Being diagnosed with diabetes can be a sudden traumatic event. Suddenly we are told we have a chronic life-long condition for which there is no cure and that we face a life of complications and early death. As someone diagnosed with Type 2 this can be particularly shocking as we are treated by the medical system in a really patronizing way with very mixed messages. We are told that not only did we cause our condition by being fat and lazy we are also given commands by our doctors to take our medication and do certain things with our lifestyle. Before being diagnosed with diabetes my interactions for the healthcare system was for acute care, a cut which was stitched up, an infection with a prescription of an antibiotic. I saw the doctor, trusted their competence. I was told what to do and then left and complied with their direction.
But diabetes doesn't work that way. I was given a pill, told to take it and that little pill would just fix me up and I would be fine. It was a slap upside the head when I realized I would never be fine and the doctor could do very little to help me be fine. It is terribly disheartening for any of us to go see the doctor, not achieve the results that they decide for us end up being labelled as non-compliant. We just didn’t do it right.
If there is one thing I have learned from my diabetes it is that the healthcare system has some fundamental flaws. It has things almost entirely backwards in critical areas. I am the patient, I am in charge and I decide my own destiny. I don’t accept the idea that my lifestyle gave me my diabetes, I got diabetes because I had a genetic predisposition to it and fundamental things about modern life are at a mismatch with my evolution adaptations. And the healthcare system is not infallible. The act like they are a religion with doctors and guidelines being high priests, but they get the most basic things wrong. They don’t understand the role of carb restriction in diet. They don’t understand the mental aspect of diabetes. And they just medicalize everything.
Being diagnosed with diabetes helped me understand I could not be a passive player in my health. As I’ve gotten older I’ve been plagued by a number of additional health issues and what I learned from having diabetes has really helped me take control of my health. I now research my conditions. I question my doctors. I take care to understand the harms that can happen with treatment. And I make sure that my doctors know that they are my adviser and I make the choices in my health destiny.