Isn't diabeties really a good thing?

I think so, for a number of reasons. The first being I will live longer and have a relatively healthy life because being a T1 forces me to eat, excerise, not smoke or drink and eat reasonably.

Sure you could say that is not having fun; that I am missing out on a lot of good stuff like being drunk, smelling like an ash tray, and having a belly that falls over my belt so I can't actually see when I gotta go!

Add to this seeing my work buddies stone cold drunk in Las Vegas in a business trip, so I become the DD, watch and smell them smoke cigars and actually say that they like it....and then the icing on the cake....getting them dried off because they could not see it when they had to go!

Since I have been a diabetic, now for more than 23 years, I am in better shape both weight and actual body shape than when I was in my 20's and 30's. I am 53 and will be 54 shortly. I can run with the youngsters, I can stationary cycle with the instructors that run the classes at the YMCA, and I have run a 6.4 A1C for more than 10 years.

Funny thing about an A1C, you will always find someone better and someone worse than you. This just happened last week while at the YMCA. I met a fella that is a 10 year T1 and he swims a mile per day, bikes 10 to 15 miles per day and weight lifts. And yes he looked the part. I asked what he ran as an A1C and he said 5.4. He also said he eats what he wants and only see the Endo 2 times per year. He is on a pump with Novalin.

Now being the competitive guy that I am....I am going to get a 5.2 A1C to see if I can and how it feels.

Anyone want to join in ???


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A columnist at dLife has a list of the good things about having diabetes:
I have to agree with Joe. For me, Diabetes has been a good thing. I was diagnosed with melanoma 7 years ago. I was lucky enough to catch it early and am now cancer free. Cancer is a wake up call and I tried to change my life style to eat a mre healthy diet, exercise daily etc. But over the years I had slipped back into less healthy patterns. The diabetes dignosis has motivated me to live a very healthy life. I get up at 5.30 every morning and take a long walk with my dogs and my husband and am much more relaxed when I get to work. I eat mostly raw foods, following a diet which not only keeps my BG nrmal but is known to help prevent cancer and other diseases. My last A1C was 5.6 and this is not because of lows. I aim to stay between 80 and 110 at all times and with insulin, healthy low carb food and lots of exercise, I am staying in that range even after meals. I believe that diabetes may be saving my life, because the lifestyle I am choosing is such a healthy one. I need less sleep and feel full of energy when I keep my BG normal. I do think it is easier for me than for many, because I still have some insulin and don't get any unexpected ups or downs. That might change at some point. I have a friend with late stage cancer and I feel grateful that I can have a direct impact on my disease in a way that she cannot.
For me I would have to say it's not a good thing at all. Two years before diagnosis I had already dieted like crazy and lost a ton of weight. I worked out daily at the gym and was very active. I had also quit smoking and really started to take care of my health. I was doing everything right and felt great. A couple of years later, still feeling/looking better than I had for 10 years, I suddenly got leg cramps and blurry vision. Two months later I was in the ER with type 1. I find it much more frustrating and more difficult to take care of myself as a diabetic than before. I was already doing everything to take care of myself, dangit! The last thing I needed was this. Everytime I have to eat sugar for a low and wreck my diet, I curse this damn condition, really. I used to forget to eat and then go for an all afternoon hike in the Cascades. Now everything has to be planned and basal rates reduced and sugar stuffed into the pockets just in case, blah blah. Sorry I'm bitching so much, lol, but it's how I feel about it all. I was doing much better before diabetes.

It amazes me when people have a1c's that low (5.2, 5.4). I read on one lab site that a1c's aren't as perfect as we like to think and can vary naturally even if two people had the exact same sugars. I'm thinking that's true. I know some people that try and try and can't get under 7 and I've always been under 7, even when I laxed up for a couple of months and ate cake and ran high. Also, the researchers that ran a type 1 study I was in said that only about 50% of us ever drop to undetectable c-peptide and they've seen long-term type 1's who can still make enough insulin to get a 3.5 stimulated c-peptide level (higher than mine was at 1 year). That's got to make a huge difference on control, too. However, back when I was in the honeymoon phase I was working out and eating virtually no carbs at all. I had lows a lot (Lantus, ugh) without rebounds and very very rarely anything approaching 170 as a momentary peak. I literally never ate ice cream or even cereal or potatoes. Plain yogurt, salad and chicken. And still... still!.... I never had an a1c lower than 6.0. Since, on the pump I've gotten it as low as 6.3 (US lab/ 6.5 German lab), but I've also never had one over 6.9. Anymore I just figure that if I keep getting regular exercise, trying to get the weight off (which is also harder as a diabetic on insulin) and can stay at 6.5 or so, I'll be happy. Lower numbers for other folks don't make me feel competitive, lol, but I suppose that works great for others. I just want to know I'm doing as good as my body will go along with and staying low enough that complications probably will not happen.
Such an interesting question.

I do not think that diabetes is a good thing. I wish it on no one. It can have devastating outcomes even with the most diligent of care. It creates all sorts of challenges you must work through from day to day.

Having said that, I would hope there are ways to make something good come out of it. I try to use it as a tool to motivate myself towards overall better health. Before diabetes my health was actually really good, but now I pay extra special attention. Maybe that can set an example for others as well.

