For the Okons, a huge cloud fell over their household when 60 year old Mrs Okon was found to have diabetes mellitus on a routine medical visit. Her first reaction was to reject the doctor’s pronouncement. “It is not my portion”, Mrs Okon replied the doctor. At home, Mr Okon and the children concurred that “it’s not our portion”.
For several weeks, Mrs Okon refused to take the oral medications which she thought was for the newly diagnosed diabetes mellitus. She, also, refused to adhere to the dietary restrictions prescribed by the doctor.
In the next couple of weeks, the symptoms of diabetes mellitus were becoming more and more obvious in her. It was after a visit to another medical consultant who, also, confirmed the ailment that she decided to accept the diagnosis. When it dawned on the household that the situation is real, she was depressed, worried and anxious. She asked several questions which included:
“God, why me? “.
“When will it be over? “.
“Don’t eat this, don’t eat that, for how long? “.
“I do not take sugar much, how come diabetes for me? ”
“My parents never had diabetes mellitus, where did this one come from?”
These were some of her numerous unanswered questions. This reaction of the Okons to the diabetes mellitus challenge was not out of place. Most people living with diabetes reacted in similar way at the onset of their illnesses.
The question now goes: is the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus a death sentence? Is it the end of the road for someone diagnosed with the illness?
Diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is, definitely, NOT a death sentence! Reasons abound to support this stand.
Firstly, diabetes mellitus is just one of several diseases like hypertension, obesity, cancers, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, senile dementia and so on. They are not curable but people live with them and age gracefully. People have lived with diabetes for 20, 30, 40 or more years. It, rather, calls for some discipline, cost burden and some bodily inconveniences.
A second reason why diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is not a death sentence is because with the current advances in medical sciences and surgical procedures coupled with the current understanding of diabetes mellitus as a metabolic disease, many patients with type 2 diabetes have it reversed or “cured” after bariatric surgery is performed especially for those who are obese. Again, some dietary manipulations such as use of low-carb diets, intermittent fasting or use of ketotic diets have been promising in people living with type 2 diabetes. For type 1 diabetes mellitus, bio-engineered pancreatic B-cells have been used to cure it when implanted on someone. More so, many scientists are currently in the laboratories in many parts of the world working assiduously to get a cure for diabetes. This could happen any day from now!
Finally, with a positive mental attitude. one soon realizes that one can live and age gracefully with diabetes mellitus. It’s just a cross one may be called upon to carry. Just imagine the case of someone living with diabetes who confessed recently that having diabetes is one of the best things that ever happened to her. Because of her understanding of the disease, she has been invited to many countries of the world and at different fora to make speeches and give lectures on diabetes. That’s positive living with diabetes!”.
On the contrary, if one decides to see only the ugly side of diabetes, then, it can be so. The choice is ours…..to view diabetes with a positive or negative mental attitude.