Basics, Day To Day

Basics: you are your diabetes

The same way you need to accept early on that your diabetes is you, you you’ll need to accept that you’re your diabetes.

For a lot of people around you, it will become what defines you. They might not be aware of many people affected by the condition (mostly because people don’t tell others about it), so just for that you’ll stand out. Most people will refer to you as “diabetic”. Some don’t like it because they don’t want their condition to define them, but I don’t mind. In large part because it does define me.

Once diagnosed, if you want to seriously tackle the issue, and you should since it can be a matter of life or (early) death, your diabetes will become the centre of your life: you’ll constantly think about your diet because of it; you’ll constantly think about your exercise regimen because of it; you’ll constantly think about testing your glycemia because of it; you’ll even restrict your social activities because of it (no eating out with friends and family). And that’s not mentioning the possible side effects and impact on your daily life (sleep, dizziness, headaches, or worse). You should be obsessed by it for at least a few months after diagnosis. You will become your diabetes.

But it’s not a bad thing: you need to prioritise your life after diagnosis. Your diabetes should be at the top of your concerns and getting it under control your absolute priority. Remember that if you’re overweight losing at least 15kg fast after diagnosis increases massively your chances of reaching remission and staying there. That’s where you want to go and you need to do everything you can to get there as soon as possible.

After a few months, when you have reached your weight goal and you have your diabetes under control, you can relax and start enjoying your life a bit more: you can test yourself less because you have internalised the effect of food and exercise on your body; exercise will be part of your life and you won’t even question it anymore; you can reintroduce some foods you had completely cut out for months (e.g. bread); you can start eating out again as long as you choose the right place and pre-load. All the while still monitoring it to avoid falling back into bad habits.

It will never leave you. Your long term goal is stop or slow down your diabetes’ progression. But you can never ignore it again, even if you reach remission. It is you and you are it forever.

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