LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Saturday Share #1

Did you know that health topics are the number one internet search item, outstripping even porn? Uh… pardon the Freudian slip there...

Dr. Oz—
yeah the Dr. Oz—recently stated that we are living in a “renaissance of medical knowledge.” He’s seen that patients have the desire to understand their illnesses and their bodies in a way like never before, and they’re turning to the internet for that knowledge. Dr. Oz was both thrilled and concerned; thrilled that patients have a new thirst for knowledge, but concerned that sometimes the information they find is just plain wrong.

So he created a unique one-stop shop for medical knowledge called
Sharecare. Dr. Oz has assembled an awe-inspiring collection of world famous medical experts, who are tasked with answering a multitude of health and wellness questions posted by people who want to understand their health better. The quality of the content is controlled both by limiting who can create it, and by providing multiple points of view.

Are you sitting down? Among these Experts is… drum roll…

Yeah. I can hardly believe it myself, but three times a week, I troll the site reviewing diabetes questions, diabetes medication questions, and diabetes gear questions. When I find a question that needs my touch, I answer it. Sometimes I’m the first one to answer it, sometimes I’m only one of many Experts to chime in.

And every once in a while I find other types of questions that I know about. Access to care. Stuff about cholesterol. Health politics and policy.

I’m having a blast, and I’ve decided that every week I’m going to
share one of my favorite questions with you here.

Sharecare Question: How can I manage my diabetes during the holidays?

My “Expert” answer: Yeah, it’s a tough time of year: temptations abound, there’s unique social pressures, and our schedules are a mess. The best way to manage is one day at a time, and accept that it may not go according to plan.

Starting with the social stuff, it’s your right to defend your health, and it’s not impolite to do so. You can simply say, “I’m sorry. I’m diabetic, I can’t eat that. But thank you so much for offering, I really appreciate the thought.”

Someone who didn’t know about your diabetes may feel bad momentarily, but at least they won’t give you a fruit cake again next year. Never sabotage your own health simply to try to avoid hurting other people’s feelings, or out of some sort of miss-placed notion of what’s socially acceptable. Nor should you be in anyway embarrassed to have diabetes. It’s not like you have a sexually transmitted disease, after all.

Another problem this time of year is that you’re exposed to things that tempt you, that might not normally be in your environment. One of your co-workers will bring in freshly baked brownies.

One option is to “taste” the goodies and stop there.

Me? I soooooooo can’t do that. One bite leads to two, which leads to three, and then my blood sugar shoots up and I’m high anyway so I might as well eat 14 brownies and…

Well, I guess it’s clear that I’m a better tour guide than role model. So if you, like me, have little self control, and no control over your environment, one coping option is to keep a supply of healthy snacks on hand. They break out the white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies, you break out the beef jerky. Chewing sugar free gum throughout the holidays also works for some of us D-folk too.

So normally you hit you treadmill at 5 a.m., but now your mother-in-law is camping out in your home gym/guest bedroom? Exercise patterns are messy this time of year, and the risk is, if you get out of the habit, will you ever get back in the habit?

I think a little pre-planning can go a long way. Move your treadmill to your bedroom for a week or two. Or do sit-ups on the bathroom floor instead. Just get creative, but keep moving.

The most important thing, however, when it comes to the holidays, is remember that it’s OK to be human. If you eat things you didn’t want to, if you fall off the sugar-free wagon, don’t beat yourself up about it. No guilt. Dust that powdered sugar off your hands and start over.

Don’t look back for even one second.

You can check out other Expert’s answers to this question, and my answers to many more questions by going here:

Then select the “Answers” tab near the top left.


Anonymous Scott K. Johnson said...

Hey Wil!

I noticed the Dr. Oz thing last time I was visiting your blog, and I'm glad you have explained it. After that whole Oprah / Dr. Oz fiasco around diabetes it was a little weird to see.

That being said, I'm thrilled that you are a part of providing real world accurate information. Your approach to the holiday season is awesome.


11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to be extra-sensitive and say that I don't really like using/saying the phrase: "I can't eat that because I'm diabetic." There's nothing wrong with my mouth. It's really just a matter of personal preference if I'd rather take-on the extra work or consequences of going high. People sometimes start to think that I then CAN only eat sugar free things, and that's a whole other issue.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Wil said...


I don't necessarily disagree with you, but Shareware answers are limited to 2500 total characters (including spaces!). If you've been following me for any time at all you'll appreciate what a creative challenge that has been for me. My point was that it's OK to stand up for yourself. I see many patients who feel they were pressured into eating things they really didn't want to because of social or cultural obligations. What you should really say would depend on who you are saying it to, and what the circumstances are. Simply stating "I can't eat that" can be a time saver. Of course in a perfect world it would be a great educational opportunity, but you have to choose your battles.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

See, I feel like during the holidays or at other family events, I run into the OPPOSITE problem - people who know a little bit about diabetes and so think that I can't (or shouldn't) be eating (fill-in-the-blank). Some of the problem is on my in-laws' side because my husband's grandfather has type 2 diabetes - it has gotten "bad" so he has to take insulin now. I, however, have type 1 (well, maybe 1.5 or LADA) and manage things with a pump, so I'm okay with a few treats. BUT, because the grandfather's control is more about what he eats, I get looks or whispers when I have a piece of pie.

12:05 AM  
Blogger Wil said...


That's actually a really good point of view that I didn't even think to address, but probably should have. I think I got tunnel vision because the previous question I had worked on was from the mother of the T-1 kiddo whose mother-in-law thinks she's being mean by denying her child candy----so the woman slips the child candy and wrecks the kid's BGLs. But of course the whole "can you eat THAT?" syndrome needs to be addressed at the holidays too.

What do you think gang? Should I actually write a post on this topic to cover it better?

6:43 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Nooo! Oh, Will, I do so love your posts but this one sentence has been such a sticking point for me my WHOLE 20 years with the BigB: "I’m sorry. I’m diabetic, I can’t eat that".

Any time I've EVER said that the conversation then begins.."can you eat this?? or this??" and then every time I'm in a food related situation with that person/people again the conversation goes back to what I can/can't eat which is translated into "are you ALLOWED" to have this or that...this then moves right into having another diabetic police officer in your life.

I have found a way around this! My response tends to be "Thank you so much but I'd rather not have that right now - ya know, trying to keep those numbers under tight control".
The response is then "aren't you ALLOWED to have this?"
To which I respond, I'm allowed to have anything I want but I chose to limit certain foods in the interest of good control....Maybe next time! :)

I mean really, who of us D's needs ANOTHER Diabetic Cop in our lives? :p

5:27 AM  

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