Times when you should cut yourself a break

If you're anything like me, then you'll probably live most of your life trying to prove to others and moreover trying to prove to yourself that despite your diabetes you can do anything a perfectly healthy person can do.  Even more than someone who's perfectly healthy you won't take no for an answer, you'll refuse to give up and you'll never let your diabetes stand in the way.

How do I know?  Well, I founded and owned my own business for more than 25 years, during which time I usually worked six days a week for between 12 and 16 hours a day, and sometimes more.  There was no project I wouldn't say "yes" to regardless of difficulty, deadlines and stress if it interested me.  I was on a mission and I had something to prove.  How does the song go?... "Anything you can do, I can do better"... even with my diabetes!

In 1999 I had a heart attack while carrying a large carton on a downtown New York City street on a very rainy night.  Fortunately I survived, probably due to that same stubborn attitude that nothing would defeat me... not even a heart attack.  In January of 2000 on my 25th wedding anniversary I had quintuple bypass heart surgery.  Actually David Letterman had the same surgery the day before I did... but as you might expect by now, I returned to work weeks before he did.  My doctors told me I would need to recover at least six weeks at home before going back to work, but upon my release I had my wife drive me directly to my office.  Guess what?  I ended up back in the hospital a week later in congestive heart failure.

So, all you young Superdiabetic heros out there like me, why am I telling you this?  Am I telling you that, contrary to what everyone else says and to what you'd like to believe, you can't do everything a perfectly healthy person can do?  Well, not quite.  What I'm saying (and hear me right) is that you shouldn't beat yourself up to prove a point to anyone else or yourself.  This can be very dangerous.  I'm also trying to convey that you should try and "listen" to your body.  When your body is stressed and tired, or your control is not quite what you'd like it to be, or when you're feeling ill with perhaps an infection or a virus,... be sure to cut yourself a break.  Trying to prove diabetes can't "beat" you is..., well just plain stupid.  Just stop and take care of yourself.

First off,

Paul you are very lucky to be alive and I am happy you are! You are such an inspiration to me and so many others on this website and I have learned so much from you in the short time I have known you.

That being said since you are the father figure here on Juvenation I will listen to your advice and my body when it talks to me. I want to live for a while, and I am trying my best to keep my body in the best shape mentally, physically and emotionally. I had a hard couple of years but I think I am starting to really take back my life and live it the most healthy way I possibly can!

 

Paul, this post actually means a lot to me - I'll let you know why when I can name the reason. But regardless, I'm keeping this post, and I assure you I'll reread it for years to come.

Gina,

I'm so glad to hear that because, as the father figure, I'd like to see you take care of your self and feel good.

There's often a very fine line between telling someone else with diabetes that you can do anything despite your condition, AND on the other hand, that your diabetes is a condition which must come first.  It's the same as saying "you can do anything,... provided that it does not compromise your diabetes management or control."  Well then, what about stress, or not enough rest, or having to eat "junk" food, or working in conditions which might cause an injury?

In other words..., you don't want to discourage anyone else, but you also don't want to encourage, or for that matter even condone, doing something potentially harmful.  Parents face this kind of dilemma with their children --  diabetic or not -- all the time. Eventually, however, most children have to make these choices and decisions on their own.  Not that I didn't learn by my mistakes, but I think I made a few bad decisions when I chose to ignore my diabetes and even attempted to prove a point.

Do I believe now that people with Type 1 diabetes have a bigger responsibilty to their health than most other people?  Fortunately or unfortunately, I do.  Do I believe that people with Type 1 have to consider their special requirements, and perhaps limitations, whenever they make decisions or choices?  Again, I do. 

Is there another side to this?  Yes, and that is, not to use your diabetes as a convenient excuse for either lack of desire, or laziness, or something else.  In all cases consider all the facts and be as truthful to yourself as possible.

Hi Paul,I just found this post,am sorry to hear these things that happened to you.Thank you for sharing this and giving guidance to others

I am greatful that you have survived to tell your tale of being a "Super Diabetic" and help spread awareness to others !!

I agree with the "father figure" comment. Max if you're reading this, you have an absolutely wonderful man as your father, you're very lucky. Paul, You are a very thoughtful, caring person even when it comes to complete strangers. I feel like I know you just from our conversations and I am thankful to have such a wonderful friend like you. Thanks for sharing all your thoughts, opinions and ideas with all of us on Juvenation, just know that they are greatly appreciated and respected.

I raise my (symbolic) glass to you for a healthy, happy, long and fullfilling life. I'm glad to call you my friend. CHEERS !!! I know that sounds corny but I mean it. : )

This is terrible that I'm so corny but I second orange_mms. She just says it better :D