YOU have diabetes. So what? It is not the end of the world.
Why Me!!!…. is the first thought that comes to your mind. Whilst it is true that it would be better if one does not have diabetes, the fact is that you do have it and you will have to live with it for the rest of your life! Presently, we do not have a "cure for diabetes, although intensive efforts are being made to find a cure ( see A Cure for Diabetes)
But that does not mean that you should be afraid of it!
You must always remember that diabetes makes a superb servant, but a malevolent master! Your aim must be to make diabetes "serve" you. You must use its presence to help you live a "normal and healthy" life. And this is truly possible! You must master diabetes. But if you become so afraid of diabetes, that everything you do hovers around how it will affect your diabetes, then it becomes your master. And diabetes can be a terrible master!
But to master something, you must understand it.
Knowledge is power! Knowledge makes you the master, and diabetes your slave!
When talking to so many people with diabetes, one comes across some recurring fears.
The major fear is that once a person has diabetes, its treatment is so demanding that one will have to completely change one's lifestyle and eating habits. All the "goodies" one loved with now become "no, no's!" Life will now be drill-master's regime of fixed timings for dull, routine and fixed meals and medications. The Do's and Dont's of diabetes will be the new mantra. Life will revolve around diabetes. Spontaneity will be a thing of the past, and variety, something which they once knew!
This is utter nonsense.
One does not like to use such strong words, but in this aspect, they are justified. This fear is based on nothing but fallacies, lack of knowledge and "neighbour's or Nanima's" tales. It has no modern scientific basis. Let us make one thing clear. With minor adjustments, which in any case may be good for every person irrespective of whether they have diabetes or not, most people with diabetes can continue to go ahead with their "normal" lifestyles based on their likes and dislikes.
Diet need not be dull and dreary. Today, we know that with a few minor restrictions, the best diet for a person with diabetes person is our traditional Indian diet. Therefore you will be able to continue eating most of the foods which you like and your diet can be as interesting, varied and tasty as before!
The other most common fear is that of the dreaded complications of diabetes. Every person you meet will tell you horror stories about someone they know with diabetes who went blind, lost a limbs, ended up with kidney failure or suffered from a heart attack or paralysis at a very early stage. And all this due to diabetes! What these so called "messengers of doom" do not tell you is that they also know hundreds of people with diabetes who do not get complications of such severity.
It is true that diabetes affects many organs in the body. It is the leading cause of blindness in the world. In India, it ranks after road accidents as the leading cause of foot and limb amputations. It does tend to lead to kidney failure and predisoposes a person to heart problems and paralytic strokes.
One should not deny facts.
But let us put things in perspective.
You have diabetes, but you are not alone. India itself is home to more than 50 million diabetics and the number is increasing manifold, day by day. So you have lots of company. If around 50 million people in India have diabetes and around one in ten of those staying in urban areas are also people with diabetes, why is it that you do not see so many blind people and people with limbs which have been amputated due to diabetes. Have you ever thought of this?
Moreover, not everyone with diabetes will get these complications in their severe and terminal state. The important point to remember is that we know today that if you manage your diabetes well from the first, you can either prevent the complications, or at least delay their onset. And the good part does not end here! If the onset of complications can be diagnosed at an early stage, and this is quite often simple, some basic treatment measures can, if not revert things back to normal, at least slow down the rate of progression of the complications so that they never reach a severe or terminal stage.
In fact you should consider yourself lucky that you already know you are a diabetic. And you are in a position to get yourself treated. The saddest patients we see are those who present with near blindness or renal failure and never know that they had diabetes, or if they did know, they had ignored it out of fear!
Take care of your diabetes. The treatment of diabetes is not a demon that you should be afraid of it. Modern and correct management allows you lead your normal lifestyle and dietary habits. It will lead to a minimum disruption of your daily life.
You must be in control of your diabetes. Make it your servant! And this can only come from knowing about the illness and what one should do.
Remember, Master diabetes, do not let it master you!