Hi, I’m Bruce and I’m a Diabetic!

On May 29, 2015 my doctor informed me that I am now a type 2 diabetic. This means that my body is having trouble breaking down glucose. Glucose is a sugar that is formed from the foods we eat. The glucose is what gives our body energy to work and function. However, to break down the glucose, the body needs insulin. If your insulin levels are low or if your body is not using the insulin efficiently, the glucose stays in your blood. This condition is diabetes.

Long term complications of diabetes include heart disease, kidney disease, neuropathy, diseases of the eyes, peripheral vascular disease and more. Orally we see many changes also. Patients with Type 2 Diabetes are up to three times more likely to develop gum disease. We also see increased decay, salivary gland dysfunction, taste impairment and increased levels of infections and inflammation. A huge complication of diabetes is dry mouth. This is the precursor to many of the oral problems we see.

The good news is diabetes can be managed.   Insulin levels and its efficacy can be improved. Balancing the food I eat with exercise and medication can keep my blood glucose in a healthy range. The responsibility is mine to do everything I can to keep my diabetes in control.

When my doctor told me I had progressed from a pre-diabetic condition to officially having diabetes I was very upset. I was shocked, angry, scared and felt guilty of doing something wrong. I was very stressed with the overload of emotion and overwhelming sense that my life would never be the same again. The thing that helped me the most was the support I got. My incredible wife Sara was very supportive. She listened to my issues, encouraged me and got educated about diabetes with me. My physician, Dr. Jim Weatherhead, also helped by explaining my condition and assuring me know that this can be controlled. He set me up with a diabetic educator and a nutritionist. Both showed me what I needed to do to keep my glucose levels down. With encouragement and understanding around me, I am now able to face my diabetes and make the changes I need in order to stay healthy.

I decided that I needed to approach this like an addictive disease. I needed to kick my addiction to sweets and fatty foods. I needed to take control of my life, make changes and lean on loved ones for support. Then, take it one day at a time. I have learned to adjust my diet to get better combinations of protein and carbohydrates. I try to eat more vegetables and less starch.   I have cut WAY back on my beloved cookies and sweet snacks. I have tried to be more active and get more exercise. I take oral medications twice a day and I check my blood glucose levels on a regular basis.

I am happy to report that my blood glucose measurements have all been in the normal range. I am being more active (although that still needs more work), and eating healthier. I have lost 25 pounds since the first of the year. I am motivated. It feels good to drop 4 inches off my waist size and have my family and friends notice and compliment me on the change. I realize that I must continue my efforts with a life-style altering mentality. Diabetes doesn’t go away, but it can be controlled.

Thanks for letting me share!

Dr. Bruce