A Word for Newbies

Gretchen Becker Health Guide
  • Sometimes I think that the most popular blog posts are those that describe someone's daily experiences in living with diabetes.


    It helps to see that other people are also dealing with low blood sugars at inconvenient times or high blood sugars after they simply couldn't say no to a plate of brownies or a huge piece of fudge.


    When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I was eager to hear how other people were dealing with it: their blood sugar levels, their diet plans, their successes, and their failures. So I thought I'd write about my current life with diabetes, after more than 10 years with the disease.

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    There was just one problem. When I sat down at the computer to write, I realized that I've become so accustomed to living with diabetes that there's really not much to write about.


    I take about 20 units of Levemir every day, to give my beta cells a bit of rest. And, as described previously, the biggest problem with that is remembering to take it. Because it's a basal, I don't often have lows. (I recently reduced the Levemir because I was sometimes going low before dinner.)


    I take my meds, which isn't a big problem. They include metformin, an ACE inhibitor to protect the kidneys, and Vytorin for cholesterol. Plus a multivitamin and calcium. Except for the Vytorin and Levemir, I use generic drugs, and on my Plan D, I can get three months' worth of these drugs for $7. Not a big financial burden.


    I'm on a low-carb diet, which was difficult at first, but I've become so accustomed to it that I don't really think much about it. In fact, I now prefer the foods I eat to the ones I don't eat. When I see someone with a huge mound of rice and several slices of bread, with a little meat, when I have meat and several servings of fresh vegetables and salad, I think my plate looks more appealing. In the summer I eat fresh veggies right from the garden (anyone want a bushel of yellow squash?).


    Regular desserts no longer appeal to me. If I take small tastes of other people's desserts, they mostly taste overwhelmingly sweet, without much flavor. I'd much prefer to have some berries or some plain yogurt or kefir with DaVinci sugarfree flavorings (my favorite is Cookie Dough) and nuts.


    If someone brings me a box of brownies they baked themselves, I feel no obligation to risk my health by eating them. I simply thank them and say I'm on a strict diet for diabetes and brownies aren't part of the diet and maybe they could give them to someone else.


    The biggest remaining problem is dealing with eating out when most of the offerings are things I don't eat. But I've become accustomed to eating ahead of time or finding things that I can eat out of the morass of carbohydrates that most people serve. I'm not shy about asking for something special at a restaurant, and I can usually get it.


    It doesn't bother me to watch everyone else put away huge mounds of cheesecake. I'd much prefer to focus on the conversation.


    So I guess the real story here is for those who were recently diagnosed. Yes, it's very difficult at first, because you suddenly have to change your habits and learn to eat new foods. But it does get easier with time. And I think it gets easier faster if you're pretty strict at first. If you're constantly seduced by Aunt Hortensia's triple cream blueberry pie, you're never going to lose your taste for it. If you say no every time it's offered, you'll stop wanting it.


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    And for many of us, life gets better, not worse.

Published On: September 04, 2007