Diabetes Self-Management Blog

When I agreed to write about diabetes once a week, I thought surely I’d run out of things to say in a short period of time. It hasn’t happened yet, although I was beginning to think this week that I would have to write about blowing up my stove.

Anyway, when I read the first couple of comments on the blog entry I wrote last week, I began thinking about Dick Clark. You know—host of American Bandstand, America’s oldest teenager, etc.

Here are some smatterings of what Dick Clark told Larry King during an interview on April 16, 2004:

“I have Type [2] diabetes, which isn’t earth-shaking news. But what got me shook up was that when I went in 10 or 11 years ago and they told me I had it, I didn’t think much about it: do a little exercise, watch my diet, take medication if necessary and all would be well.

“And about four or five months ago, they announced that two-thirds of the people with diabetes die of heart disease or stroke. Whoa! I better get serious about this thing.

“…I don’t talk about my health a lot. It doesn’t affect me at all.”

You can read the entire transcript (in which Clark also said he didn’t check his blood glucose) at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0404/16/lkl.00.html.

So from what I understand, Dick Clark had been diagnosed for “10 or 11 years” at that point and apparently was just beginning to take diabetes seriously.

Less than eight months after that interview, Dick Clark had a stroke.

I don’t know why he had a stroke. I don’t know what his HbA1c was, his cholesterol levels…nada. I don’t know if he had conscientious doctors. I don’t know if he’d had any diabetes education.

What I do know is that nobody I’ve ever talked to who has diabetes likes having it. That includes me. Sometimes in the middle of doing a diabetes chore I think, “I have to do this for the rest of my life?!” I don’t know that any of us enjoy taking care of our diabetes. Oh, we can certainly ignore diabetes, but the problem is that diabetes won’t be ignoring us. Mull this one over: Diabetes can affect absolutely every part of your body that has blood.

If your doctor catches the elevated blood glucose when you have prediabetes or are in the early stages of Type 2, say “thank you.”

Get educated. It’s going to take a while, but did any of us ever learn anything worth knowing overnight?

Education is particularly important. There’s an old adage that goes, “The only thing consistent about diabetes is its inconsistency.” If we try to control diabetes by rote, or by a set formula, it isn’t going to work; we need to know how things work and why we need to do certain things and how and where to make adjustments. We need to know how to reduce the risks of getting the conditions that diabetes can invite.

Such as heart disease and, as Dick Clark found out, stroke.

I’m not perfect. I don’t think anybody is. All any of us can do is the best we can. I do better at some times than at others. I’ve learned that I can’t change everything at once, but if I succeed at one thing, it motivates me to move on to something else. I tend to work on the easiest things first—I have a better chance of success in a shorter period of time so I don’t get bummed out and stamp my foot and cry and say, “I can’t do this!” and give up.

Denial is common. If you thought you were alone, think again. Join a support group—see if there’s one in your area or join an online group. Don’t be embarrassed to get professional help.

And, for the record, I really did blow up my stove. OK, it was more like I flambéed a burner. I put something on to fry and was walking out of the kitchen when I heard a loud, electric-sounding “ennhhh…ennhhh” and saw blue flashes out of my peripheral vision. (It was pretty, albeit a bit disconcerting considering it was happening in my kitchen.)

Turns out I should have cleaned the drip pan out before whatever spilled over into it caught fire and proceeded to travel to the wiring and start some pyrotechnics. So now I don’t have to clean the drip pans: I’m getting some shiny new ones on my new stove.

And if my husband thinks that the new stove he had to buy is my Chanukah present, he has another think coming.

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Comments
  1. JUST WANTED YOU TO KNOW I ENJOYED YOUR ARTICLE ON DICK CLARK. SAD TO THINK HE DID NOT TAKE CARE OF HIS DIABETES RIGHT AWAY AND HAS SUFFERED SOME OF THE CONSEQUENCES. I HAVE BEEN A DIABETIC TYPE 2 SINCE 1984. I EAT PROPERLY AND RIDE MY TREADMIL EVERY DAY FOR 35 MIN. AND I HAVE JUST GIVEN UP SOMETHING I THOUGHT I COULD NEVER DO. HAVE BEEN SMOKING FOR 62 YEARS AND I AM NOW FREE WITH NOT NARY A CIGARETTE IN A MONTH. FOUND IT VERY HARD TO DO BUT I DID ACCOMPLISH IT. LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR NEXT ARTICLE. BEST HOLIDAY WISHES TO YOU AND YOURS. LORRAINE SCHROM

    Posted by amyjo |
  2. thank you.there is no magic formula with diabetes,espescially the ones written by people who are not diabetic and have’nt got a clue,and followed by medical professionals who are not diabetic and have’nt got a clue because they don’t experience diabetes.

    Posted by diddy |
  3. I struggle and struggle and am no where near where I need to be. I ignore it for a while then get back on the wagon then ignore it again.

    I think my doctor dreads seeing me more than I do him.

    Posted by P |
  4. Is there something that says Diabetics crave sugar more than others? I sometimes feel like an alcoholic trying to stay away from alcohol. I do OK until someone brings a plate of cookies to work. I try, but can’t resist.

    I try adjusting the insulin, but I never get it right. I get Yo Yo readings on my monitor for a couple of days. Yo Yo readings always leave me exhausted.

    If there a Diabetics Anonomous where I can say “I’m a diabetic and I love oatmeal raisin cookies.”

    Posted by Gracie |
  5. Amyjo, you are awesome to have stopped smoking after 62 years! That just gave me the incentive to quit smoking myself. If you can do it after 62 year, I can do it after … well, less time than that, but still way too long. Wish me luck!

    P, I think sometimes my doctor cringes when he sees me coming, too. What’s probably most frustrating to him is that he know I know what to do. Sometimes I just get tired of doing it all the time.

    Gracie, maybe you and I can form the nucleus of the oatmeal raisin cookie addicts support group. Aren’t they good? And there’s a bakery here that has the best ever. I go infrequently and just get one. I, too, have problems with my blood glucose when I eat high-fat foods. Amy Campbell said she’ll be writing more about fats in her next blog. Maybe she’ll cover that or, if not, will jump in here to explain why. It’s my understanding that fat slows down carb absorption, so it seems it would have to do with timing.

    Posted by Jan Chait |
  6. After several months of floundering again through my diabetes plan, I can relate to “P” and the comments about getting back on the wagon. I’m successful in all other aspects of life but with my diabetes I have been on a year long crash. I think the Diabetes Anonymous idea is a winner. This is the first time I’ve read this web-site. I’m coming back for more insight.

    Posted by Val |
  7. I am sick of being sick. Anything I eat makes my sugar rise. If I go without food for a couple of days, it will finally come down. My insulin makes me itch, so it is constantly getting changed. I feel like I am going to be on a diet of styrofoam, before this is over. I am underweight, have been in acidosis 2x. They say I am a brittle diabetic. What the heck is that? I do have a great doctor though, he really tries to help.

    Posted by tink |

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