Focusing on Type 2 Diabetes When Other Health Issues Are Urgent
Last updated: June 2023
Recently, I found out I have renal cell carcinoma. The diagnosis was a huge shock. I'd seen a doctor about leg pain and went for an MRI after fighting with my insurance for months. I then discovered I have degenerative disc disease, but more importantly, cancer. This was a lot to process all in a month. The problem for me is focusing on type 2 diabetes care when other health issues are at the forefront.
When self-care takes a backseat
I know that my diabetes self-care is important, but with bad news comes sadness and the feeling that many other things don't matter anymore. Or, at least that's how I feel. For example, if I get a craving for sweets that will spike my blood sugar, I fall into the trap of thinking, "Why should what I eat matter? I'm sick anyway." And that's not a helpful mindset to have. But how do I adjust my perspective?
Mental health contributes to physical health
Your mental health is a huge factor in your overall health. It makes sense that you feel things like sadness, depression, anger, and loneliness. Believe me; I've had them all and more. The American Cancer Society lists common feelings of people with cancer, including anxiety, distress, and depression. And all of this affects your blood sugar as well.1
Type 2 diabetes and surgery
If I'm sad or angry, I want to eat whatever I feel, whether it's fried foods, sweets, or overindulging. I can't do that while keeping my blood sugar regulated. With my upcoming surgery, I know that managing my blood sugar is essential to the success of the surgery.
Your oncologist or surgical team should be aware of your type 2 diabetes, as proper monitoring and extra care after surgery will be critical. Type 2 diabetes will affect aspects of your cancer treatment, so they must stay on top of your care. According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, about 10 percent of cancer patients also have diabetes.2
So, if I don't control my type 2 diabetes, it may very well affect my other healthcare needs.
Discuss your feelings with your doctor
Discussing your type 2 diabetes with your doctor and how you're feeling mentally and emotionally is important. For example, tell your doctor what is happening if you have difficulty staying on a diabetes-friendly nutrition plan. They may suggest what to do and how to keep your nutrition manageable and under control.
Stress can raise your blood sugar levels, as well. So be sure to mention that if you are dealing with added pressure, distress, or depression.
I know a lot is going on. I can totally relate. And while it's often hard to deal with, your mental health is vital to your healing. Make sure you take care of yourself and ask for help when needed. Let others support you and help you along the way.
Type 2 diabetes self-care should always be a priority, even though it can be challenging to manage with other urgent healthcare issues.
This or That
Which is harder for you to manage?
Do you find it difficult to "eat right" and stick to a nutrition plan?