Lead or follow on diabetes

The saying goes leaders talk about solutions and followers talk about the problems.

I personally appreciate all the people that participate in runs, walks, bike rides, volley ball tournaments and galas to raise money for diabetes research.  These are simply every day good folks.  The funds these volunteers raise go toward research for treatment and cures to diabetes.  A cure for diabetes is the ultimate, yet illusive solution.  Normally, at events like these someone will speak about someone they know or have known that had diabetes and where strickened in some way by the disease. If in attendance, I am quietly sitting at a table knowing what is about to come.  People are asked to contribute their or money to  help raise funds for research.

At these moments, the speaker dramatically describes how the person they know is held back by diabetes and what a horrible impact the disease has on their life.  I am personally sickened by this approach.  I want to run to the mic and tell the audience to keep their hard earned dollars.  The simple solution that the whole audience seems to miss is that the diabetic being described has every chance in the world to control their diabetes.  Diabetes doesn’t come into your body like cancer and cannot be treated.  Diabetes comes into your body and builds a home in the decisions we as its enablers allow it.  If diabetics across the world took a stand against the disease and simply made decisions in their lives that put diabetes at the center of every decision these events to raise money for a cure could become  thought leadership events.  Not pandering the poor decisions of an individual.

Lead of follow on diabetes, the choice is yours..

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8 Responses to “Lead or follow on diabetes”

  1. I love your message, but it’s a lot harder for Type 2 diabetics to lead the disciplined life you describe. You were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes so early in life that you were able to develop the lifestyle to manage it withoutt having to overcome bad habits. Unfortunately, for those who have given themselves Type 2 diabetes through decades of poor eating and sedentary living, the idea of living to the other extreme seems almost impossible. Of course, it IS possible – there are plenty of people who have done it and who continue to do it. In most cases, they lead happier and healthier lives than they did before their T2D diagnoses. Sadly, they are the exceptions, rather than the normal cases.

    • Dylan, completely agree is more challenging for Type II diabetics than my particular case. My point is this. What allows me to be successful as a diabetic regardless of Type I or II is discipline in diet, exercise and medications. Whether your diabetic or not life gives you challenges and choices. It’s how we choose to deal with these that ultimately decides how we end up in this life.

  2. I guess that I do not know what to think of this post. Are you against raising money for a cure for diabetes, or are you against raising money for a cure for diabetics that do not have perfect control and have succumbed to peripheral health problems as a result? I am glad that your diabetes is never hard to control, or that you never get tired of dealing with the day to day efforts of keeping this disease in perfect check. But as for the majority of us, we are not perfect. It is a disease, like cancer, that can be treated. But unlike cancer, which can be treated and eradicated from the body, or at least put in remission for the majority of sufferers, there is no end to the struggle of diabetes. Yes, there is transplant, but only when you are very sick and usually have other problems associated. For the rest of the Type 1 diabetics, there is only insulin. And insulin can only do so much. It cannot cure diabetes. It cannot put it in remission. It cannot lead or follow. And perfection, although strived for, cannot be achieved. And then the disease kills. Whether it happens swiftly in your sleep, or happens slowly, diabetes is still a disease and still needs a cure.

    • Sarah, I am very much for finding a cure and raising money to find a cure. However, I am not a advocate of inviting people to a nice dinner and then describing to them how diabetes did some horrible thing in a persons life. I would much prefer to describe the unbelievable burden that diabetes represents to not only the US economy but the world. current data shows that diabetes cost $4500 annually per diabetic in direct medical expense. Yes, I want a cure and appreciate all the effort that goes into raising money for a cure. However, I know too many diabetics that do nothing to take care of themselves while they sit around waiting for a cure. It’s not their fault a cure is not found it’s somebody else’s. My point is for diabetics to take responsibility for their lives and actions.

  3. I’m thin. Always have been. That’s because for all of my 67 years I’ve eaten well (the Mediterranean Diet, basically), and when work hasn’t provide enough, I’ve exercised formally. Imagine my surprise when A1c screening put me in the “pre-diabetic” category. True, i would have the occasional tea and scones with jam or the occasional (whole grain) pancakes with maple syrup. Nothing I knew lead me to think of these occasional pleasures as poison. I now eat nothing white. No sugar. But it’s still confusing. “Sweet” potatoes are better than russets? Artichokes should be avoided? The information is not easy to come by. I’m doing everything I can to change my guilty lifestyle and have gotten myself only just under the wire in the non pre-diabetic zone. Is it OK to blame my parents’ genetics?

    • Jeffery, your diet sounds like you have a good handle on the eating decisions you are making. Artichokes also make my blood sugar crazy along with re-fried beans. Was there diabetes in your parents families? Regardless, I’m not a big believer in placing blame. I simply recognize the challenge that diabetes represents and focus all of my energies on beating it. I view placing blame as a fruitless exercise.

  4. No, no. I’m not blaming. That was figurative. But if one can find causes and eliminate them if possible, one’s always in a better position, even if all that’s gained is a better understanding. My parents were Christian Scientists and so eschewed medicine entirely. Sadly, there’s more about them than the possibility of diabetes that I’ll never know.
    About diet. We seem to live in a carbo-centric culture! How does one arrange for a reasonable breakfast?? I just came back from a brief vacation in Ireland. It’s either carbohydrates galore or cholesterol galore…or both! Airplane food was worse. One can go hungry trying to do this. I find that if I search out better carbs – such as whole barley or whole spelt – I need to be crative to make it palatable. It then becomes a focus and I tend to eat more of it, proud as I am of the new recipe. More is not good either. It’s a struggle. Is there a general recipe/ diet book you could recommend for the challenge?

    • I don’t have a diabetic recipe book I can recommend. My mother and girl friend have both purchased books and incorporated the style of cooking for a diabetic into our meal plans. This said, I am a big advocate of finding what works for me, or in this case you. Meaning I have over the last few years learned that I like protein shakes with fresh fruit for breakfast and ofter lunch. My blood sugar remains stable after consuming these nutrients. The fresh fruit makes the shakes sweet in taste, which I like. The point is eat what you enjoy in moderation and understand the impact of what you enjoy has on your blood sugar. I find that by consistantly eating the shakes I described and a normal dinner my blood sugar stays in check without large swings. Additionally, if I choose to splurge on eating I take the appropriate insulin, check blood sugar more frequently after and then return to my low calorie shakes. This method has allowed me to eat healthy while not feeling like I am on a diet and eventually tire of the diet and fall off. This approach led me to find that I love red wine and that the wine has no impact on my blood sugar. This discovery was 10 years ago. I replaced beer in my diet and have benefited since this change. in sum, my diet is driven equally by what I like taste wise and the impact to my blood sugar. I can consume less of high carb things that I like and more of high protein things that I like and feel like I am full and satisfied with a meal. This approach gives you the power to decide what you eat and like and is not a somebody else’s formula that may work in the short term but will all too often feel like a constraint over the long term. My approach puts the burden of responsibility on you (or me) but once your comfortable with this you are free to reap the rewards of eating as you choose in moderation and knowing what actions to take when you decide you want to splurge.

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