No Escape from Alcatraz

An old friend contacted me last week to say he’s been diagnosed with Type 2. Poor guy. In that initial state of shock, he’s feeling like he’s been sentenced to “the Rock”: “What really gets me is this is for life! I mean, you can control it with diet and medications, but it’s never going to go away. Once you get it, you don’t go back.”

Yes. It’s forever, but at the risk of sounding like an insufferable Pollyanna (my hidden agenda here? Cat_in_the_hatSee DR. SUESS’ FUN WITH DIABETES), I think there really is a bright side. This is your health wake-up call. Time to get off your tusch and take care of yourself. It’s a new attitude that I call, “staying out of the hospital.” Once you start taking care of your diabetic self with dedication and the right attitude, you will likely find that you feel better than you have in years.

So what’s bothering my newly diagnosed friend most? The same stuff that we all go through when we first find out:

  • Life span: Will I get a heart attack? Will this knock a decade or more off my life? Will a cure happen in my lifetime?
  • What can I eat safely? Does the Glycemic Index matter?
  • Where are the resources? Which books actually apply to real life with diabetes?
  • Dealing with people: Whom do I tell? How do I avoid clobbering people who make idiotic remarks?
  • Do I need interaction with other diabetics, or can I go it alone?

Well, my friend, fabulous questions! And exactly the reason that I have morphed into the Patient Pundit –- to solidify and share the basic wisdom that helps me feel secure with my new life companion. I’m working my way through the tough diabetes questions, one by one from the trenches, and sharing what I learn. As my two-year anniversary approaches, the denial dissipates … It’s sinking in that yep, I’m now living on “The Rock,” but I’m sure not in isolation — and the view’s not all that bad from “Diabetes Mine.”

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3 Responses

  1. Doc Shazam
    Doc Shazam May 4, 2005 at 10:22 pm | | Reply

    Actually, there is a traithlon event called “Escape from Alcatraz”, which is what I thought this post was about. It is on my list of ‘someday’ things to do. The hard part is winning a spot in the evend.

    Thinking about it, it makes sense…exercise is a wonderful adjunct to the treatment of diabetes. How about taking up triathlons?

  2. ThePef
    ThePef May 5, 2005 at 8:50 am | | Reply

    Amy,

    Good point. The realization that you are diabetic can be taken as wake up call. Outside of an ill functioning pancreas, I can honestly say that I am in better health now (age 41) than I was in my 20s or any other time in my life. I exercise more, and eat better. Now if I could only jump start my pancreas again, I would live to be a 100.

  3. Dr. R.
    Dr. R. May 5, 2005 at 4:38 pm | | Reply

    I tell my patients the following advice that was given to me by Dr. Maxwell Wintrobe when I was in med school.

    “If you want to live a long life get a chronic disease and take good care of it.”

    I know, my Mom has T2DM and I have IRS so I diet like crazy (So Beach and Dave Heber’s LA Shape Diet) and exercise like a nut. I’ve gotta live what I preach.

    Good luck to you.

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