Denial and Justification

Denial is a beautiful thing when you are going through it, it helps one to ignore that they may have a problem. It helps one to keep making the same mistakes over and over because with denial, there is no mistake, nothing is wrong. Denial helped me not to see that person in the mirror, but rather see what I wanted to see.

Not much has changed in educating T2 Diabetics.

You might get low blood sugar (also called hypoglycemia) if you:
Take certain medications and eat too few carbohydrates, or skip or delay a meal.
Take too much insulin or diabetes pills (ask your diabetes care team if this applies to you)
Are more active than usual”
Aha! I see an “in” for denial right there…

I became good friends with denial when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I had a prescription and a cookbook. I could eat cake at birthday parties and holiday celebrations, I was just like everyone else, only I had a little pill that would fix me. Yeah, I had to get whole wheat bread instead of white, but with that sweet nutty flavor, I grew to love it more than white bread anyways. Little did I know I was also growing sicker.

For the first year I was ok, yeah, my hbA1c went up, so did the dosage of my little pill. My doctor at the time asked me if I was over consuming sugar, I told him no, I only eat cake and ice cream at special occasions, it was my mom’s birthday a couple of months ago and then my daughter’s last month. I should have seen the connection then. I should have thought to myself, “maybe I shouldn’t eat cake and ice cream even at special occasions”, but I didn’t. I had denial on my side and he made me ten foot tall and bullet proof. Besides, when I got diabetes, I was told “sugar in moderation”, “use hard candies if your blood sugar is low”, “watch your fat intake, use mustard instead of mayo”.

(The back of the flyer from December 2012, "What to do if you think you have low blood sugar"

“If you think your blood sugar is low but cannot check it at that time, treat anyway” – denial… “Treat by eating or drinking something high in sugar such as:…” – justification. Diabetes is a problem that is caused by eating sugar, so why treat it with sugar? Wait, lookie there at who publishes this flyer, say it isn’t so and just up yer dosage! (I really need to put a pillow down prior to banging my head on the desk…)

My doc at the time also advised me to just exercise. Exercise will help your blood sugar be more stable and it will help you lose weight. In hind sight, I should have said “Why thank you doctor, and yes, it’s nice to meet you Ms. Justification”. Instead, I just smiled with my denial and thought “I’m gonna get right on that”.

A not so funny thing happens when you have good friends like denial and justification, not only is there no longer a problem, but you also have good reason to just keep doing what you are doing, as long as it makes you happy. The only problem was I wasn’t happy. I was sick and tired, but I took naps. Food was love and it made me feel good while I was eating it.

Justification gave me endless opportunity. He said it would help my blood sugar, so it was ok to eat cake more often as long as I exercised. I had some bike pedals, I could do that and it would be ok. It really didn’t matter anyways, between the bike pedals, medication, denial, and justification, I had it all figured out. I was going to make my doc proud because I was exercising after cake and ice cream now, and I had figured out a way to have cake and ice cream more often.

Year two, I ended up winning in the bonus round, with the help of Mr. Denial and Ms. Justification, I won the mother load! A prescription for my elevated cholesterol, another diabetes medication, and hypertension! If I hadn’t had denial and justification on my side, maybe I would have seen I had been zonked. I was doing everything right, watching my fat intake, using moderation in sugar, and I had even started using whole wheat flour when making my famous yeast rolls. {I’m sure many are seeing a pattern here} I also got an every three months standing appointment for blood work. Seemed I would need my liver and kidneys checked that often, along with my hbA1c and lipids. They told me it was because I was diabetic. Had I read the side effects I would have seen for myself it was because of potential side effects, thank you denial

Not a lot has changed in the world of T2 Diabetics. The powers to be keep touting the same old mantra “moderation, heart healthy whole grains, low fat, exercise”, yeah, that was the recipe for my lack of success. As you can see from the flyer above, many signs and symptoms of Hypoglycemia are just normal things even non-diabetics experience at one time or another. Looking at the back of the flyer though, you see the justification, why take an aspirin for that head ache when “4 ounces of regular soda pop” will fix it? Who is just going to eat when they are hungry when “5-6 hard candies that you can chew quickly (such as mints)” will fix the “low blood sugar” and then “eat a meal or snack to keep it from coming back“. If you have kids, pets, or a spouse, you’ve surely experienced being “nervous or upset”, but it too can be treated by “eating or drinking something high in sugar“.

In the present world, my doctor refused removing T2 Diabetes from my chart. At first, it hurt my feelings because he has been with me most of my journey and even taken me off the remaining medications I was taking after Dr. Christie left the practice. I’ve learned that keeping it on my chart is a good thing. Looking at me and looking at my blood work, you will not see a Type 2 Diabetic anymore. Denial and justification would call that a cure, but I kicked those two to the curb a long time ago. I call it remission, because diabetes is never really cured, only remitted. I know now that reverting to my old lifestyle would enable my diabetes to once again control the reins of my life.

If you or a loved one is Type 2 diabetic, take the time to talk to your doctor about alternatives to “Treat by eating or drinking something high in sugar”. Remember that T2 Diabetes is never really cured, only remitted as long as we stay in control. It’s a slippery slope we walk on, one false step and T2 takes back the reins.

I leave you today with a picture of me from November 2012. Our piglets were getting big enough to go from stall to pasture. I am proud to say that I did not sit on the side lines. That piglet (along with their two siblings) squealed all the way from the barn to the pasture, nearly deafened me, but I wouldn’t have even been able to tote a 30 pound piglet from one stall to another when diabetes was in the drivers seat. I was even prouder when I sprinted back up to the barn and toted her brother 🙂


Once you kick denial and justification to the curb, you get new friends like self worth and self pride. Much better to hang around with, I think.




3 thoughts on “Denial and Justification

  1. Pingback: The most important thing I learned during hunting season… | mydiabetesandme

  2. Pingback: How to have your cake and eat it, too :) | mydiabetesandme

  3. Pingback: Lifestyle change costs too much and other excuses | mydiabetesandme

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