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What to say to friends.....
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mulberry204 posted:
What do you say to friends who tell you that diabetes can be cured and they feel you do not need pills, pumps, injections, etc.? I've had diabetes for 7 years. My friends have never approached me before about my diabetes being "curable". They offer stories about people who have beaten diabetes by changing their diet. I feel like they need to be supportive of my struggles. What do I say in defense? Thanks.
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brunosbud responded:
A friend is someone you can confide in...Speak, directly...Be acknowledged...Understand their cares and concerns...Be accepting and tolerant of their beliefs and opinions...If you can't do that, what kind of "friend" are they?...

What kind of "friend" are you?
 
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nutrijoy responded:
I empathize with you and often encounter people who tell me, "you don't look like a diabetic." Really? What does a diabetic look like? Many (if not most) people, including far too many in the healthcare community, feel that "most" diabetics are Type 2. Moreover, they often follow the stereotype that the majority of Type 2 diabetics can reverse their disease via proper diet, weight loss, and other lifestyle changes. Of course, many of us with the disease know that this is an oversimplification and simply not true. Sadly, even some of the speakers in the current Reverse Diabetes Summit (that I have been following) erroneously make this assumption as well. Due to stereotyping, the classifications of Type 1 and Type 2 really needs a major overhaul and there has been an International attempt by various groups to effect a name change (IMHO, unlikely to succeed).

There are essentially two separate and distinct groups of diabetics (I would use the term "Types" except that the latter term has already been taken). In the first group are those of us who no longer have a sufficient number of properly functioning beta cells in our pancreas to meet our body's metabolic requirements irrespective of "cause" (too many health professionals focus too much on the latter). We're in the group that will be insulin-dependent for the rest of our lives. The other group of diabetics have sufficient beta cells to still secrete ample amounts of insulin but may lack Phase I insulin response, cannot use it properly (i.e., have insulin resistance in varying degrees), or have other dysfunctions that result in the common condition of elevated blood glucose levels.

What I would suggest that you tell your well-intentioned but perhaps ignorant friends/relatives is that you have "Stage 4 diabetes". "Stage 4" is a term used in other serious diseases to imply "very advanced." As applied to diabetes, it could simply mean "insulin-dependent for life." Of course, "Stage 5" would be reserved for terminal cases in which advanced complications are likely to culminate in the patient's extinction in the not-too-distant future. Since "Stages" are terms that have not yet been used to describe the various steps or stages in diabetes, it most likely will take your friends by surprise and they will be asking you questions instead of bombarding you with ill advice. In fact, I firmly believe that defining various stages in so-called Type 2 diabetes will contribute greatly to improved treatment, help prevent the development of complications, and save patients a whole lot of money in the process. For example, the term "pre diabetes" often creates a semi-dismissive attitude on many who are so diagnosed. "I'm not there yet;" "I still have time" are common views based on surveys I have read. If, instead of Pre Diabetes, it were to be called "Early Stage Diabetes" or "Stage 1 Diabetes," it would most likely have much greater psychological impact. It would also be more accurate because a pre diabetic person will most likely develop full blown diabetes in a matter of years (perhaps even months) if requisite changes are not made in diet, lifestyle, and if needed, medication. The nomenclature aspects of properly defining all aspects of this complex disease are too vast to cover in a forum post but perhaps this will provide members with food for thought.
 
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bigred53 replied to nutrijoy's response:
Wow nutrijoy! I love the way you think. You make so much sense. I'd probably classify myself as Stage 3. On meds but in pretty good control except for the occasional 'food freak out'. Losing weight is one of the best things I've done for myself. I'm still trying to 'cure' my relationship with food and I am getting better.

Thank you for your insight.

Michelle
 
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auriga1 responded:
Hear you so well. I get the same things. When I was diagnosed, I had no weight to lose. 123 lbs. on a 5'9" frame, female.

Have changed my diet. Have been very physically active. Why do I still need insulin? My body does not produce any, according to my doctor. It will be eight years in July since my diagnosis. My mother was the exact same way. I certainly would like to hear their suggestions on how I can "cure" my diabetes.

Why do you need to defend yourself? There is no black and white when it comes to diabetes or any chronic disease. Too many grey areas to think about. Everyone is so very different when it comes to diabetes. We all don't react to foods the same way or physical activity.

There is no such thing as having "beaten" diabetes. There is no such thing as diabetes being "cured." Once a diabetic, always a diabetic. Diabetes will go into remission with changing your diet and exercise/physical activity. Remission is quite different from "cure." Once a person goes back to how they ate before and is no longer physically active, their blood glucose will rise. Diabetes still exists within their bodies. Hence, not cured.

For most of us, it is a struggle. You have to change your lifestyle along with your mindset.

Just say thank you for the information. No need to say anything else. I do know how you feel. My own MIL plows into me about having a few bites of a dessert. "I see you cheating." She has no idea about counting carbohydrates and the physical activity that can keep your numbers from rising.

I have to laugh because I don't respond any longer to her barbs. I walk away quietly.
 
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mulberry204 replied to nutrijoy's response:
Thank you. This is so well written that I am going to copy it and save it to reread.
 
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mulberry204 replied to auriga1's response:
Great answers. Thanks all. One of my friends suggested I find a very specific diet that "works", such as eating 3 ounces of meat & 2 veggies and repeating the same meal every day and not straying. She drinks Ensure rather than eat 2 of her meals, and I think that is what she thinks will work for me. I feel my friends are angry with me for not beating diabetes. They don't appreciate the struggle. I try to appreciate other peoples' problems with drugs or alcohol but somehow these seem to be accepted as genuine problems whereas I am blamed for having the problem.
 
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flutetooter replied to mulberry204's response:
I am finding that friends and neighbors and acquaintances do not want to discuss health at all. Many in my age bracket have serious problems, some of which are caused or made worse by not following a good life style especially in eating and drinking. The last thing they want to hear is that I am a diabetic and I am rigorously avoiding breads, etc. I just stick a piece of string cheese or a hard bolded egging plus glucose tab - 4 gm in my purse when dining out with "the girls" (when they spend the first hour with drinks and breads) and order a small low carb meal. Many have husbands that have died, and they can't deal with somebody else's problems.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!
 
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mulberry204 replied to flutetooter's response:
You definitely are right. I live in a seniors' community and I am sick of listening to every ones' health problems. Believe me, we all have health problems. I was referring to close friends being harsh about my diabetes: blaming me for diabetes. I think you are right though, and I will try to keep my diabetes management to myself.


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