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How do I gain control of Type 2 diabetes again?

I was diagnosed as a diabetic in December 2009. Had to turn around after I knocked on death’s door. I am insulin dependant and have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) as well that increased my insulin resistance, and went undiagnosed for about 12 years. Since my hospitalization and diagnosis was made, I did all the hard work. I watched my diet and lost almost 50kg within the first 7 months, by dieting, exercising and also addressing the emotional relationship that most of us have with food. I’ve reduced my HbA1c from 14% to 5.2%. For the first time in my life, I was completely happy. I am a very controlled diabetic, and stuck to my mealtimes like my life literally depended on it.

And then on one day in October 2010, I lost consciousness while horse-riding. This resulted in a basal skull fracture, ICU, permanent brain lesions, loss of sense of taste and smell, partial loss of hearing, about 8 weeks of loss of reality, amnesia, two months of work, loss of friendships, breakdown of relationships. And now, I’m slowly starting to put the pieces back together of what used to be my life. But how do you get your confidence back? How do you start trusting your own body again? Every time I’ve gone into hypo since then, I feel like I’m taking one step forward, two steps back. I’m trying to get back into an exercise routine, but it feels like I’m constantly scared that some sort of activity will lead to an extreme event such as which has happened.

When I was diagnosed, I was told that Type 2 diabetics almost never lose consciousness, but it happened to me! I’m a control freak, and the only thing about this disease that I do feel I can control is what I put in my system. I’m a firm believer that this disease only treats you as good as you treat it.

If anyone can offer advice, please do. I want to gain control again. I want to trust my body again, but I can’t seem to find my way. I really want to move past this traumatic event, but it feels like I’m still stuck back on that day.

– Madelein van Schalkwyk

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  1. Hi Madelein,
    First off – I’m sorry you’ve had such a hectic year. Crikey, that is a lot to deal with. Anybody would be feeling freaked out.
    From my experience (as a Type 1 for 4 years), I found that being in very tight control wasn’t always that good for me. When I was aiming for perfect control I went low a lot, and we all know how damaging hypos are. But when I aimed slightly higher (i.e. 8 mmol as my ideal), I found that diabetes became less of a daily juggle. Also, if you’re a little higher you can exercise without fear.
    This is just from personal experience, not a medical viewpoint, but I would say chat to your doctor or diabetes educator about where your optimum level of control is.
    You will be able to get back to a place of balance – it just takes time. Let us know how it’s going, please. We’re here for you.

  2. From email:

    Hi Dear

    Sorry to hear what you have gone through. I wish you well and hope and pray you’ll gain control again

    Let’s go back to the drawboard: I’ll suggest that you test as frequently as possible, write down your levels, write down what you eat and how you feel. Try to keep your levels close to 8, 9 when you exercise and always keep something sweet close by just in case, test your levels after you’ve done exercising, write down what exercises you did. Work out a routine for each week. Compare your levels when you have done the same routine. If you done the same routine for five times and your levels and feelings stay consistent know that you on
    the right track.

    The best of luck, stay positive and done let diabetes get you down it can sometimes be tricky but I know you can do it.

    Kind regards

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