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Another Good Thing About Having Diabetes
I read with interest Aimee Perrin's list of the "good" things about having diabetes in the August 2002 issue of Diabetes Health (p. 30).
My initial diagnosis of diabetes came with a smile. It was 1969 and I was 21, having just graduated from college. That was the year that the Vietnam War resulted in active draft status for all eligible males. Since I was losing my draft deferment because of finishing college and my birth date resulted in a soon-to-be-called number, there was no doubt I was Vietnam bound.
However, before my scheduled physical exam for the draft, my symptom of excessive, constant urination led me to my doctor's office. After a blood test, the doctor examined the results and asked if I was under any unusual stress. I indicated that the only stressful part of my life was the inevitable draft. He just smiled and said, "Well, I don't think you will have to worry about that any more."
Over the last 33 years, I've been able to keep good blood-glucose control and have remained free of any complications. I've grown to accept my diabetes as only a nuisance in my life. At times, when the "nuisance" becomes major, I think back to that first day of diagnosis and perhaps think of myself as one of the lucky ones.
West Hills, California
What's So Great About Having Diabetes?
We love Diabetes Health and have recommended it to many people. Our 12-year-old daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 4, and she manages the difficulties in her life with discipline and grace. But I also know her life is hard. Your magazine has always been a source of information and support.
However, both my daughter and I are upset by a trend in Diabetes Health typified by your recent article "Ten Good Things About Having Diabetes." We have several health issues in our family. I cannot imagine an article entitled "Ten Good Things About Having Asthma," AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis or any other health problem. Why do people with diabetes feel so obliged to present a happy face?
Last year there was an article on folks who have had diabetes for more than 50 years ("Wisdom of the Elders," July 2001, p. 31). The message seemed to be that a positive attitude may reduce complications. We were heartened to read about such longevity, but many factors, both genetic and environmental—some random—may have determined these fortunate outcomes. Doesn't this imply that people might be to blame for their own complications? If a good attitude is what counts, should we stop checking blood glucose so much and be happier?
These articles emphasizing a positive attitude—even gratitude—put an added burden on people suffering from diabetes. Don't get me wrong: we aren't whiners, we're realists. We prefer to think that a true positive attitude doesn't deny the hardships of this illness but accepts them. A positive attitude involves motivation to do the hard, hard work of tight control, as well as educating others in an effective way.
We have subscribed to Diabetes Health as an alternative to other publications because you have always managed to "tell it like it is." We have appreciated your activist bent. If having diabetes can bring "good things" to our lives, why should we expect funding for research? We think everyone living with diabetes should stand up and say out loud: This is a terrible disease, and we need a CURE.
Editor's note: Thanks for writing! Except for one issue per year that we give to the Diabetes Camping Association for distribution at children's diabetes camps, we do not consciously put a positive spin on diabetes. However, neither will we censor articles in our remaining issues that have positive themes. What we strive for is to present a variety of topics that are as diverse as the people who have diabetes. Please stay tuned for more editorial surprises.
Type 2 Article and Chart a Fine Source
My compliments to Stephen Setter, R. Keith Campbell and Cindy Onufer on the August 2002 article and chart for type 2s ("Oral Medication Options for Treating Type 2 Diabetes," p. 40). I thought it was excellent.
I was diagnosed two years ago at the age of 71 and have read many books and articles on this disease. This fine article and chart told me more completely what I have unsuccessfully tried to find from many sources in the past.
Bad Call on Carbolite BB
I cannot believe that you have an item in your Business Briefs section for Carbolite food ("Shake It Up, Baby," August 2002, p. 26). The claim on the can is for high-protein, low-carb dieters. Why on earth would you place this type of column in your magazine?
People who see this in your magazine are going to think it is okay to eat a high-protein, low-carb diet. It is not! People with diabetes need carbohydrate in their diets—just like everyone else. I am deeply disappointed in your decision to have this item in this magazine.
Mandi Rudd, RD, LD
Diabetes Care Center
Editor's note: One of Diabetes Health's policies is to let readers know what product choices are available. This does not imply advocating use of any product. Those choices are for each individual with diabetes to make in partnership with their diabetes care team. Many of us count carbohydrates to help control glucose levels. Low-carbohydrate milkshakes offer an alternative to high-carbohydrate milkshakes for occasional use, just as sugar-free beverages and artificial sweeteners offer an alternative to sugar consumption.
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.