As a child, it was easy to blur the lines between wants and needs. My parents ensured that the basic needs of my siblings and me were met. We had food, shelter, and clothing. Oft times there were things we wanted, a new doll, a new record (tell my age much?), to go to the skating rink with our friends. While we pretty much had everything we needed, even if that meant Mom and Dad went without, it was hard to hear “no” when it came to something we needed so bad.
Going through life, even without an Economics class in high school, we tend to find out quickly the difference in wants and needs. That fancy pair of sneakers doesn’t look as fancy as it did when we needed them so bad and decided to forgo the electric bill. Whether or not we like it, we often learn life’s lessons the hard way.
Take for example my new friend, Chef Piggy, who has volunteered to be my “fictional character” today.
Being recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, Chef Piggy has a couple of options. She can do what ever she wants, or she can do what ever she needs. Since diabetes can often be silent in its destruction of life, it’s easy for her to think she has all the time in the world to put choice to words. She has a glucose meter and a bottle of pills, been feeling a little tired and thirsty, but other than that, it’s no big deal.
Asking CP about her postprandial readings, her eyes clouded over and she didn’t really say much. Turned out that she was given a booklet with her meter, but hadn’t really had a chance to read it. I wanted to tell her that it would be ok, that I remember the time when I was scared and clueless, but that I’m not scared anymore, but she’s a pig statue for goodness sake!
What I am trying to tell you is this: Being diagnosed with diabetes is scary. We want to just ignore it and hope that the pills will make it go away. Life is not all lollipops and unicorns. We’re grownups now and with that comes the responsibility to at least take care of ourselves. Whether or not we have children and grandchildren, we deserve to live our lives without the fear of complications of diabetes. While one can easily decide to take charge for the sake of others, we need to take charge for ourselves.
The first step to taking control and letting go of thinking we need that breakfast muffin is to eat by the meter. Go ahead, see for yourself, it’s easy, only requires 3 pricks for this exercise. Test your blood sugar. Eat your whatever it is you think you need, wait an hour and test your blood sugar. Wait another hour and test again. If you can’t last the hour after eating that muffin without eating, you may have a problem. If your blood sugar is over the recommended 1 hour post prandial and the 2 hour postprandial, you definitely have a problem with that what you must needs. It would pretty much be safe to say that the breakfast muffin or what ever it was is something that you do not need.
Embrace eating by your meter. Once you learn what foods have no spiky effects on your blood sugar, your doc notices that “hey, you’re doing something right”, and you end up losing a few pounds as a side effect, you will see that it was not all in vain.
A lot of times I see where people have gotten all worked up over their fasting glucose number. I agree, it is something to get worked up about, something to be concerned about when it is over 100 on a regular basis. I’ve also seen ads for this or that, concoctions, decoctions, what have you that claim to fix your dawn phenom. The thing is though, getting our postprandial readings in line is the first step in fixing the fasting problem.
Being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes is an overload in and of itself. I hope that you decide that you are worth the time and trouble to test your blood sugar before and after your meals. I hope that like me, you find that what we want isn’t always what we need. Diabetes is not the end of the world as we know it, it is a chance for us to have a do over so to say.