[INTRO TO FOR DIABETICS ONLY]-- 4 min read
Welcome to our “From the Fight” Blog. This week, we are kicking off a new series [For Diabetics Only]. In this series, we will be talking about helpful knowledge for diabetics.
As a diabetic myself, knowing as much knowledge as possible is key to not only gaining a better understanding of my disease, but it has helped me manage it as well.
The health care system fails us diabetics. From the cost of insulin being crazy expensive, even with insurance, to the incompetence of a lot of our doctors, we are often left to fend for ourselves. If you are a warrior like myself, I’d like to share the knowledge I have learned with you. Be sure to join our email list so we can notify you when a new blog post is up. You won’t want to miss this!
Now let’s start at the basics:
There are different types of diabetes—Pre-diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, Type 1 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. While we can all agree that our pancreas sucks (some more than others) our diabetes are different. I am a type 1 diabetic which is very different from a type 2. Now, just because I don’t have type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean I don’t know anything about it. A few of my loved ones are Type 2 diabetics and, in my research on type 1, I found a lot of information that pertains to type 2 as well.
Let me clearly state that I AM NOT A DOCTOR, nor do I have my PhD. I’m just a guy that got fed up with the limitations of having an incurable disease and did everything in my power to manage and thrive despite it. I feel it is my duty to share the knowledge that I have.
Square 1: The diagnosis.
I was first diagnosed on Christmas Eve in 2009, almost 8 years ago. To be honest, I didn’t fully know what diabetes was before I was diagnosed. It was like being thrown into an advanced class of nutrition because there is just so much knowledge and rules being thrown at you from every angle. And most people being diagnosed have no prior expert knowledge of fitness or nutrition. You have to learn about insulin and the dangers that it poses. You now have to practice building new habits like carrying medication and sugar with you everywhere and being prepared for anything. You can no longer be spontaneous with plans. It was hard, it was really hard. I fell into a minor depression because my life seemed to be falling apart in many areas in addition to this new chronic disease diagnosis. Being diagnosed on Christmas Eve was especially tough as well because it is centered around sweets. Learning to say no was difficult for me. It was also very difficult to plan what I was eating because everything was home-made. I tried pretending that nothing had happened to me the night before because I feared being seen as different, as weaker than I was previously.
The doctors and nurses that cared for me that night (and ultimately delivered my diagnosis) were kind, but uninformed. You see, they gave me a brief overview of the science behind it, but never simplified it. And what little simplification they did explain to me was incorrect (as I would later find out from my own research). The doctor told me that I was never again going to be able to consume and process anything with sugar in it. Nearly 74% of food items have processed sugar, and this isn’t even including naturally occurring sugars! Thankfully I like to ask questions and I was able to find out that I can eat whatever I want as long as I match what I eat with insulin and I consume it responsibly (in moderation).
It is important to remember though, that it wasn’t all bad advice. They did give me hope. Saying that with current medication options, I could live a full life if I kept my disease under control. I also realize that these doctors and nurses are expected to know a little bit about everything, not everything about everything. That would be impossible. And this is why we have specialists, like an endocrinologist for diabetes education.
When I was first diagnosed, I was depressed. I was overwhelmed. I felt like giving up. It wasn’t until over a year later that I really took control over my disease. I had still been taking my medications that whole time, but it wasn’t a priority. I was just floating by, until I had a near death experience. My blood sugars dropped so low that I began losing consciousness. It was that night that I realized that if I don’t take control of my disease, I could literally die. I began learning more and more about my disease and about how to combat it. I learned how different foods affect blood sugars short term vs long term. I learned about how exercise and sleeping habits even play a large role in a diabetic’s health. Fast forward to now, my A1c is at 6.2% (if you don’t know, that’s a good thing), I am a personal trainer, nutritionist, and fitness model. I successfully turned my life around and I could not be more proud, but I’ll tell you what... I did not and could not do it alone. I had an excellent support system with my family and friends pushing me and encouraging me all the way. As a diabetic, I highly encourage you to find your support system. They are priceless and 100% necessary in you getting your life back.
As a diabetic, or maybe someone you know is diabetic, stories like mine are quite common. In most cases you or your loved ones may have experienced even crazier things than me! There is a lot of frustration and sadness associated with this chronic disease, and for good reason. It takes away organ functionality, it takes limbs, and it even takes lives. My encouragement to you all is that there is hope. This disease can be controlled and even conquered. I have learned to control my diabetes so that it no longer controls me. I decided to take responsibility for my life and stop playing the victim to this unfortunate speed bump in life. It may have slowed me down temporarily, but with the proper knowledge and training I was able to get back on track and live my life happily and healthy. You can do the same.
Comment below and share a bit of your story, I’d love to hear it.
Until next time, Keep up the Fight!
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