To Share Or Not Share; That Is The Question Of A Diabetic Healthcare Journey
Ever since last July, I have been on a healthy quest to get control of my glucose levels. My confession is that I am a type 2 diabetic and have been so since 1997. It ran in the family on my dad’s side, but it wasn’t until a few years before I was diagnosed that I knew it was a family history thing on my dad side. Had either of us known beforehand our eating habits might have changed much earlier.
It was because my dad’s revelation that we started to find out that many other people on his side of the family we’re diabetic. It’s strange to think about it when you hear it being discussed so often in today’s world, but the diagnosis of diabetes used to be very scary. It was scary to the point that people didn’t talk about it publicly, if at all, and even then only in hushed tones. It was considered a death sentence, and the only question was how it would manifest itself and how quickly.
At this point, people can live fairly normal lives with diabetes because medication has gotten better and ideas for how to exercise and eat healthier have become more refined. Every once in a while someone comes out with a new standard that seems a bit too aggressive and ridiculous for some of us who have been diagnosed for so long, but it is what it is.
So, at least since 2007, I have been open about my diabetes. I don’t wear it like a badge on my sleeve, but I talk about it because I feel that it’s a public service to share with others the types of things that can happen that are either out of your control or are based on some of the behavior you exhibit.
For instance, there’s not a lot of people who are told about depression related to diabetes when one’s numbers get too high. I’ve gone through this many times in the past, and it can be crushing until you figure it out.
Something else they don’t necessarily talking about are all of the areas that can be affected in your body when your numbers are too high. For me, it was my eyes that were affected that led me to find out I was diabetic, and later I started having aneurysms there.
Finally, there’s even less talk about the lows that one can have because of diabetes and how that affects you. This can happen when you start controlling your numbers too good, and you can feel dizzy and shaky and it can affect your ability to think straight.
Sure, some are going to say there’s a lot of literature out there and that might be true, but I can tell you that none of this was ever told to me when I was diagnosed. It’s only been over the years where I learned about these things, many by trial and error, that I finally started to learn more about its negative effects.
I share my tales and I share other things here and there. For instance, the biggest misconception people have about being diabetic is that there are foods you’re not supposed to eat. Trust me, you can eat anything you want to, but you have to be willing to do a few things.
One, you have to make sure you’re eating in moderation. That might mean measuring your food, or it might mean eating more healthy food that allows you to eat more because it’s lower in calories.
Two, you have to exercise and make sure you’re taking your medication on a regular basis. Diabetes cannot be cured except for those people who qualify for bariatric surgery and decide to go through with it. If they follow the strict regimen that’s been given to them after surgery, it seems that it does reverse all traces of diabetes. For the rest of us though, its irreversible so don’t fall for any ads that say they can cure it; they can’t.
I can’t say I write about it all that often, but I do talk about it every once in a while on my blogs. I mention different things that I do on Facebook, and I share information in my Diabetes Facebook support group. Facebook and Twitter are the ultimate places for sharing things that are going on in your life.
The thing you can’t control is how people will react to some of the things you say, and then you have to work on controlling your reaction to their reaction of what you decide to share.
This brings us to the question of the day, which is whether it’s better to share or not share. I have two opinions on that, which I’m going to explore.
First, sharing is definitely a much better thing to do than to keep everything in the dark and hide underneath the covers. As Dr. Phil says, you can’t fix what you won’t acknowledge. Diabetes is one of those diseases where, for most of us, we can at least work on it to keep it under control. We can also offer both positive news based on what we’ve done as well as cautionary tales for those who might not be doing what they should be doing.
Second, there might come a point where sharing things that you like, with everybody knowing you’re a diabetic or something else in your personal life, might be a bit too much. When I was traveling a lot for work I was going to different restaurants on almost a nightly basis. Whatever I ordered I would take a picture of, put it up on Instagram, and often share it on Facebook. I thought this was just having a bit of fun, showing people what different foods look like in different places, sometimes foods I was familiar with that look different because I was in a different place.
Instead, many people would comment and say things like “I thought you were diabetic”, “should you be eating that”, and other things like that. At a certain point I got tired of hearing those questions almost every time I posted something so I stopped posting those pictures. You remove the catalyst and it takes all the steam out of people. Sure, it also kills some of the enjoyment, but I did and still do enjoy taking the pictures and going to see them on Instagram, where nobody criticizes or comments on what I might be eating.
What you also find is that you’re never sure what people are going to comment on. A few days ago, I decided to add to my health quest by trying to reduce my caloric intake to try to lose some weight. Because I walk a lot (averaging between 17,000 – 20,000 steps a day), I drink a lot of water.
Sunday night I happen to mention that I had walked 17,000 steps, ate 1500 calories, and consumed 26 cup of water. I thought nothing of it, but a lot of people were shocked to see that I had drank that much water. First we have people who think you’re not drinking enough water, and then they start to freak when they think you’re drinking too much water.
I have to admit I didn’t see that one coming, but I drink when I’m thirsty and when I’m eating, and other than tracking it on my MyFitnessPal application, I don’t think much about it. Once again, I was sort of irked by the attention to something I thought was a throwaway comment. Yet, because so many people commented on it I went and did some research on it.
I found that scientists and physicians believe the maximum amount of water most people should consume in a day is between 14 to 17 cups. I have to admit I didn’t see that one coming, but in retrospect there’s 16 cups in a gallon, and a gallon of water every day is pretty high. Trust me, I easily drink more than that on a regular basis… now I have something to think about that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t said something to the crowd.
In closing, I’ll say that the answer to the question about sharing or not should depend on what your goals are, or your reason for doing it. If you’re doing it to show off, that’s not always a good idea. If you’re doing it because you want to help people, that’s always a good idea. If you’re doing it for your own motivation, I think that’s a good idea but it could come with consequences. I think I’ve also shown that you might learn something that could keep you out of danger.
We don’t always get comments like “way to go” or “I’m happy for you, keep pushing forward”. That’s just the nature of the beast; you can’t please everyone, and you can’t have your expectations of others being too high.
Those are my thoughts. What do you have to say?