Even though I don’t always mention it, I never forget that I’m Type 1 Diabetic. I have a pump attached to me at all times, administering insulin. Yet, I don’t identify myself as a diabetic. I don’t subscribe to diabetes magazines or go to diabetes meet-ups. I don’t know very many other diabetics and don’t swap tips or recipes or horror stories. Maybe I should. It might do me some good. But my doctor tells me I’m still his rockstar patient. My numbers (aka A1C) are in the “normal” (read non-diabetic) range. My diet is healthy; I exercise every day; this disease doesn’t define me.
It’s just a constant annoyance, like bad breath or Mitt Romney commercials.
Diabetes is a prescribed eating disorder: I obsess about carbohydrates and calories. When I overeat or my blood sugars are inexplicably high, I do push-ups and sit-ups or run around the neighborhood. I’m that crazy lady with the pedometer and that million-yard stare. Since exercise brings blood glucose levels back to normal even more effectively than extra shots of insulin, I choose activity as my antidote.
26 million Americans have diabetes, and another 79 million have pre-diabetes. Recent estimates suggest that by 2050, 1 out of 3 adults will have diabetes. Many of these have Type 2 Diabetes, the mostly preventable and diet-related kind. Type 1 is an auto-immune disease, and research now suggests it could be the body’s continued response to a virus. Both diseases affect your body’s ability to use insulin, and because of this connection the two diseases are lumped together.
Either way, diabetes is a vicious little fiend. She gets into the tiniest vessels in your body and wreaks havoc. Constant control is the key to staving off heart disease, stroke, amputation, blindness, kidney failure and a myriad of other diabetes-related “complications”. I like to blame my control-freak nature on my disease. After all, I’m forced to count calories and carbs, and control food intake and exercise output.
So I plan to cheer on the folks at the American Diabetes Association with their month. The motto is Stop Diabetes. What’s not to like about that?