The Power to Choose

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Growing up in a small seaside town, there were 3 things that I knew for sure: (1) around September, hurricane season was a-coming; (2) financially, winter months were the toughest for an area that relied heavily upon tourism for revenue; and (3) somebody somewhere, either in your family or in your community family had “sugar” – diabetes. Personally, I didn’t have to look far to see the impact of diabetes, so it hits close to home, very close.

As a little girl, I remember my grandmother sending me to the pharmacy to pick up her prescription meds. Often times she’d stuff a 10 or 20 dollar bill in my hand and would say with a hush, “get ten dollars worth” or “get twenty dollars worth.” I honestly thought this was normal. It wasn’t until I was much older that I began to realize she was taking a deadly short cut to managing her diabetes. She wasn’t the only one, there were lots of people then and even now still that take short cuts in managing their healthcare. Seems to me that this shouldn’t be a buy versus suffer decision – and in many cases, it’s a matter of life and death. My grandmother later died of complications from diabetes and other health issues.

The strange thing is that it never occurred to me as a child to ask that proverbial question: “Why? Grandmother why do you have sugar?” I suppose then in my adolescence I began to accept abnormalities as normal. Because it was so commonplace for Type 2 diabetes to be in the community and in the family, I saw it as a part my life.

I think the issue is bigger than anything I could write about here. I could never do the topic justice but I do think part of the solution in addition to advocacy and control is access and acceptance: access to nutritious foods and information beyond the recycled content of a pamphlet and acceptance of a better way of consuming food to squash the notion that you’ll miss something by having a diet richer in natural foods.

I use to think that diabetes was a cruel inevitability, I don’t anymore.

So yes in September 2011 we can expect that hurricane season will be here, and yes, the locals will have to save their money to stave off the slump in the economy during winter months but I refuse to believe that diabetes is a way of life. We have the power to choose.

This entry was written with assumptions of type 2 diabetes. On the far right navigation bar you’ll see a SocialVibe block where I’ve chosen to support The American Diabetes Association on this blog. Please stop by and click on the banner to help me support this worthy cause, just a few minutes of your time will go a long way. Thanks.

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