If I Can Quit, So Can You

Nadia (second fom right) and friends in the ‘70s

| Jun 1, 2009

As the article in this issue discusses, smoking and diabetes is a dangerous combination. Smoking is bad enough on its own. I am writing to you as a former smoker of eight years. I started smoking in France in the 1970’s in a Parisian café. I thought smoking Gauloises at the age of 15 made me sophisticated and in vogue. I imagined I looked stylish and mature like the adults I knew who smoked. Their smoking seemed to justify my habit. It never occurred to me that I was risking my health or that I was starting something that would take me years to quit.

Most smokers with or without diabetes will tell you, they don’t care about the effects of smoking. Smoking, like food, has its place in our daily rituals. We smoke in the morning with our coffee, we take a 15-minute work break and enjoy bonding with other smokers, we sip cocktails with an après-dinner cigarette. Quitting smoking is no easy task. The reality is that it takes many more times than you think it will to successfully quit. Studies show that it takes an average of nine attempts to quit before you succeed. When you have diabetes and smoke, statistically you increase the probability of having a serious complication. I don’t need to tell you that, of course. What I do want to impart to you, is that if you have diabetes and loved ones in your life, quit smoking for your loved ones.

The people you hold dear in your life are almost always far more worried about losing you to a smoking-related condition than you are. The important thing is to try to quit.  Play a game with yourself, if you are new to quitting: see how long you can quit for the first time. If you are one of those people whom it only takes once, I have to tip my hat to you. If you are more like the average person who tries to quit, you have just begun your first battle. As long as you keep trying to quit, you will eventually succeed. Think of the positive side effects—living longer.

Continuous glucose monitoring is often in the news. Managing Editor, Kristin Lund, lays out the facts about CGM in everyday language in this issue and discusses the three currently available devices available to consumers.

Another hot topic in this issue is sex and diabetes. Diabetes can affect your sex life. Honesty and courage to discuss your needs is what our new columnist David Spero, RN and Aisha Kassahoun write about. If you have specific questions you would like them to answer, send your question to love@diabeteshealth.com.

Last, but not least, our story on MSNBC host Chris Matthews coping with his diagnosis of type 2 diabetes demonstrates that it isn’t easy for any of us—even those of us on TV. Having type 2 is not just a matter of losing weight, it’s about changing your mindset and taking control of your health. It’s about connecting with the people around you and finding out how you can help each other.

Connecting is easy with Diabetes Health new presence on Facebook and Twitter. Along with our dynamic website and RSS feed, we are excited to offer you lots of ways to connect with us and with the diabetes community at large.

Happy Summer! 

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Categories: Columns, Community, Diabetes, Diabetes, Food, Making a Difference, Type 2 Issues


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Comments

Posted by Anonymous on 16 June 2009

I'll never forget my last cigarette. 2:20 PM, January 4, 2007. I put it out as I was getting out of my car to walk into the hospital. I had had bloodwork done that morning and had requested testing for diabetes. My doctor's office had called me and told me to go immediately to the emergency room, and two hours later I was in a hospital bed, having been diagnosed as Type 1.

I'll never go back to being a smoker. Believe me, I loved my smokes but I'd much rather be alive and have all my body parts. I feel a lot better than I used to, I smell better, I have a lot more money, and I don't feel like a slave to the cigarette.

I know that not every person would be able to do what I did and just give it up, but you will never regret it if you can do it.


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