Dancing, not fighting, with diabetes.

There are positives in having diabetes?  Are you serious? Being diagnosed with diabetes comes as a shock, and can be a frightening experience for many people. For me, it was the same and my initial reaction was one of fear and concern for the future.  10 years on and with all of my experience with the disease, I can honestly say I think that there are some positive aspects of living with diabetes. I’m not saying the positives outweigh the negatives – of course not – but they are things that I would never have known had I not been diagnosed a decade ago.  Not convinced? Ok, so here are the good things about diabetes:

Learning about good food!

Diabetes helps you to learn about food!

Awareness of nutrition If I had never had to understand what makes blood sugar rise and fall, I would never have learned so much about food and nutrition.   Diabetes forced me to understand about food and healthy eating.  Today I watch what I eat and understand for instance what carbohydrate does to your blood sugar compared with protein. I eat very healthily and I cannot be sure that would have been the case if I hadn’t had the disease. Perhaps I would have eaten more junk food, and eaten fewer vegetables.  For me, that’s a big positive.

Exercise and sport I take exercise seriously and ensure that I regularly run, play football and go to the gym. Having diabetes makes this crucial and I believe my overall health has benefitted as a result.

Diabetes – A great reason to get serious about sport

I now enjoy playing football with friends each week and its one of the most enjoyable parts of my life. I’m not sure I’d have had the discipline to get involved without the incentive of diabetes.

Medical check ups I see my specialist once every six months. Through this I have an awareness of amongst other things my blood pressure and cholesterol.  How many people without diabetes keep such a close eye on such things?

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Try not to see it as a fight

Not taking life for granted It was certainly true for me that diabetes made me think about life differently. Whilst it’s scary to be diagnosed, it is a disease that can be managed and most people can lead a normal happy life. Diabetes can be a wake-up call and show you just how precious life is; and if we do the right things, we can be sure to have many more years of it! What better incentive is there than that to treat your diabetes seriously.

I despair when I hear people talk about ‘fighting’ or ‘battling’ diabetes.  I believe that’s a far too negative way of looking at it and is sure to end in exhaustion. I try just to accept that I have the disease, am happy to be alive, and do the right things to be healthy.  I like to think of myself as dancing with diabetes, not trying to fight it every day.

So, there are positives in my opinion to having diabetes.  You can look at the disease in two different ways; you can feel condemned and despair about what is ahead, or you can take positive steps to improve your health and well being.  The choice is down to the individual, but I firmly believe that you can have a long and happy life with diabetes, if you so choose.