Fear and the Art of Complication Avoidance

Hey everyone!

As I evaluate my diabetes control, it seems that I do a great deal based not on any of the healthier emotions but rather out of fear (or is fear a healthy emotion?).  Fear about losing my eyesight, fear of what my kidneys may do to me some day… Fear of loss of limb or function…  I don’t (thus far) have any complications but it seems there is this weight that comes with lugging this bit of extra fear around with me everywhere. 


If it’s just me – that’s cool… There are, I am convinced, a lot of things that are uniquely me but I thought I’d throw it out here… J





Interesting. I get the fear aspect, and in this case the fear may be a healthy thing to have.

I, on the other hand, have not allowed it to be the impetus for many things, and I probably should have done so. I too have nothad any complications (yet, knock on wood) but I think this is based primarily on luck.

I'm not a planner. I don't have a 5 year plan for a career, I don't pay much attention to my 403(b) and haven't put enough in it, and I don't think much past this week. And I should. It's probably why I smoked for about 20 years. My docs said I should quit, especially because I'm diabetic. I kept thinking, "not me" and "i'll quit later" and I didn't think too much about how much more unhealthy it is for a diabetic to smoke.

I guess I'm trying to say I'm lousy at the Art of Complication Avoidance.

btw - I did quit smoking. 8 months ago. I feel good, and don't really miss it.


It sounds like you are doing things in a way that is working well for you.  Congrats on the smoking-  I had real sugar trouble when I was cutting back...

Where smoking is concerned, I refuse to admit to quitting 6ish years ago... i'm down to one t' two a year... I cut wayyy back because of the health concerns but... i like everything about smoking.  I like the different kinds of lighters, I like the way matches flare up when you first strike them, I like the way the end of a well packed cigarette crinkles and flares when it is first lit, I like the mini-crackle you get drawing in on a cigarette outside on a cold winter day, I love that first drag... yeah - only had one this year...



And, let's face it -- it's where the cool people are: outside, having a cigarette. At least, in my world.


: )

Hi A-D,

I think fear can be a good emotion if it does not rule your life.  I am a worrier and always have been about everything...will the earth be around for my children, will they grow up to be strong women, will my toes or feet get cut off, will my eye sight be gone, will my car drop from a bridge into the water with my children in the back seat and how do i get them both out!?

I cannot spend any more time worrying about everything.  Fear is good if it helps you to make better decisions.  Fear is not good if that's all we worry and concentrate on.  Bad things will happen, good things will happen...take them all together and appreciate the life and the families we have been given. 

I've always heard that life is too short to worry and be sad...but really...life is too long if that's all you do.

Thanks for letting me share!  Kathy


I am exactly the same way.  I think it's just the way some people are wired.  I don't think it's necessarily a negative thing.  It's your coping mechanism.  If you didn't have it, you might not have good control, and would end up with complications.  Now if it runs your life negatively all the time, that's another story :)  I have friends who say you are too strict with yourself, you must get more balance!  I tell them, I like my limbs where they are thanks. 

We can't not think about it all the time, unfortunate but true!



 thank god somebody brought up the issue of smoking. I started smoki ng when I was 17 one year after I was diagnosed with D and continued on and off for the past 9 years. I have not had a cigarette in over 3 weeks now and really feel I have it in me to quit for good this time. because like you A-d I am scared of what the future holds where my diabetes is concerned and I really want to be around to see my grandkids you know. but again like you I love everything else about smoking why can't they invent a healthy ciggarette. lol

I am very glad to see that other diabetics struggle with nicotine addictions too. thanks for sharing.

If you see one released that has vitamins and antioxidants, please message me IMMEDIATELY! ;)




Fear is a primal emotion.  It is intended to keep you alive.  It has worked in your genetic history for thousands of years and comes from a part of your brain most people don't even have an awareness of.  Fear just is. Since fear is designed to keep you alive it is the definition of healthy, yea?   Numbness on the other hand is not an emotion, it is better to feel your emotions than to be numb to them.  Beware the pastime that causes numbness, it means you have something to be hiding from.


Regarding smoking – just stop.  I can't think of a single thing you could do have a craving for that could be any worse for you.  I know it's hard but I have lost 3 members of my immediate family to cancer (and 2 friends, and 6 more who were luckier who had radical surgery, radiation and chemo and are okay for now) and let me tell you I was present for the passing of 2, and neither one wished they smoked more, both were in total agony from the pain, and both were sorry they were so foolish with their lives and said they were sorry just before they died.  I smoked for 15 years and eventually quit, but just couldn't stop until I dealt with my depression and with my low self esteem.  Think about this, most people who smoke aren't happy people…. I wonder why?


Complications don't always have rhyme or reason, maybe it's because we don't fully understand this disease and have a long way to go.  There are theories regarding C-peptides, no one can identify what causes this autoimmune, blah blah so on and like that.  Since cause and effect for complications are largely unknown my old lizard brain chimes in and I fear, making me cautious about everything.  This is not necessarily bad unless I also avoid things I enjoy, like time with my family or going on vacation.   My more recent brain knows that throwing virgins into the volcano won't stop that solar eclipse, but that's ONLY because I know that planets rotate on elliptical orbits, easy for me but impossible to comprehend before we knew how it worked.  I am not egotistical enough to think we know how everything works.


No one knows who gets neuropathy, retinopathy, kidney and heart disease other than KEEP YOUR BLOOD SUGAR NORMAL AND YOUR RISK GOES DOWN.  Everything else right now is magical thinking.  I do know people with modestly good a1c but with horrible complications.  My friend Sidel passed away from diabetic complications.  I know that in the renaissance diabetics (after glass syringes but before home bg meters) we just swung from very high to what we felt as low all day every day.  The luckier ones could tell what their blood sugar was so they could kind of know and have kind of control without falling unconscious.   Did those swings protect me or hurt me?  I don't know.  Was my a1c above 6.5%? Yes.  Do I have better tools today? Yes.  Do I fearlessly use the tools as best as I can today? Yes. Do I do what I can today and live as best as I can? Yes.  Am I going to get more complications?  I don't know.


