it's a combination…My brother is 41 and I don't want him to become a diabetic..it runs in our family so hopefully he'll see my example and make positive changes. I want my children one day (don't have any yet ;P) to have an active father who isn't sick and can go out and play catch and do all the things they deserve out of childhood. My father gave me a great childhood but when he was diagnosed when I was about 8/9 things got more difficult for him to be a part of. That and yeah I'm scared (@#*#@less of the complications… Find yours and stick to it.

Again diabetes is a different disease for everyone with some similarities across the board. You need to find what works for YOU best and sometimes find the strength to ignore the "general consensus" because it may not be 100% right for you. YOU are in control of treating your disease so unfortunately yes you do have to take major charge of it…but this is a great thing in itself! You can pick your treatment team and be an active part of it all instead of just being told what to do and doing it.

Hang in there and make the change today!

18 replies

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-01-11 15:01:11 -0600 Report

Hey PetiePal!

I just wanted to take a minute and tell you how much I enjoyed reading your thoughtful and honest post. I am really inspired by your can-do attitude!

I am not a physician but counsel individuals facing chronic conditions, and there are a couple of points you made, among many valuable points, that I wanted to follow up on.

Coping with a chronic condition, in my experience, is really a unique and individual journey because we are all unique individuals. So many factors have to be considered, our own individual make-up, preferences, life circumstance, and on and on. As you have suggested, it takes patience with yourself and others, along with hard work, to find your own pathway to self-care.

I'm also glad you reached out to people who were understanding and non-judgmental. Having a listening ear, or a few of them, is important. A safe place to talk about your feelings, ALL of them, is part of the process of integrating the condition, and its treatment, into your daily life.

One thing I really loved about your post was your discussion about finding your own motivation. I have encouraged clients even to make their own little collages with pictures and images that illustrate what motivates them to keep going. These might include pictures of themselves at their best, pictures of what they want their life to look like, pictures of loved ones that they want to be there for. Something to help them visualize their best self and who the want to be there for.

Each person has to find their own inner motivation, to define it for themselves, and to stay focused on it. With this perspective, the day to day challenges can be faced with a great perspective, a "bigger picture."

Compassion is important, I think. Being gentle with your self, accepting that you are doing the best you can and that making lifestyle changes is a process, and humans always struggle with change. And when we are compassionate with ourselves, we can also be more compasisonate toward others. A case in point, you reachout out to your brother.

Again, you said it all much better than I could.

Thanks for brighening my day, as I am sure you also brightened the day for others!

PetiePal 2011-01-13 10:51:56 -0600 Report

Thanks btw Gary! Diabetes is a journey and a process and no one should expect to have it all down within even a year…every road is different but we all have the same destination. Keep up the good fight!

glee9349 2011-01-10 17:11:05 -0600 Report

I find that my diabities affects my hubby and alll who are around me. It is a disease a person has to control themselves but family and loved ones are always in your life and they are directly affected by this.

PetiePal 2011-01-11 15:51:48 -0600 Report

I will say I was pretty apprehensive it would affect my relationship with my gf. I was kind of scared she'd think less of me or other people would think oh gosh well he's overweight it MUST have been his fault he gotten it etc.

MAYS 2011-01-10 16:28:35 -0600 Report

Although diabetes is an individual's disease, it spills out to affect both our friends, and loved ones indirectly.
We have to accept the support that is offered to us (my opinion) to reject it will only cause more confusion and hurt feelings to all who are involved.
Education of diabetes and action are the keys to surviving it.

CaliKo 2011-01-10 16:18:25 -0600 Report

I kept my diabetes diagnosis to myself for the most part. Of course I shared it with my husband and son, and they are supportive, but don't tell me what to do. I told my sister, my pastor, maybe 4 or 5 of my closest friends, and one co-worker. No one else at work knows. It gives me the freedom of making my choices without a big discussion, so I'm grateful I made that choice. Part of the reason I've been quiet about it was because my CDE asked me, "If you tell someone, what is it you want them to do?" So I consider that each time I'm tempted to mention it to someone. A fear of complications and the desire to be an active parent, and hopefully someday grandparent, are my primary motivations. I'm glad I have people here on DC to talk to and ask questions of, and to hear about all the things I haven't thought of. Hugs to all!

GabbyPA 2011-01-09 13:53:14 -0600 Report

When I was diagnosed I talked to a lot of people because I was scared and didn't know enough. My family history is full of it, but I still felt like it was so different because it was me now, and not another family member. I don't talk about it so much now, as I have found my footing and this site is where I talk about it more freely. My husband though will tell the waitress at almost every restaurant that I am diabetic. Oh well....so it goes. LOL

PetiePal 2011-01-10 10:06:23 -0600 Report

Well my mother and father are endlessly commenting on what I should or shouldn't eat but the fact is Mom doesn't understand as well as Dad, and even a lot of things affect my father (ice cream for example) differently than they get me.

ivonalvarez 2011-01-09 15:33:52 -0600 Report

Gabby for me its been 3 yrs and I still dont know enough about my diabetes and im still scared. Yesterday I joined Diabetic Connect and I can finaly say that it feels good talking about my diabetes with people that relate to what im feeling. Its only been two day's with connect but I have learned so much more here than talking with my Dr. As far as my Husband he is always on my case about my diabetes seeing that he is a Army Combat Medic but I feel better when I talk with all of you cause like I said all of you can relate with what I am going thru and what im feeling inside. I am very greatfull that I found this site.

MewElla 2011-01-10 16:31:07 -0600 Report

I am very close to one year and I truly feel lost, about half the time. It is so great to know there are people out here that really listen to me when I have so many, many questions and since I am alone, I feel like I am on a desert island at times. I too am grateful for having found this site.

GabbyPA 2011-01-09 18:54:47 -0600 Report

I am always learning, but I have to say that my confidence has improved 100%. I can't say that I am scared. There are times when I get scared or I scare myself, but in general, I am not afraid. I gained that from being here and talking to people who know what I am going through. I find new stuff all the time and members make me think outside my box a lot. That is good for me.

Here, I can say what I feel and not be afraid that someone is going to not want to deal with me because of my struggles with diabetes. My goal is always to try to be an inspiration, but there are times when that is the farthest thing from my mind.

So I say...don't be scared. Or more, don't let the fear run your life. I always see my day as an adventure, my diabetes is my teacher. It teaches me more about my body, my soul and my character every day.

PetiePal 2011-01-10 10:07:46 -0600 Report

This site should help eliminate the feeling of feeling alone and being scared *by yourself.*. There are plenty of us out there so no one needs to suffer in silence! You really need to look at it as the diagnosis may be the best news you could have gotten..if it was already there imagine how much longer you may have gone on not knowing and inadvertently doing damage to your body!

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