Living Life With Diabetes

By Dr. Hemi Soneja in Endocrinology & Diabetes

Nov 15 , 2021 | 4 min read

I am a lawyer, 35 year old, diagnosed with Diabetes at 19 years of age. Both my parents had Diabetes when they were young. I did not marry because I was worried about what laid ahead of me in life. I had been having uncontrolled sugars for almost 3 years now. I had a personal dietician who supervised my meals for years together now as I wanted to maintain my weight and maintain my health. But nothing seemed to help. I was scared of going to the doctor, I felt I was at fault! My aunt, who is a doctor, scolded me for having high sugars. I didn’t know what to do. I kept postponing my visit to the doctor. I was scared of insulin also.

I am 33 year old, IT professional, at a high pressure job in an IT firm. Life had been going on and I was prospering well professionally and personally. Then the pandemic happened and I got time for myself, thought of getting a health check done and found out my HbA1c was at 13%. I didn’t know how and where I had gone wrong? I knew I had to take charge of things but I was scared – scared of having a heart attack, having a stroke early in my life, I had a lot to do in my life. Will I be able to do that?

I am a 85 year old retired Railways officer, I live with my wife who is 78 years old. I have had type 2 Diabetes since I was 35 years old. Initially I used to be careless about my medicines and took it very lightly. Then at 55 years of age, I had a mild heart attack when my younger daughter was only 12 years old. That shook her and my family. Ever since that I have been regular with my medications, my daily walks, food. I do have to use insulin once a day but its just a part of the routine now. I walk 10,000 steps or more a day and even during the lockdown I ensured that I do that either in my house or on the terrace. A lot of my friends often ask me how is it to be a Diabetic? I say you can see me! I eat healthy, walk well, am active and enjoying my time after retirement with my wife. If it wasn’t for Diabetes, I don’t think I would have made it this far, so well.

I am 65 year old, well established business man, with a big loving family, I got diabetes when I was 50. Started with tablets, and then insulin – initially once a day and then it got to 5 times a day. My sugars kept on increasing, and so did my weight. Life was going on and I just thought I have to just live like that. I was hardly doing any exercises or much of physical activity for that matter. But then, 3 years ago, I came across a doctor who told me where I was wrong, I started to make small little changes every day. I started changing what I ate, I started walking everyday. Now I am only on 2 injections of insulin a day, I am 20 kg lighter, I walk 6-7 km everyday and I could not be happier! My son gets tired earlier than me.

These were a few life stories of real people that I shared here. There used to be a time when Diabetes was a “scary” problem as we did not know what lay ahead and with regards to medications also, we had limited choice and lot of people had to be initiated on insulin early on in life. Now decades later, we have a much bigger armamentarium of oral medications and certain other injections also with which we can manage Diabetes much better. Our understanding of Diabetes is better now. Just like everybody’s nature or temperament are different, so is their problem with Diabetes. What works for your friend, does not necessarily mean will work for you. Yes, one thing for sure is that taking care of your diet, exercise and equally important “monitoring” or “checking” your blood sugars helps you a long way in living your life well with Diabetes. Just like our food requirements change over a period of time, our medication requirement for Diabetes changes over a period of time. So important to take charge of your health, follow your doctors advise and don’t get too experimental with different things you might come across without talking to your doctor.

On this World Diabetes Day, here are a few things that I would suggest:

  1. Engage with a good dietician who understands you and devise a meal plan as per your requirements.
  2. Exercise regularly. If you have not been in a habit of exercising before, start small and gradually build up on that.
  3. Get into a habit of checking your sugars and making a note of that. That will help you keep a track of what works well and what does not.
  4. Talk to your doctor regarding getting vaccination for COVID, Influenza, pneumonia and hepatitis B if you have not already received these vaccinations.
  5. Get your yearly eye exam, whether you have any problems or not.
  6. Visit your diabetes doctor every 3 months.

Have a healthy happy year ahead!