Am I still afraid?    Yes.

Hi all!  New here.  But as I was reading through these I just kind of just wanted to let you all know a few things.  I have diabetic for 22 years.  So, I was not always on top of my game.  And by the time I realized what it could to me, I guess some of the damage was done.  As many of you should know, just because your outside appears good does not mean your insides are.   I just recently suffered from 2 silent heart attacks.  No warning signs, no signs of anything but black spots in my eyes.  Thought I had a severe migraine, which I suffer from.  I went to the hospital the following day, only to find out I had suffered from to major heart attacks.  Then they wanted to do open heart surgery.  Then only to find out that my legs that I had walked in the hospital in on, had quit working from my knees down!  Diabetic wasting sydrome.  Somewhat rare they tell me.  But none the less, I am now 38 using a walker and mostly, a wheelchair.  Please, don't think just because you look good or feel good that nothing might be wrong.  Get the heart scan.  It is so very common to have silent heart attacks in diabetics!  I now have 2 young children who keep asking when I am going to walk again, and the doctors just say most likely not again.  But we will see!  I think I will show them!  Just everyone help each other.  Don't judge, you never know what can happen. 

Hi A-D,

I'm new to the Juvenation site, but wanted to throw my 2 cents in about Fear and the Art of Complication Avoidace...I've been a diabetic for 23 years and have just recently celebrated my 26 birthday.  I don't remember a life without diabetes.

 I am currently working with a man, as part of my grad school degree and our service learning project, who has been a diabetic for 20 years and is suffering from neuropathy, blindness, heart problems, etc.  This all happened by chance that we were paired up.  When I first started working with him, I mentioned that I too was a diabetic and that gave us a bond.  I don't bring up his complications because he doesn't need to focus on the negative aspects of his health, (he is in general very proactive about his health), but at the same time,  I felt very drained after working with him, knowing that this could be my reality one day.

While I understand the fear related to developing complications, I try to be positive about it.  I think I'm going to try and take care of myself to the best of my abilities (which hasn't been easy going to grad school and the crazy amount of stress it brought along) so that when I cure comes along, I'll be healthy enough to get it and have a normal life.  

This site is really wonderful...It always helps to know that I'm not the only one dealing w/this crazy disease!


Hey A-D,

Those fears are what helps me to take care of myself to the best of my ability. I want to be healthy so that I can enjoy life with my family and friends.

It is kind of weird to read all of this on emotions.  Which I do agree with to a certain degree.  But there are also genetics involved.  If you really know alot about your diabetes, you will find your genetics play a huge role in it.  My father had diabetes and passed away at the age of 52 from multiple heart attacks in one weekend, he had also lost much of his eyesight and had neuropathy in his legs.  But he was also in a different generation of diabetics.  But amazingly enough at the age of 38 I have had 2 heat attacks, loss of some vision ( legally blind) and I have severe neuropathy in my legs.  I had 2 kids and my sugars did pretty good!  But my endocrinologist has told me that family history does play a major part.  You can somewhat foresee your future.  Not too the exact point.  But to a likeness.  What is strange is I never feared having a heart attack!  And mine were silent.  So, I had no idea until they ran the blood and did the echo.  And even now I don't have fears of my diabetes.  But I will say I am a smoker and have been since I was 23.  But I am starting Chantix!!!!  And I WILL quit.  I am going to crochet instead.  Since I can't walk or do much I figure I will keep my hands busy with that.  Pray for me. I HAVE to quit. No option not to.  Well, everyone please stay healthy and believe me, the neuropathy SUCKS!! So, try to stay away from it.

I've had it for 32 years and so far have minimal complications.  I went for years not having good control I don't think (pre blood tester days).  I've never had an A1c below 7 or above 8.  My own personal theory is that control is a factor.  Genetics is a bigger factor and you can't do anything about that.

Fear may be a little strong of a word.  Concerned, absolutely.   It helps motivate me to do right.  That and habit at this point.  But I can't let it run my life.  I take the best care of myself I can within reason.  And I try to enjoy life as much as I can while my health is still good.

Hi everyone,

I'm relatively new here. I'll have had type1 diabetes for 50 years this summer. I had a heart attack 18 years ago. I've had laser treatment on both eyes and only need reading glasses.

In the early years I wasn't very good at looking after myself. However after a few years I decided that what I was doing was crazy and consequently changed my opinion on my care options.

I've played various sports virtually all my life, mostly because I love sport, and not because I have diabetes. In fact 50 years ago I was told not to play sports as it wasn't good for me. Needless to say I wasn't going to stop playing, and now it looks like I was right in my actions. I've won competitions in every sport that I participated in.

I'm too old now for active participation in sporting events but I still love my cycling. Last year I did a cycle trip holiday in Bavaria and Austria and this year I'm also taking a cycling holiday, cycling from Brussels to Amsterdam, which I'm really looking forward to.

I'm relatively strict with my diet, and eat only food that is beneficial for me. I'm lucky, I guess, in that I love all food, but I do avoid junk food for the most part. 

Other than the heart attack and eye problems I've been rather lucky health wise. Funnily enough I've never worried about getting problems but when they came I've accepted them as part of being a diabetic and dealth with them as best I could.

I still enjoy life, and hope to continue enjoying it for a long time to come. Oh, I'll be 64 next birthday.