Hit with a Type 2 Diagnosis, One Woman Explains How She Coped
Today’s guest post comes from Robin Wright, a blogger over at DiabetesSisters.org. Robin has been living with type 2 diabetes for a decade now. She wanted to share how diabetes has affected her life as well as the risk factors that put her on the path toward this complicated disease.
Take it away, Robin!
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Hi! I’m Robin. I am 61 years old and have been living with type 2 diabetes for more than 10 years. The fact that I developed diabetes came as no surprise. It runs in both my mother and father’s families… genetics were not in my favor.
Also, I have had a weight problem since adolescence. I have always had trouble with food cravings and poor control over sugar consumption. I grew up in the 1950s in an urban neighborhood, so it was difficult to be active enough to work off the empty calories that I loved to consume. Unfortunately, as an adult all my dieting just got me heavier, stressing my endocrine system.
I learned I was diabetic during a routine visit to my internist. She had done some blood work and looked concerned as she told me the results: high blood sugar equals type 2 diabetes.
Of course I was upset. What did this mean?
I knew it was not the diagnosis of an untreatable or fatal illness, but I did know that diabetes sets the stage for increased risk of heart disease, cancer, loss of eyesight and loss of limb, neuropathy, and just about every plague of modern illness.
Many questions followed: How do you manage diabetes? What medications will I need to take? How does this effect day-to-day life?
I remember leaving the doctor’s office with a bag of supplies and samples in a large bag.
I felt alone. How do you live with this illness? I knew I needed support, so I scheduled an appointment with a diabetes educator.
I learned how to test my blood sugar and how to create a low-sugar and low-carbohydrate diet by reading food labels. Also, I also learned that exercise could help manage my blood sugar levels.
Luckily, there are many effective medications available today. I was prescribed Metformin and Januvia, two orally administered medications. So far, my blood sugar levels have been maintained at acceptable levels with my A1c level at 6.6% (A1c of 6.5% or higher indicates diabetes).
I struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Thankfully, I am able to get valuable health information and connect with other diabetics over the Internet.
Good nutrition is important. I found a local group that emphasizes whole food preparation in small groups at a “family table.” The philosophy here is that good nutrition has been lost in our fast food culture creating the epidemic of obesity and other health related problems.
It was through this group that I learned how to feed myself with healthy and delicious food.
Also, I needed emotional support. I found a national group called Diabetes Sisters (diabetessisters.org) and connected with a local support group for women living with prediabetes, type 1 and type 2.
Having this support group has made managing the questions, frustrations and successes less lonely. The surprise of all of this: Meeting many new and wonderful people and turning adverse circumstances into strength!
I hope sharing my experience will ease your concerns and offer hope in your quest for health.
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Are genetics and a poor diet putting you at risk of diabetes, like it did with Robin?
If you have prediabetes (1 out of 3 Americans do!), there may still be time to prevent the development of diabetes. You could potentially avoid a diabetes diagnosis by getting tested today.