The Good Enough Diabetic: Staying Healthy While Enjoying Life


The Good Enough Diabetic

A woman is checking her blood sugar levels

My A1c is 7.4, and I’m a good enough diabetic.

I’ve been diabetic since you had to purchase a bottle of strips and use one each morning as you pee. When glucose monitors came out, you had to plug them into an electrical outlet, and they were costly.

I have started and given up on a diabetic diet about fifty times. My finger pricks number in the millions.

This week I changed the insulin port (a hole in the stomach) and sensor (a hole in the arm), and I gave eight vials of blood at the lab (a hole in the other arm).

I’m skipping over the holes obtained during the ten years before my pump.

I Am Alive

If you can’t tell, I am annoyed with having to live this way. But I am alive, and my A1c is 7.4—yes, I’ve had complications, more holes poked in my eyes with needles from cysts and retinopathy.

I also have four straight screws in four of my fingers where the rheumatoid disease crumbled my finger joints.

You see, I didn’t present my symptoms until I had damage because the first line of treatment for RA used to be prednisone, and I knew from watching an old episode of E.R. that people with diabetes can’t take prednisone.

I had little to no family support because my parents were busy dealing with their diseases, the ones they passed to me through the miracle of genetics. I did not appreciate the ADA magazine and their “diabetic family of the year.”

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It served to remind me that I was on my own, in debt for school, uninsured, and very ill.

You may be thinking…

  • How did she manage with so much courage and grace?
  • What tricks did she use to raise a child single-handedly and earn a Ph.D.?
  • How could she manage to follow this up with a twenty-seven-year university teaching career?

There are several answers to those questions, but today I will present only one.

I’m a “good enough” diabetic. I cut corners. I ate lots of ice cream while seeking any legal source of endorphins I could find.

The “Good Enough” Diabetic Diet

Let me explain the diet I settled on about ten years ago because the principle behind it could help you design your diet. It is a simple idea.

For me, I had to be able to eat something I enjoyed, keep binge eating to a minimum, and quit the constant counting. I estimate for my pump’s sake, but I don’t eat numbers. I eat food.

The starch and sugar component I broke down as follows:

  • Pasta
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Sweets
  • Cereals
  • Legumes
  • Bread

Eating a healthy, fibrous cereal for a snack or breakfast lasts about three days for me and then I find myself eating Apple Jacks out of a mixing bowl. So I said no to cereal.

Keep The Sweets In Moderation

I eat sweets whenever I am eating away from home. A friend offers strawberry shortcake after dinner? Sure. A restaurant serves cobbler? Oh, yes!

How do I get away with this?

I do not have any sweets in my home. I quit baking. My pound of stock sugar has lasted me ten years. I never buy a box of cookies or donuts to “nibble” on at home. Even birthdays—if it is held at my house there is no cake.

This way, the only time I have sweets is in moderation, outside my home, a one-off deal. Then I provide insulin, and it’s over. I go back to eating my usual healthy way.

Next page: Additional nutritional tips for being a good enough diabetic.

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Belinda BrunerBelinda Bruner
Sep 14, 2017
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