Hump Day Report: Diabetic “I” Word

Hump Day LogoRants and raves about burning topics that have caught my attention midweek, be it greedy corporate shenanigans, frustration or joy in regards to the Philly sports teams, a movie, show or DVD that has fired up my imagination, an intriguing personality, or what’s happening in the region. — Lori Hoffman, Associate Editor, Atlantic City Weekly.

In January 2000 I was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic. It was a blow, since except for one cousin who had Type 1 diabetes, it didn’t run in our family. However, since I’m obese and had been on medication for hypertension (which does run in my family), it wasn’t all that surprising.

Luckily one of my passions is doing research, and while my favorite topic is film history as a film critic, I plunged into diabetes research, learning all about the disease, the alarming increase of diabetes — especially in overweight children — and looking for the best information on how to treat my condition.

I was annoyed that there seemed to be no consensus in the medical community on the correct diet for diabetes. If carbohydrates are what are most easily converted into glucose and too much glucose in the blood is the definition of diabetes, why is a high carb diet still in the mix? High protein isn’t good for the kidneys, and we all know a high fat diet is bad for the heart. I was dazed and confused.

At least the diagnosis explained why a felt like a zombie all the time, barely able to function I was so worn down. Thanks to changes in my diet, exercise and medication, I was able to get my A1c (the rate of blood glucose over a three month period) down from 13.1 to around 6.5 in 10 months. Part of my routine was using a blood glucose meter to keep track of my sugars. I was doing all the right things.

walkerBut as often happens in life, one gradually slips out of good habits and back into bad ones. In the past year, my blood sugars began to rise again. And in doing my initial research, I knew that Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. Even when you do everything right, you body doesn’t always respond the way you hope over the long haul.

Today I injected myself with insulin. It was something I hoped I could avoid, the dreaded “I” word. Once you start taking insulin, your control of your disease has changed. With my age and the years I have lived with the disease, I have to take some solace that it took 13 years to get me to this point. While I am back to eating healthier on the Weight Watchers program, exercise has yet to be reintroduced to my route.

As an ex-athlete, my love of competition will get me there even if my creaky knees (one of which has been enhanced with titanium) and a chronically bad shoulder are fighting me mentally and physically.

I’ll get there because the alternative sucks.

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