It Was No Surprise, But…

I’ve lived with the specter of diabetes my entire life. It’s the “family disease.” Type 1, Type 2…we’ve got it all. Skinny, fat, active, couch potato…it doesn’t seem to matter.

So when I suddenly realized that I was perpetually thirsty and inexplicably losing weight, I was pretty sure I knew what was happening, and a visit to my doctor verified it.

You know, you think you’re prepared for this kind of thing, but nothing really prepares you for the reality.

I’ve eaten an excellent diet for most of my adult life (whole-foods vegetarian, emphasis on whole grains and legumes), and never expected that this would make it harder rather than easier to reconcile my diet with my disease. I found myself paralyzed trying to make food choices. I once even burst into tears after paging through book after book of truly nasty-sounding “vegetarian recipes for diabetes” and shouting down to my husband “I can’t do this. The food I want to eat wants to kill me and the food they expect me to eat makes me want to kill myself.”

Even three years in, it’s a struggle. To be honest, it would be easier to go back to eating meat, but I keep hoping to avoid that if I can.

And then there’s the judgmentalism! Seeing a kid on a teen news show refer to Type 2 diabetes as “The kind you give yourself by not exercising and making poor food choices.” Hell…I probably eat better and exercise more than that ignorant puppy! Having non-diabetics asking me if I’m Type 1 or Type 2 and, upon learning I’m Type 2, saying something dismissive, such as “Oh, that’s not really diabetes,” or “you can cure that by eating better, you know.” Despite my generally good diet and fairly active lifestyle, sometimes I feel like a pariah.

I’m still coming to terms with the fact that this is my life, and will be for the rest of my life.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (3)
  • Margot moderator
    11 months ago

    Hi @audreynickel thank you so much for sharing your story with us. What a powerful post. “You know, you think you’re prepared for this kind of thing, but nothing really prepares you for the reality.” I know many in the community will relate to this.

    Trying to make these food choices and reconciliations really must be so frustrating after already eating well! Have you spoken with a dietitian or nutritionist about ways to work within a vegetarian diet for management?

    I’m so sorry that you’ve experienced the stigma of type 2 diabetes first-hand. It can be so challenging to cope with! Some of our advocates have written further about this that you may relate to here: https://type2diabetes.com/living/emotional-pain-diabetes/

    You may also like some of our recipes: https://type2diabetes.com/recipes/

    Thinking of you! Please do keep us updated.

    Best,
    Margot, Type2Diabetes.com Team Member

  • AudreyNickel author
    11 months ago

    Hi Margot. It’s funny that you should ask if I’ve talked to a nutritionist or dietitian, as those talks (and I’ve had many) are why I said “what they want me to eat makes me want to kill myself.” These people are notoriously bad at designing good diets for vegetarians (from what I’ve seen, they’re not all that good at designing palatable diets for anyone!) and, sadly, my experience since diagnosis has born that out. If I hear “try cottage cheese!” or “eat Siggi’s yogurt!” (which is as bitter as death) one more time, I swear I’m going to go postal! Frankly, a GOOD (as in “palatable”) vegetarian diet and diabetes really aren’t all that compatible. But what is a person to do?

    And then there are those who say “eat more whole grains” (I’ve eaten little else for the past 30 years) or “eat more legumes” (ditto). I’ve shown them how I eat, but they just can’t accept that I eat a high-fiber diet, exercise regularly, and still have high blood sugar.

    I also have textural issues with some foods, which causes problems. For example, I can’t eat eggs without bread…they simply won’t go down. AND I have IBS (yippee!), which causes digestive issues with a variety of foods…I can’t win for losing.

    And yes…I’ve looked at recipes on-line as well, including yours. I’ve finally given up, because it’s so depressing.

    I’ve pretty much decided that my only choice is to eat as I have been and live with the consequences. At the end of the day, quality of life is more important than quantity. It sucks, but we all have to go sometime, right?

  • Margot moderator
    11 months ago

    We hear you @audreynickel, I’m so sorry these are the responses you’ve gotten; it must be super frustrating to keep hearing the same suggestions that do not work for you and to be eating well and exercising and still have high blood sugar. I’m definitely the same way with textures so I totally understand that! Of course it is more complicated with the addition of type 2 diabetes, but you may find parts of our site https://irritablebowelsyndrome.net/ helpful as well. It sounds like you’ve really tried a lot and I can only imagine how that must feel. Please know that we are here for you any time you want to reach out or vent, or anything.

    Thinking of you,
    Margot, Type2Diabetes.com Team

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