Since about 2005, I’ve been dealing with Type II diabetes. For the longest time, I could manage it with diet and exercise and minimal medications. I also treated it for the longest time with Denial®. Denial can allow one to get through life blissfully ignorant of how bad their medical condition really is. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, and dropping dead over whatever it is you’re in denial over. Ask your doctor if Denial is right for you. (Spoiler alert: He’s probably going to say no.)
Denial has gotten me to the point where I now need multiple medications, including insulin, to keep my blood sugar under control. It’s somewhat normal now thanks to frequent monitoring, but the real danger is that I had few side effects from the disease. Beyond some irritability and frequent afternoon carb crashes, I never really felt a problem. Where the trouble came was when I would get the periodic checkup (that I often postponed) and my A1C numbers would come in.
That’s the number that tells the doc what you’re A1C has been over the last three months. You want it to be under 7. So when I consistently came back with 10…
It was time to discontinue Denial. I asked my doctor, and it was not right for me.
Over the years, though, I got to hear all sorts of advice about the condition, usually from people who know nothing about it. Or they’re experts because the father’s cousin’s nephew’s former roommate died of the disease. My first interaction with a relative’s new husband involved him lecturing me that his brother-in-law had – operative word “had” – a love of beer. It went on like that for a whole paragraph, and all because I posted a pick of myself at a local bar with a beer mug. Worse is when some fat ass scarfing their fourth donut at work decides to tell you that “Those are bad for you, dude.” Yeah, tubby, and they look like they’re doing you a lot of good. In fact, it’s amazing how everyone now thinks every single health concern revolves around diabetes.
“I stubbed my toe on the end table last night.”
“Well, you are diabetic.”
WTF? All that meant was investing in a night light didn’t work as well as I hoped. I wasn’t even headed to the bathroom to check my sugar. (Well, I was headed to the bathroom, but that’s being a male over 40.)
But it’s not the death sentence it was years ago. My mother was diabetic (and that was the least of her concerns in her later years, but it didn’t help.) The old-school post-meal insulin shots (with a syringe straight out of the fridge) did an adequate job. Every morning, I swallow a handful of pills, jab myself in the leg with a few units of long-acting insulin, and again before the three main meals. The next step is training for a half marathon. I’m not suggesting you train for a half marathon if you’re dealing with this. I’ve just run two already and find the training plan the best way to make myself exercise.
This hasn’t been the ordeal some people make it out to be. The most stressful part is finding cheap supplies and discounts on the medicines. I’ve come to loathe big pharma for charging $400 for a plastic pen for the same medication they sell for $25 in a vial. The technology for that was around in Europe for 20 years before it became available in the United States, so the excuse of development costs is an outright lie.
Still, I have a wife who was a registered nurse, and a doctor I’ve been with for a decade now. Is it possible I’ll get off the medication treadmill?
Let’s hope so. It’s not the worst disease to have with all the focus and options we have these days, but it’d be nice to have one less thing to deal with. It’d be nice to get up in the morning and find out my sugar’s too low for metformin, never mind everything else I take. And it certainly isn’t the nightmare cancer is.