I’m going to get all preachy and soapboxy for a moment. In my last post I joked about the bird flu. When a disease like that breaks out, people get all paranoid and scared. What if it comes here? What if it becomes an epidemic? Blah blah blah. Yeah, it’s scary.

Bird flu (and illness like that) are all very newsworthy and hip but what about the epidemic that IS killing people, that IS filling our hospitals, that IS causing debillitating illness?

I know I’m preaching to the converted here, but what the hell is going on with the obesity epidemic in this country? Three hundred people a day are diagnosed with diabetes. Three hundred.

Diabetes doesn’t just kill, it causes a whole range of problems. I remember my doctor telling me about a patient, an old lady with type 2 diabetes. She told him she wasn’t going to try to control her diabetes – she was old and she’d reckoned her time on earth was almost up anyway.

Within a year, she’d become blind and had to have her leg amputated. It’s not just about dying from diabetes, it’s about living with it.

I know people who have died from complications of diabetes, people who’ve had parts amputated because of it. Last year, I was talking to a surgical nurse at a party. He told me how they have diabetic patients come in to get a toe removed. The doctors tell them to change their lifestyle but the patients don’t listen. The next time they come in it’s a foot… then it’s a leg… Still they keep doing the same things.

Is that KFC worth it? Is that Big Mac?

It’s scary stuff but it’s entirely preventable. I heard the health minister being interviewed yesterday. He said the government is limited in what they can do to prevent obesity. They can’t make people walk to work; they can’t stop people eating junk food. Maybe not but there is a heap of stuff they can do, it’s just not stuff that is going to make them popular or win them votes. For starters, they can tax the arse out of junk food – they do it with cigarettes. Or how about this – a complete television black out for an hour every night? I bet you’d get a lot more people exercising.

I know it comes down to individual responsibility, but this epidemic will cause a whole shitload of suffering in the next few decades. If we had three hundred people a day diagnosed with bird flu we’d have people storming parliament demanding answers.


For those of you who don’t know, I was diagnosed with diabetes about four or five years ago. To start with, I was in denial – and anyway it would take years before anything went really wrong.

I thought I could control my diabetes by changing my lifestyle except my lifestyle didn’t change. I kept eating the same foods and not exercising. I meant to make improvements, one day.

Then I got put on medication. Every time I got tested, the results were bad, my medication got upped. My cholestrol was off the chart and I’d long since had my gallbladder removed. All the while, I kept telling myself – I might be fat but I’m healthy.

Last year, something clicked in my brain. I realised I had to do something. No more excuses, no more “one day”. The consquences weren’t just a bigger clothes size (and, let’s face it, you can’t get much bigger than an elastic waisted size 26 anyway), the consquences were life and death. Blindness terrifies me and there’s no point shoe shopping if you don’t have any feet.

I’d been let to believe, by my doctor, that once you started on a certain level of medication you were there for life. The progression only went one way – you took stronger and stronger meds until you got so bad you had to take insulin. I didn’t want to be on tablets, let alone injecting insulin.

Then I found out that diabetes is reversible – it’s not a one way street at all. Since then, I’ve dreamed of becoming medication free. Of being healthy. Of being in control.

I talked to my doctor today and maybe it will happen. I have to have some blood tests – the main thing she wants to check for is some kind of antibodies in my blood that mean (from my understanding of what she said) the type 2 diabetes is precursor of developing type 1 diabetes rather than being caused by lifestyle factors.

If I don’t have the antibodies, I’m home free. I could be off my medication next week! That makes me so happy. Three hundred people a day diagnosed with diabetes and I’m getting off my medication. I hate to follow trends.


22 responses to “Sunny

  1. keep my fingers crossed for great results for you. great post – thanks.

  2. wow – that sounds promising, good luck hun!

    As for the obesity epidemic – more than 50% of kiwis are overweight, sad eh! (that said, half the all blacks are obese based on bmi)

  3. I seriously hope the results go your way. This would be one very positive consquence of your weight loss!!

  4. brilliantly said 🙂 hope all goes well with the results!

