As its National Diabetes Week in the UK I thought I’d write a short piece on how I’m getting on with my self-inflicted type 2 diabetes. I have been told by doctors and diabetic practice nurses that my diabetes is not-self inflicted, it’s just one of those things, but I disagree. If my diet choices over the last few years had been different, maybe only slightly, then I would not be diabetic now. One thing I do know is that diabetes has changed my life for ever. When I was first diagnosed it felt like the best thing that had happened for a long while! Suddenly I had a reason for feeling so weak, run down, tired, thirsty and generally sick. When I first started taking the pills, I suddenly felt so much better, and thought that if this is diabetes then I can live with this! As time has passed though, things have changed, I now know that I can’t be as physical as I was, heavy manual tasks are much more difficult now, I can’t just have a coke and get more energy, I have to take some things more slowly. I can’t skip breakfast and have an early lunch, I really need to eat more regularly, and I have to watch what I eat. I have learned to take account of how I’m feeling, and tailor my food intake to take account of this. I find that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for me, I can ruin my day by not having the correct breakfast. The Dukan Diet has helped me with this as I now have an oat bran pancake for breakfast, this fills me up without being too big, and being slow release energy it keeps me going for a long time. I try to eat more protein than anything else, and definitely stay off the carbohydrates if I can. I find a pasty to be better than a sandwich or baguette, I drink some diet drinks, but more often than not I drink water.
I don’t know if other diabetics get this, but if I don’t eat soon enough in the morning I will start to shake and feel a bit disoriented, when I start to feel like this I eat as soon as I can, and the feeling will ease, if I leave it too long then it takes longer to pass and I feel bad all day. For some reason I don’t get like this at other times of the day, but maybe that’s because I’m more in tune with what’s going on, and sort myself out before it gets to that stage. I’m getting a lot better at controlling my blood sugar levels now, they very rarely exceed 7.5 but are usually in the range of 5 – 7 which I think is ok, but I’m not sure. I do keep an eye on my feet, I know that they are not as sensitive as they should be, a few times I’ve stood in the bath, and when I’ve tried to sit down I’ve found the water far to hot for me, so now I’m much more careful, I always wear slippers about the house just in case I tread on something sharp, as I don’t think I’d notice! Another thing I’ve noticed is that I’m cold a lot more often, in the past my nieces always wanted to hold my hand in the cold because I always had warm hands, but now I frequently have cold hands and feet. It’s strange how I can’t tell how hot the bath water is with my feet, but I can feel the cold with them!
In many ways I feel lucky, my partner Sarah, can tell with a quick look if I’m feeling ok, and will sort me out if I don’t. I’ve learned to listen to what my body is telling me about my blood sugar and energy levels, I don’t push myself to the point of exhaustion any more as I know that I’ll pay for it later. I know that I can’t replace energy as quickly as non diabetics, so I don’t try to keep up with them, I suppose that I pace myself better now! There are several things that have really helped me to cope with my diabetes, one of which is losing weight! I’m a couple of stone lighter than I was when I was diagnosed, obviously, this is such a major benefit to my general wellbeing that I don’t need to tell you of its benefits! The Dukan Diet is the thing that taught me most about diabetes, the amazing and almost instant change to my blood sugar levels that I experienced with this diet are something that I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t experienced them. I’m sure it’s not that way for all type 2 diabetics, but the cause of my diabetes was carbohydrate intake, cutting out carbs and eating a lot more protein showed me this. The main reason that I feel lucky is that I have a partner like Sarah, I feel that I’m part of a team tackling my diabetes, having her support is vital to me, and her help in keeping my weight down and blood sugars stable is invaluable. I should also mention the support of all my family, my mum has been so supportive and helpful, especially when I was first diagnosed. My brother, who is super competitive, and very fit, no longer expects me to keep up with him when we work together, and will chide me when I fancy a doughnut!
So to sum up. It is possible to live a relatively normal life with type 2 diabetes, you just have to change a few things! Pay attention to how you’re feeling, don’t wait too long to eat, when you start to feel hungry, eat, and eat the right things. Don’t expect to be able to do the things that you could do when you were 21! Take more care of yourself, and if you notice any changes see your doctor! As a diabetic you are susceptible to many more illnesses and conditions, and many of them could make your life much worse. I’d really like to say to all those people who are borderline diabetic, change your ways now whilst you still can. Diabetes has changed my life, it’s likely to shorten it considerably, and it can’t be reversed yet, and although I’m coping with it quite well, thanks to the support of Sarah and my family, I would not wish it on anybody!
- Diabetes, But I Don’t Eat Sugar! (fabulousspirit.wordpress.com)
- High-fat diet lowered blood sugar and improved blood lipids in diabetics (sott.net)
- What is diabetes and why should we worry about it? (chip-hanna.com)
- Diabetic101 Food Regimine – for Me (Part 1 of 2) (kindredspirit23.wordpress.com)
- [D-Blog Week] What They Should Know. Yo. (sixuntilme.com)