I would hope it could be used as a learning tool for those with or without the disease. That maybe it can foster empathy and compassion between people. Hopefully, it can also make people appreciate the delicacy of life and thereby not take anything for granted.
I can't tell you how much I loved your insight. I am recently diagnosed T1 (at 35) and I was shocked. I've been living a healthy life, go to the gym 3-4 times a week watched what I ate, thin etc. Didn't see diabetes coming. Routine physical showed fasting numbers of 240 and 311. SInce my diagnosis (june) I've taken my lifestyle that I had trying to be healthier than I once had been and kicked into even higher gear. Excercise is no longer an optional vanity issue. It's a must. No more smoking, at all. I already had watched my carbs but now I really restrict my carbs to less than 60 a day. I hate reading the negative things that insinuate that with T1 it's a lost cause and excercise is a nice thought but it won't make much difference. Unlike T2s who are told excercise and diet is everything to managing (and/or reversing) their condition. I watch my number meticulously, my first A1C was 5.8. Down from 11.7 (from when I didn't even know I was diabetic). If you keep your numbers real tight and watch what you eat and excercise and take good care of yourself why can't you not only live a healthy life but like you said even HEALTHIER because you keep everything in check? Good job man, nice to hear positive things.
While I can't say that diabetes itself is a good thing, I certainly agree that for a handful of us that take it by the horns, it has improved quality of life and day to day health.

Having a stuffed pancreas doesn't make me sick - and it doesn't necessarily take years off my life either, regardless of what a few studies say (remember studies like these are working on old information and working with a wide group of people, including heaps that get a1cs at ridiculous levels and do nothing to look after themselves). It does make me more aware of what I eat, happier to exercise (because I SEE the results more than most people would) and generally more thankful for what I have. So in that respect, diabetes is brilliant and has possibly given me a better life.

Not to mention that I've met wonderful people in online communities like this one!

I'll always be annoyed that I can't go a day without injecting & testing - but I can handle that. D is a bummer, not a death sentence. It's a life lesson, and if we chose to learn from it we can do well... in my humble opinion :)

I'd love to join you in your mission for a1cs in the 5s! I used to get a1cs around 7ish or high 6s, then I learnt a lot about carbs and started moderating my diet a little more and was easily able to get a1cs in the low 6s. Any day now I'll get my act into gear and get serious about keeping a lower baseline and avoiding the munchies... then I think I'll sit pretty in the high 5s. Maybe...

So I'll take this challenge - although I'm definitely too far away to fly around Florida!
My last A1C was 5.7, but I beg to differ with your assessment that diabetes has any benefit. You may live more healthily, but the reality is that you are not more healthy, you are still living with a chronic disease that has been shown to shorten the average lifespan by 10-15 years regardless of glycemic control. Not to mention the fact that the treatment stinks and you never get a break from it. Plus, I live in constant fear of hypoglycemia, mainly because I no longer feel lows (I have not felt them for about 25 years, and easing up on control did not restore the symptoms). While I have no complications from the disease itself (hypoglycemia unawareness is a complication of diabetes treatment, not the disease itself), this has come at a huge cost. Diabetes is a serious drain on our wallets, even with insurance, and my co-pays for all the testing supplies, needles, insulin and the like is higher than if I did not have any of that, and I don't enjoy going to see an endocrinologist quarterly, or having to see an ophthalmologist annually just because I was lucky enough to have spent a majority of my life (31 out of my 38 years) living with this condition. I cannot live as spontaneously as others, and I also feel like my ability to work as an independent contractor is limited because I need healthcare insurance, whereas others have flexibility to work in a more flexible arrangement that would only be available at a huge cost. While I've met some great people because of this disease, I would prefer to have met under different conditions! Sorry, diabetes is not a benefit, its a curse!
Good Linsay Gotta go along with you on that one!
Exactly! How anyone can see diabetes as a benefit is beyond me!
Actually, since being diagnosed as a diabetic I have started to drink a lot more. (Calories without carbs are very valuable to me now.) Not to excess - oh, certainly not to excess - but compared to being a teetotaler before it's quite a change. I'm not sure that I like alcohol, or will keep it, but for now liquor has become a small part of my life.

I don't consider diabetes a 'good thing'. I am very grateful I was diagnosed because there was funky stuff going on in my teens, let alone the five or so years of misery and blackouts which happened pre-diagnosis. I am happy that I know what is wrong with me now; I am not thrilled that what is wrong with me is diabetes. Before diagnosis I was a vegetarian; after diagnosis I am struggling to become a low-carb vegetarian. Diabetes had no impact on my refusal to smoke or be around smokers. It does not make me want to exercise more. It does not make me a better person. Sometimes it makes a convenient excuse to do the 'right' thing, but that does not make it any less of a burden. In fact, it can influence me to become a very grumpy and abusive person to the people I care about if my sugars are out of whack. Ketoacidosis nearly killed me, and I have a large hot water burn scar on my stomach as a souvenir. Let's not even get into the medical bills...

I am the sort of person who needs a challenge to keep me sharp, and now I have a permanent one. Great. The rest of it? Sucks. I had a pretty healthy lifestyle already -- except for eating lots of carbs (beans, brown rice, bulgar wheat, squash and peas, etc), and I still don't consider that a bad thing for someone with a normal insulin response. Diabetes is not helping me be more healthy, it's just compounding my already overwhelming anal-retentive OCD tendencies.




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