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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Level of care, education

I have diabetes (type 1). On most days, I average 7-10 blood glucose checks per day. These moments may be annoying in that they interrupt whatever I'm doing, but they are so important because each one helps me make a small decision that will add up to my total health. For example: Today I wasn't sure about exactly how much insulin I should take for my lunch because it's the start of my cycle and the haywire hormones resulted in me eating a whole extra granola bar while driving, just to not drop low after a typical breakfast bolus. So I took too little insulin for lunch. And two and a half hours later I was 266. I corrected. I moved on. I will check again after I finish writing this post. (sounds pretty typical, right?)

Yesterday, I was talking to a friend of mine. She is from India studying for her bio Ph.D. in the US and doing research in neuroscience. Her father had diabetes (type 2). He died of a heart attack when he was 57 a few years back. I knew this before. This is what I did not know (before yesterday):

She said (synopsis):

My father and aunt were both overweight and had a hard time managing their type 2 diabetes. My dad had eye problems, renal problems, underwent several surgeries. All the complications were either caused by or exacerbated by his diabetes. I know that every time my aunt checked her blood sugar it was 300 or 350... 

Besides the emotions I felt listening to a type zero talk about her diabetic family members and how it affected her, I was mostly shocked by hearing that her aunt's numbers were "always over 300" (sidenote: both were insulin-using type 2 diabetics). So I had to ask: How often did they check their blood sugar? And she said: "Maybe about once a month."

Needless to say, my jaw dropped. I couldn't imagine not checking for that long and taking insulin (although there was a time in my life when I didn't check very often at all). It's not that these people did not care about their health. It's that they didn't understand all the details about having diabetes and how to treat it. They did not have access to the tools and education they needed.

This made me so sad. And shocked. And grateful for what I have: latest tools, education, access to information through my endo, etc. Most importantly, I am grateful for the 300 test strips per month my old plan covered, and even more grateful for the unlimited test strips covered by my current plan. That is so huge. This man did not have to die at 57. Hearing how his death affected my friend tugged at my heartstrings more than she will ever know. Because I have diabetes too - as well as a family.

I don't have much time to write, but I had to share this. In other news, all is well. I am trying really hard to keep a tight grip on my own D management, and although the efforts are accompanied by lots of failure, I am optimistic. My endo left the state and I will be meeting my new one in two months. I am determined to make a good impression with respect to my A1C. I would fail that goal for sure if I went in today. But I cannot look behind me, I am only now responsible for what lays ahead.

Much love,



  1. Hi, good post. Can I please just make a tiny pedantic point, but it's important to me :) Type 2s can be on insulin but they are not "insulin dependant". Type 1 used to be called insulin dependent diabetes but there was too much confusion because you can be using insulin without being insulin dependent. Even doctors get this wrong, type 1 is insulin dependent, type 2s, by definition, can't be insulin dependent.

    1. Thank you for reading and for pointing that out! I will update the post to reflect this :)