Friday, November 14, 2014

Not an Andy Kim Theme Song Day

It’s okay if you didn’t send flowers or a card; just as long as you also skipped the chocolates. Today is World Diabetes Day, so reach for your sweetened-with-corn-syrup soft drink and offer a toast to those whose research will, hopefully, sooner rather than later, result in a cure. “Act today to change tomorrow” as it says on their website-a good perspective for any number of concerns and issues, health and otherwise.

I have dim memories as a kid of Gramma Kenny and her “sugars” so I’m thinking that’s a contributing factor to how I came by my Type 2 diabetes (coupled with some of the most thoughtless decisions on self-care any one has ever made) and now wonder/worry not only about my siblings and what their futures hold (being first-born isn’t always the perk it’s advertised to be) but also about our two children. I’d have preferred they inherited my sincere smile (and my dancing bear) but genetics being what they are, the deck is loaded and not necessarily in their favor. 

I’m grateful to not be Bret Michaels who has had an hellacious time in recent weeks as a result of his Type 1 diabetes, not only because I look lousy with a headband (and I (still) have  a reasonable amount of hair which I’m thinking only one of us can say) but because the impact of Type 1 on your life sets you up for so many other problems far more critically and profoundly than Type 2 where there’s already a crowd of trouble gathered.

My doctors make frowny faces when we (mostly them, I just show up) prepare for surgery, these days  usually for out of warranty work, because any type of diabetes compounds and confounds the healing process and adds a degree of difficulty to the level of effort required to get and stay well.

In addition to kidney problems, and other organs like the liver and most especially the pancreas (where insulin is produced, or isn’t, hence the diabetes) along with near-crippling nerve pain in your extremities and failing vision, diabetes breaks down your muscle mass and leaves you more susceptible to a family of auto-immune diseases whose names (believe me) you do not want to ever need to learn.

Does it take more than a day to reform and reverse behavior? Speaking from experience, yeah it does but if change you must then change you can especially if the alternative is a premature demise. There’s a reason death and diabetes both begin with the fourth letter of our alphabet.

I’m not good for much else (okay, scaring birds off the front lawn) so I’ll be your cautionary tale until you look around and discover just how many diabetics, or those who are becoming one, you already know. Before I step off the soap box (I appreciate the rope but doubt that light fixture will hold my weight), I want to allow Dr. Eric Berg to have the last word. Just make sure it’s not yours.
-bill kenny  

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