The Angry Type 2 Diabetic: August 2017

Saturday, August 12, 2017

TV Commercials. The Ways we Judge...

Lately I've been watching television a lot more than usual. I know I should turn off the CNN, but I just can't help it. The problem with watching TV is not the shows, or the news, it's the damn commercials. The insecurities, nonsense, or even disrespect which we are constantly fed.

Particularly, CNN has a few kinds of TV commercials which run over and over again, with little to no variety. Commercials for medications, for weight loss, for insurance, etc. And I resent every one of them.

I just HATE the underlining messages these commercials have -- or at the very least, the underlying assumptions, or inferences.

For one, I don't believe in diets. I believe in making choices which result in more balanced meals, and moving more -- and making baby steps toward loving new, and healthier things. I believe in eating with awareness of our hunger signals. These things are complex decisions we make, which result in lifelong changes. They feed the ACTUAL caloric needs of our body in response to our daily, and fluctuating, activity levels. Diets -- artificial ways of controlling caloric input -- do not. They make us feel deprived and unhappy that we cannot have our favorite foods, and then we give up and fail.

I also believe in LOVING my body where it is. Accepting myself. I believe that I can only love and accept change when I love and respect myself. We didn't overeat and gain weight because we're out of control slobs. We ate as a way to LOVE ourselves. To soothe ourselves, to entertain ourselves... To show ourselves happiness. But when we understand why we were doing that, we are free to move on.

During my last abusive relationship, I fed myself to an enormous excess -- but it was my escape. I wanted to be GONE from where I was, and have a bit of happiness every day. Once I started associating overeating, and eating nutritionally deficient foods, with abuse and self neglect... I let go of the constant desire to have them. I was NOT finding happiness in them, just grief. Some of those foods I will NEVER have again -- some others, I will only have on occasion, with friends or during celebrations... Where they belong. Not as every day, meals.

And so when I see a NutriSystem commercial telling me 'there's nothing to love about love handles, so just lose 'em!' I resent that. I resent it A LOT. I love my body, with its curves, and bulges, its love handles. Its softness, and feel. I especially LOVE the most the parts that I had learned to hate the most. Those are the parts of my body that need my unconditional love the most. My body has been there for me for a long time, and it's time for me to be there for it.

Of course, I also hate their diabetes medication commercials. I wish these people would consult people with diabetes when they make these commercials, because, damn!

What I get from TV medication commercials is that people with OTHER illnesses deserve understanding for the sacrifices of managing their condition, but not people with diabetes. So, if I were to have psoriasis, the Humira commercial tells me that 'It's not easy... it's a long distance run and you have the determination to keep going.' Awesome! I feel very happy for people with Psoriasis that they now have more options, and understanding folks to back them up.

But the Glucerna shake TV commercial tells me that managing blood sugar is not a marathon, that it's a series of smart choices. Uhum. Yeah. So, if you have high blood sugar, it's your own damn fault, you hear? Go make smart choices!

And I DO make better choices, Glucerna. For example, I choose to drink Muscle Milk instead, which has 9 carbohydrates per serving instead of you know, 23... like you. Because I have diabetes. And if I want to have something to replace a meal, I am also going to choose Muscle Milk. Because 210 calories is better than 180. Sorry, but not sorry. How about if you want me to consider you, YOU make better choices? Even a Power Crunch bar, sold at Walmart, is a better choice! And it tastes delicious!

But seriously, Glucerna, have you ever had diabetes and been on your period? Or gotten the flu or a bad cold? Or broken a bone, or gotten a gastric virus? Or... ran a few miles? Or needed an operation? Because you'd know... 


Sunday, August 6, 2017

AADE 2017... I'd Like More Innovation, and Hold the Snake Oil, Please...

The American Association of Diabetes Educators Annual Meeting is taking place this weekend, August 4th-August 7th, 2017. And I'm kind of excited, because they mentioned The Type Two Experience, with whom I write and collaborate since its conception. Every time I see that we, as advocates, are having a positive influence onto the 'world' of doctors, medical professionals, or patient guidance organizations, my hope is renewed that what we do is worth it. That people are listening, or at the very least, paying attention when we share about our day to day experiences.

Of course, I am not present at this conference. It is a little challenging for me, financially, as I don't have as many means as some of my friends with diabetes. I get limited vacation days a few times a year, and my finances are just not there, to be able to pay for hotels and food and transportation, and all the things many of these conferences entail -- even with sponsorship.

But it would be exciting to be there, as all the latest innovations are featured, so participants get to see all the new gadgets and what the near future of diabetes is going to be.

I hear there was even talk about a new hybrid continuous glucose monitoring system and glucose meter, that is being marketed by Freestyle, and would be much more affordable than a CGM. I am hopeful that, perhaps, insurance companies won't put many type 2 diabetics in the penalty box and not allow them to use this meter, if they are not on insulin. We ALL deserve to know what our glucose levels are like, to make better choices and management... and well, some of us get hypos from time to time, even if we aren't on insulin.

But as exciting as these things are to me, there is one thing that is definitely very troubling. And that is that these conferences do NOT take a stand against diabetes remedy peddlers, and opportunists. I hear the people over at Cinsulin had a table at this conference. Cinsulin is basically a homeopathic cinnamon remedy. The scientific evidence of cinnamon's effectiveness against high blood glucose is inconclusive, and tangential at best. On top of that, homeopathy is complete nonsense, sold for a lot of money. They claim to have scientific studies on their side, but the scientific studies listed on their site are not studies done on THEIR supplement, but the very weak cinnamon studies which have shown some type of benefit, including a water soluble cinnamon form - which is not the same as what they're offering people on their site.

In fact, if these studies were applicable to their product, they would have the complete backing of the FDA -- and this product would be produced by big pharma, and not a supplement maker. As it stands, their website has to carry the typical disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

These conferences are for educators, for professionals, for medical SCIENCE, as a chance to educate the public and people with diabetes. They should NOT be a chance to allow more unproven remedies, and pseudoscience, to continue to confuse and obfuscate the discussion, and to take people with diabetes for all they're worth.

I really feel that diabetes organizations have a solid obligation to the diabetes community to take a stand against these groups, and to help us fight the proliferation of them and their exploitation of people with diabetes. We certainly do NOT need to be tricked into spending more money onto unproven remedies, and snake oil from people allowed to sell to us, carte-blanche, at diabetes conferences.

After all, it's about education and enlightenment, right?