Or lack of vision I should say.
I found out I had diabetes on Veteran’s Day 2006. I had been having problems with loss of peripheral vision, especially after running. I had a few spells of this and got concerned when I couldn’t see anything outside of a very narrow tunnel. These spells would last maybe 20-30 minutes and I was worried that my eyes were damaged. After a visit to my eye doctor who asked a ton of questions after the exam showed no problems, he sent me to my regular doctor for a fasting blood test. A few hours later, I was a new statistic. My family history had caught me.
Many people have a small working knowledge of diabetes. Many can tell you it’s when you eat too much sugar and then you are “diabetic” and can’t eat it anymore. Many remember scenes from movies such as Steel Magnolias when Julia Roberts lost her mind in Truvy’s hair salon chair. I wonder how many people were force fed orange juice the next year when they got cranky?
But what is it? When I was diagnosed, I had no idea. I really didn’t. I knew two things: High blood sugar makes you feel sick, causes long term damage. Low blood sugar can kill you quick. That’s all I knew. I had no idea the purpose behind a pancreas or insulin.
So, what’s an easy way to explain it?
The pizza guy. (source)
1. Your body cells are sitting at home watching the game. They are hungry. They want food (blood sugar. The sugar feeds the cells).
2. They call the pizza guy (the insulin) who is at the Pizza Pancreas taking orders.
3. He (insulin) brings the pizza (food for cells…blood sugar) and rings the doorbell (insulin receptor)
4. The doorbell is broken. The doorbell is the cell receptor that is RESISTANT to the pizza guy..insulin.
5. The pizza guy (insulin) sets the food on the lawn and goes away.
6. Cells in the house are getting really hungry and call the Pizza Pancreas for another pizza guy (more insulin).
7. Pizza guy (insulin)brings the food, rings the doorbell (insulin receptor on the cell). Doorbell is broken again (insulin receptor on cells). Guy leaves the pizza on the lawn and goes away.
8. This happens 15 times. Finally, the doorbell works (receptors) and open to let the pizza (food/fuel/sugar) in. This is Type 2. Our insulin receptors work SOME of the time. Meanwhile, all that pizza left on the ground (and in the bloodstream) is slowly killing the lawn. Like our major body systems are slowly dying if we do not control the amount of sugar/food/carbs in our bloodstream.
9. Slowly, over time, the Pizza Pancreas (pizza delivery store) stops sending enough insulin and we rely on medication to manually give our body insulin.
I have a ton more information to share over the next few weeks. I’ve had several emails in the past few weeks about this and it’s something important to me and anybody who may have a family history of Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes.
In the meantime, I’m hungry for pizza.