So Jerry looked back at his doctor, feeling guilty and that it was all his fault he was here in the first place. If only he’d eaten less and done more exercise.
The doctor put Jerry on some medication. Slowly, Jerry came to accept the morning ritual of taking his pills and, because his doctor told him his test results were fine, he assumed that was the truth.
After all, he still felt fine. Well, maybe he had less energy than before, but he put that down to getting a little older.
And maybe that’s why getting started in the morning is harder too. Jerry sometimes has to wriggle to get himself moving before trying to get out of bed.
The hardest part about type 2 for Jerry were the looks people gave him.
He was embarrassed to tell people he had type 2. They looked at him. Then they looked at his waistline. And Jerry could hear them saying to themselves, “Well that’s no surprise, is it?”
They were always polite, of course, but you could feel the judgement. They had no idea.
Jerry tried following the advice from his dietitian exactly, even though he always felt hungry. And that only made him feel more guilty.
But what really worried him was his upcoming A1c test. The last one had been higher than usual, and the doctor had paused, thinking to himself, as he made a decision in his head. Jerry could see him do it. “OK, I think we’ll need to see what the next test says. Stick to the diet plan. I’ll see you in three months” as he ushered Jerry out.
Inside, Jerry raged at the injustice of it all. He WAS sticking to the diet plan. It made no difference and was full of patronising “You can do this” comments.
Jerry would do anything he was told to do to fix this, but the information he’d found was a minefield. It contradicted itself. Nothing was clear. Jerry felt hopeless, guilty and frustrated.
He was dreading his next test, just a few weeks away. It was the big one, where they’d test his feet and his eyes.
He hated being treated like a child but he knew diabetes was a “progressive disease” so all he could do was wait, caught in an invisible trap.
Jerry didn’t feel out of control, but he knew he definitely was not in control. He was STUCK on a conveyor belt and it was impossible to step off.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Let’s move onto the second type of diabetic, Andy.
Andy was also brought up to do as he was told and not to be “a bother”. But his father had died from a heart attack a few months after his foot was amputated from his type 2 complications.
The trauma had nearly ripped the family apart and Andy was determined to not follow the same path as his father. He couldn’t put his wife through that. He also wanted to be a great role model for his children and grandchildren so he pushed back just a little harder than he was comfortable with.
His doctor was friendly enough, but any questions were met with a brick wall. “It’s a lifestyle disease. I can prescribe you the pills, but I can’t help you change your lifestyle.”
And that was it.
The doctor only had time to prescribe, not enough time to help.
His nurse wasn’t much better. She handed him leaflets and wished him “Good luck.”
The last hope was his dietitian. When his appointment came around, she handed him a diet sheet.
Andy looked at it in disbelief. He knew he needed to avoid sugar in his diet, but why was his dietitian telling him to eat carbohydrates at every meal?
Andy had been a science teacher.
He taught his students photosynthesis and to help them understand, he used Lego bricks.
One Lego brick was glucose. Pretty much the same thing you put in a hot drink.
Two Lego bricks was maltose. It always made him think of sticky malt-loaf!
Three or more Lego bricks was starch, the same as you find in a potato.
Andy was transported back in the classroom. “Settle down students… What is a key property of a carbohydrate?”
“Easily broken down, Sir. It allows for easily accessible energy” as they pulled the Lego bricks apart to illustrate the point.
Andy knew that all carbohydrates are broken down into sugar in our bodies.
If a 12 year old boy could understand this, how could a qualified dietitian tell him NOT to eat sugar, but to eat LOTS of carbohydrates that his body would, in some cases INSTANTLY, turn into sugar?
Andy looked at the dietitian and was going to ask, “Why?” but he knew it was no good.
He had to do is own research.
As he did his research, Andy didn’t know which was worse. That doctors receive less than 25 hours of nutritional training as medical students and virtually none after that, meaning they had no information about any nutritional diseases, let alone type 2.
Or was it worse that dietitians, who specialise in nutrition, have been in bed with “Big Food” for decades.
That's a picture taken from a symposium for dietitians. I'm not joking.
Why is it the professionals who should be helping him either didn’t have the information or were told what to say by companies who push the “sugar is healthy” lies?
Andy felt betrayed.
As he lay awake in bed, he felt the anger grow inside of him...