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It's Okay to Change Your Mind

As I was laid up in the hospital, talking to the cardiologist, neurologist, and hospitalist, I had to think deeply about my prior decision to refuse insulin - if it came to that. Sometimes, as an adult with chronic conditions, you have to re-evaluate your prior decisions and do what is best for your health.

Starting insulin with type 2 diabetes

If you haven’t read before, I have taken a pretty strong stance on refusing insulin unless all other options have been exhausted, and even then I wasn’t sure if it was the right decision to start insulin if needed. Unfortunately, I had an incident that caused me to rethink my position on insulin.

My stroke experience

I haven’t been the most compliant diabetic. I would eat a fair amount of junk food mixed with healthy meals thinking this would all balance out in the end. My A1C went up a significant amount in three months, which isn’t the worst thing that happened in the past month. At the end of last month, I had a stroke. Thankfully, with the quick recognition and reaction by my wife and son, I was taken to the hospital and they were able to give me medication to bust the clot in my brain, and all deficits I was experiencing resolved.

Initially, I had trouble speaking and my left side was almost completely paralyzed when I got to the hospital. This could have easily meant the end of being able to work and being dependent on others for care for the rest of my life.

Did diabetes cause my stroke?

My cardiologist and neurologist did not know exactly where the clot came from, but my cardiologist took an educated guess and said it probably formed in my heart. This doesn’t mean that diabetes didn’t play a part in this. I am a fairly new diabetic and it probably wasn’t because of diabetes. However, this is a wake-up call that no matter your age, health, or duration of a disease, the side effects of the disease are real.

My insulin concerns

During my stay in the world's most expensive hotel, I heard multiple times about my poor diabetes management and was placed on insulin while in the hospital, and placed on an aggressive sliding scale.

Low blood sugar

Insulin, first off, makes me nervous. I had never had insulin before and was afraid of bottoming out my blood sugar. My blood sugar never dropped to a dangerous level, and my first anxiety about taking insulin vanished.

Becoming lazy and dependent

My second issue with taking insulin is that it could make me lazy in compliance because I will have a medication that should fix my poor eating. This is also not the case. If anything, it has motivated me to keep my sugar under control. So far, since leaving the hospital, I have been taking my blood sugar fairly regularly, and have yet to register a number over 120. Most of the time it is under 100 before eating. My body is pretty telling of my diet. Even fasting, when eating terribly, my sugar was always pretty high for me, like 160-200. Now my fasting is generally below 100 and my carb intake has been cut drastically. No more junk food or carb-heavy foods.

Weight gain

My final fear of insulin is gaining weight because of it. I can avoid this by staying off insulin, which is motivation to eat better, and even if I need insulin, it has to be better than having another stroke or losing a limb.

Don’t let yourself get to where you have effects that you can’t reverse because of fears that are less severe. Use my experience as motivation to reevaluate your position on treatment and how it affects your loved ones. I almost ruined their lives over poor, selfish decisions.

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