Basics: not a monster

A lot of people refer to their diabetes as a “monster”. The app I use to track my glycemia and everything I do does so too. I guess it makes sense to see it that way when you’re diagnosed: you have received the news that you have a life-threatening condition that most likely will stay with you all your life (even if you go into remission). But you should change your view quickly.

Your diabetes is you. It’s not an external thing you need to fight and you can extract from yourself. It’s your body that has a problem. And in the case of type 2 diabetes, you have at least a part in its creation.

To me, the danger of looking at diabetes as an external thing is that you lose the sense of responsibility and the sense that it is up to you to act. If it’s a “monster” that exists apart from you, what can you do? It’s there whether you like it or not. If it’s a “demon”, it’s imposed upon you by an external force. There’s nothing you can do against that, you might as well accept it and take the pills.

I see it more like a bug: your body is a complex system that has hardware (your physical body) and software (your mind). In the case of diabetes, the hardware has a bug that you have to manage. Or even fix. It’s part of your hardware and as you’re the caretaker of that hardware, you have responsibility toward it.

In lots of ways, being diagnosed with diabetes early enough is a life-saving wake up call: you haven’t been taking care of your hardware for too long. You’ve let things get bad. In the long term, you also increase your susceptibility to various cancers and heart disease. Now is the time to change everything in depth. And you’re the only one who can do it.

I’m in that category. I have never taken care of my body. I’ve never cared for exercise. Food was a way to have fun. Things seemed to work fine and I didn’t feel bad in my body, therefore I assumed everything was ok and could continue as it was. It has all changed when my doctor told me I had smashed through prediabetes and I had full on diabetes.

There is no time to be in denial. There is no time to negotiate with your doctor about medication. There is no time to waste imagining that things will be ok. There is no time waiting to see how things will progress. You need to take action the day you’re told about your diabetes.

Now, a lot of my time and my wife’s time is assigned to taking care of our bodies. In her case, she has no diabetes but changing her lifestyle to align it on my diabetic lifestyle is also beneficial. And as her mum has type 2 diabetes, it will help insuring that she doesn’t develop it as well.

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