Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Tom Hanks Has Diabetes
He seems to be dealing with it well. He talked about it as something that can be controlled, and that is a very down to earth perspective. I'm glad he's able to accept that he has to take action to keep his disease in check. But what disturbed me is that he said that his doctor told him that if he'd get down to the same weight he was in high school he'd be healthy, he wouldn't have diabetes. Tom told him if that was the case he'd have type 2 diabetes. Another really healthy attitude. I wasn't in the room, I'm only going by the report of the exchange that Tom gave. There are so many ways that I could be construing the meaning of that exchange that I know I am very likely to be wrong about that one. It is very common for doctors to use the word "cured" to talk about controlled type 2 diabetes. I have heard more than a hundred times that if I'd lose as little as 10% of my body weight that I'd cure not only my diabetes, but my high blood pressure. The person who says that to me used to get a blank stare as in my head I called them an idiot. Now I don't bother to be nice about it. I don't call them an idiot to their face, but I do challenge them. Three years ago I lost 60 pounds which was 25% of my total body weight. At the beginning of that period, I was confirmed as a type 2 diabetic. I had known for years that I was, but it depended on which doctor you talked to and what mood they were in at the time if they would say that I was diabetic or pre-diabetic. With diet and exercise I was able to get my A1c of 6.8 down to hovering around 5. Can you say that I'm free of diabetes? Are you kidding me? I still rely on oral medications along with a low carb diet to keep my blood sugar in check. If I gave up on carb counting and just relied on the oral medications, my blood sugar would certainly rise and if I gave up on both my A1c would head right back up. It's the same with my cholesterol levels. The diet keeps them well within the desirable range, but if I go off the diet, I'm right back where I started. That isn't a cure. Diabetes didn't go away. It is being controlled. After losing 25% of my body weight, my blood pressure still remains uncontrolled on three medications. I was told that it was hormonal in the same breath that the doctor told me that he was retiring. I still don't know where to go with that one. But losing weight didn't cure anything. It controls some of my problems, but they are still problems.
So thanks Tom for being willing to talk about being diabetic in a sane manner, saying controlled and not cured.