Issue 5 – What I’ve learned about Type 2 Diabetes

Lindy Andrews

What I’ve learned (so far)… about living with Type 2 Diabetes

Sometimes I can be a slow learner. Usually when it comes to my personal health. Most women seem to have life-changing epiphanies at 40, mine came at 50. Actually, 55.

It’s these milestone birthdays, that make us stand up and take notice. Often it is our health, or education or life experiences that has us waking in the middle of the night (frankly, it’s probably also the menopause, but that’s for another time) panicking about not having done what we have wanted to.

Well, for me, as I said, I can be a slow learner, and it didn’t come to me in the middle of the night. It came to me with multiple blows of health diagnoses and just as COVID hit.

First came the blurred vision, matched with constant headaches. Then lifelong, but managed, back pain began to rear its ugly head, sending me to hospital in an ambulance. Drawing on the ‘green whistle’, like it was oxygen I knew there was something wrong.

In the five years prior, I’d been drowning in chronic stress from back-to-back legal battles with unscrupulous corporate Goliaths, planning and then moving interstate, the added stress of zero income, and the pain and weirdness was unrelenting. But I continued to push it away, until that one ambo who took my blood glucose level – and asked if I was diabetic.

‘Not diagnosed’, I said, ‘but if you’re saying my blood sugar level is high, I’m not surprised’.

I was bitterly disappointed at the idea of having diabetes of course, but honestly not shocked. You see, having a family history of both T1 and T2 diabetes and having given birth to an almost 12-pound (5.4 kilogram) baby in 1995, I’d always known that I was a candidate. So, I’d tested every year since.  It took 25 years, but it did come.

But little did I understand about the complexity of the condition until it became my life. This coincided with several other conditions I was diagnosed with (to be shared later) so I suddenly became a complex patient. Even my GP didn’t quite know what to do with me, so I knew I had to own my own health journey if I was going to live an empowered life with it.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far….

I have learned that Doctors are diagnosing people as ‘pre-diabetic’, a term I hadn’t heard of let alone been warned about.  I am not blaming anyone but will say that had I known of this warning, I might have taken more care. Doesn’t matter for me now, but please heed it as a serious warning. Get your body moving and your diet in order. It’s not that tricky, reduce carbs and remove processed sugar. BUT also, it’s vital to reduce stress and pain as much as possible.

Stress has just as much impact on your blood glucose levels and combined with a poor diet they are dynamite!

In my opinion, here’s what to do if diagnosed with ‘pre-diabetes’

1. Exercise

We don’t need to take up marathon running. A lovely short walk around your neighbourhood is a great start and take long deep breaths as you do. The best time for walking is after dinner. It will help you digest and metabolise it.

2. Drop refined carbohydrates and sugars

I promise, it really isn’t that difficult to do. You can of course enjoy some, but if you plan on indulging a little, just do it during the day, so your body has time to process it.

3. Drink water – lots

Yes, I hear you – boring! I agree, it can become boring unless you freshen it up a bit. Add some fresh fruit. Lemons, apple, orange, lime, strawberries, cucumber, mint – all or each of these transform a jug of water. Or better yet, try our Lemon & Ginger Hemp Mineral Water. It is delish! No calories, full of goodness and tastes great – on its own or as a mixer!

4. Move a little more

Yep. Vacuum the house. Go for that after-dinner neighbourhood walk. You might even meet some nice people.

5. Lose Weight

I know, it ain’t easy. But it will change your life. Particularly as we get older. I’m still on this mission but I could probably hurry it up a bit.

6. Move again

Hang the washing out / bring it in.

7. Quit Smoking

Not easy but if you at least reduce the amount to one or two ciggies a day instead of a pack, you’ll start to realise you can live without them.

8. Watch Portion Sizes

How did we get to oversize portions? Fortunately, my food intake is much less now than it once was, but it was healthy.

9. Move a little more

I’m not one to mow lawns but I’m handy with a leaf blower and watering the garden. Both use some energy as well as are mindful practices. Get on it and get those blood glucose levels down and stabilised.

10. Test your BGL’s regularly

It will help you understand how you metabolise certain foods. What I eat will metabolise differently to someone else. The time of day you eat it will affect blood glucose levels. What you eat them with will affect your blood glucose levels.

Remember, you really can’t compare your diet to someone else’s. It’s your journey. Be sure to own it to achieve good health.