I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about six years ago. I was at the doctor’s office because my thyroid was swollen, and he said my bloodwork showed very high sugar levels. My mother has diabetes, which started later on in her life, and doctors have said to me, “Well, either you, your sister, or your brother will have diabetes,” and I thought, “That will be me!” My sister’s is perfect, my brother’s is perfect, and of course I have it.

I went to a new doctor about three years ago and she changed my medicine entirely, because she wasn’t happy with my sugar levels and wanted to try something different. We tried one that made me feel really sick, but I’m on something different now that controls my sugar but doesn’t make me sick.

I test my blood sugar every day, once a day, usually in the morning before I take my medicine. I just had my A1C level tested and my doctor told me it was 6.1 — she said it’s perfect. I’m really happy about that because for so long my numbers weren’t where they were supposed to be. So I think the medication has really done it.

Besides taking medications, though, my life hasn’t changed that much. My diabetes is well managed and the medication pretty much takes care of it. Since my diagnosis, I’m not drinking sodas with sugar, you know, things like that, and not eating sweets. I look for sugar-free now, everything I get.

Sheila

My type 2 diabetes was diagnosed because I kept urinating. I couldn’t work; every five or ten minutes I was running to the restroom. I can’t say I was totally surprised because everyone on my dad’s side of the family has it – his mother, his siblings, and now me and my younger sister.

I knew that food habits had to change when I got diagnosed. My grandmother was a diabetic for 40 or 50 years, and she really took care of herself. When I would visit her in the summer she would teach me how to cook. She would say, “Fix my plate,” and she would hand me a cup, a drinking cup like a tea cup, and she would say “Put my peas in the cup. Don’t fill the cup up.” That’s how she measured her servings. And she was really good about it.


I test my blood sugar every morning. Some days I take it twice a day and I alternate from the lunch to the dinner time.

At the beginning of the year I lost 20 pounds. I don’t believe when people say, “If you lose weight, you can do without the medicine.” I know people who have lost weight — a lot of weight — and they still need medicine for their blood sugar. But I do know that taking care of yourself is important. I have been doing more physical activity, and I’d have to say I do feel good.

Sharon

I had a brother with diabetes, and I was aware of the symptoms. So when I started being thirsty all the time and waking up quite a few times in the night to go to the restroom, I thought that I better get tested. Sure enough, my doctor told me that I definitely had type 2 diabetes. And, of course, nobody wants to be a diabetic, but he pretty much told me that it’s controllable if you do what you need to do. Then he started me on medicines right away.

Some weeks are harder than other weeks. When I was first diagnosed, I thought, “Oh, there goes everything. I can’t eat this. I can’t eat that. I can’t have sweets.” That was the biggest thing. But I learned that I can have a sweet every now and then, just as long as I don’t go overboard.

I changed my activity level after I found out that I had diabetes. I love sweets and I wasn’t as active as I needed to be. I was taking medicine and changed my eating habits, and now I try to walk more. When I go shopping I park further out so that I have to walk in. When it’s feasible, I’ll take the steps instead of the elevator. So I have increased my exercise, but even at that sometimes I fall off. Right now, it’s down to twice a week, but I’m trying to do more again.

I hear about people who stop taking their diabetes medicine, but I wouldn’t do that. My blood sugars are good. I may have missed a day of medicine because maybe I forgot, but never two or three days because I just know that I feel good and I’m too afraid to go the other route. I don’t want to develop diabetic retinopathy or neuropathy or anything like that.

I hate that I have diabetes, but I’m awfully glad that I have something that treats it. I don’t think I’ll ever be a person who say, “Oh, I’m glad I have diabetes and I can work out all the time” — never that! But my future, I think, looks pretty good to me right now.

Troy

I had my doctor test me for diabetes every time I went for a checkup, because my mother and her father both had type 1 diabetes. Between my sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits, I thought I’d better keep an eye on my blood sugar.

One of those days he came in and said “Well, I think we better start treatment.” So I wasn’t really surprised. I figured it would come along eventually with my family history and my lifestyle. But I knew it was time to be more serious about dealing with it.

Not long ago, my new doctor gave me a really thorough physical and decided to increase the dose of the medicine I was taking, and she added a second medicine. She said the two together would help to control my blood sugar better, and it has.

I have not made a lot of changes to my diet, but I have cut down on sugars and I don’t eat desserts any more. Actually, my diet was never really that bad – there was just too much of it! So I have cut back on the portions, too I’d thought that giving up desserts would be a lot harder than it was. I discovered quickly that I didn’t miss it at all, but I miss rice a lot.

At first, my diagnosis didn’t change my exercise habits. I started to do more exercise a few years ago, when my doctor increased the dose of my medicine. She told me, “You need to start changing the way you live because at some point these medicines may not work for you and then we’re going to have to look at insulin injections.” It was kind of a surprise to me that I might be headed in that direction, because I didn’t think that could happen with type 2 diabetes. So I decided to start working out.

I think I’m living with diabetes very well. It’s not something that consumes my thoughts most of the time, because doesn’t really impact my life much. I just have to be sure and take my medicines. I think about exercise as something I do for my general health and to lose weight – something I’d do with or without diabetes. I know that losing weight will help my diabetes, too, but I didn’t go into it with a goal of improving my diabetes, really. I feel like as long as I’m in regular contact with my doctor to keep an eye on things, that I’m not going to let it rule me.

Lauren

I expected to get type 2 diabetes. When I had gestational diabetes during my pregnancy, my physician told me it’s not a matter of if, but when. I’ve heard about diabetes all my life because my grandmother and my aunt both died from diabetes-related issues.

One summer I was drinking a lot of sugary drinks. My vision started getting blurry, and I just knew. So I saw my doctor, and my blood sugar numbers were off the charts. So I cut out the sweet drinks and when I went on medication, my numbers came back down.

After my diagnosis, I started eating healthier. Not eating fast food as much. We always ate a lot of fast food, but now if we go out to eat, I make healthier choices.

I checked my blood sugar a lot when I was first diagnosed, but not as much now – maybe four times a week, just to make sure I’m on target. I do it mornings to get a fasting blood sugar level, and then sometimes to see how I react to a certain food or something, like, an hour after I eat.

I try to walk more places than usual or just get out and walk the dog – basically, just be more mobile instead of sedentary.

I’m hopeful that I can keep myself healthy and not have circulatory problems or other diabetes complications, but I know that have to be a part of it. My mom had a massive stroke nine years ago and was paralyzed on her left side. She had just been diagnosed two years before that with diabetes, and she stopped taking her medicine. So I could see what the future could hold for me if I don’t take care of myself.

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