  5. Good luck, i’m keeping everything crossed for you. What a great feeling to get off your meds!!! I reckon my DH is on the way to diabetes, its only a matter of time, but telling him just makes him scoff – I wish I could get through to him but like you said, you need to realise it yourself and get off your bum and do something about it. No-one else can do it for you.
    Have a great week, what’s left of it!

  6. That would be fantastic if you canget off those meds. You have come so far and you are a shining example of the positive effects of changing your lifestyle. Being healthy is the best reward you could get.

  7. Well said Kathryn! Great post and I congratulate you for educating everyone more on this terrible disease.

    I deal with patients with diabetes every day and one of the things that almost shocked me into changing my life late last year was having a run of new patients all coming in having recently being diagnosed with type II diabetes. The one that shocked me the most was one particular woman, only a couple of years older than me, but it looked like we would have shared the same dress size. At the time I was scared that I was a diabetic waiting to happen – thank god I pulled my finger out when I did.

    Take heart, though, diabetes is reversible and I’ve seen it in lots of patients who make real, positive lifestyle changes. I have my fingers crossed for you too.

  8. I so hear what you are saying – I went to an inservice on childhood obesity for work the other day and was absolutely gobsmacked at the stuff I heard.

    It seems a pretty well known fact now that todays children will be the first generation to not outlive their parents. I agree with you 100%, there is so much we could do to stop this, however, it needs to be an effort accross the board.

    So glad to hear you are aiming to reverse your diabetes, good luck! At least you are taking your health seriously!!!!

    I just caught up with your fun run blog – sorry to hear it was such a disaster – it is nice to know there are some nice people left in the world. The next one will be better for sure

  9. Even though I don’t like to swear on the blogs I think you are a deadset fucking legend. Too many people put up with stuff their whole lives and don’t put up their hands to take ownership and change themelves. And look at you – possibly off medication. I think you are fantastic.

    And I seriously like that tv blackout idea. I know I could just turn it off but damn it’s a hard thing to do LOL.

  10. Brilliant post. Did I tell you that when I went in and got diagnosed with pneumonia, my doctor said, “thank you for not asking me if you have the BIRD FLU; I wish people would get as serious about their other health issues”…so yeah, I hear you.

    My weight loss journey started because of poor health and a condition that I acquired because of my health – it made me see that even the healthiest of chubstars can have issues and we should be more worried about living than eating pizza!

  11. omg make me tear up, I so know what you mean about diabetes. My family on BOTH my mum and dad’s side are laden with diabetes, and it makes me so mad how lightly they take it.

    I’m not talking about medications either, some of them have to HAVE that insulin shot. I’m trying my hardest to be healthy, b/c the POCS I have increases the risk of having diabetes too.

    Thank you for your soapbox… it’s something I really needed to hear (read) I needed to remember why I started this, and how important it is that I continue it.

  12. p.s. I am SO bloody excited that you could be off your meds next week!!!

    Proud, inspired and excited!!! You have to totally keep us posted.

  13. skinny chicki

    very exciting!!!!!! i will be sending positive vibes your way 😉 i didnt know that that is what happens to diabetes, that was very interesting, thanks for sharing 😉 Luds xxx

  14. Excellent post!

    I feel the same about smoking.

  15. This is a great post.
    Diabetes runs in our family and it was one of my main reasons to start a healthier lifestyle.

    You really put the dots on the i’s.

    I hope you’ll have good results!

  16. Wow!! Another reason why better nutrition is the key to eliminating a lot of the illness in this world. I am on that soapbox with you. I think things like bird flu, sars etc are all played up in the media. Noone is denying their validity but the amount of money that is thrown at things that are killing small amounts of people blow me away. Just recently the NZ government has spent over 20million on a nationwide meningitis vaccination campaign. Only 13 people in 5 years have died of meningitis B in this country. The vaccination is not guaranteed and already kids that have had it have been found to have the exact thing they have been vaccinated against. Yet where is the 20million for all those with diabetes? Where is the 20 million to go towards lowering prices of fresh fruit and veges and raising prices of junk?? Where the hell is the practicality in it all? Who decided to spend 20 million of taxpayers money to save maybe 20 little people over the next half decade?? Noone is denying that it is devastating if it hits your family but in the grander scale of things?? Time for me to get down off the soapbox.

  17. That is an awesome post Kathryn. So well written. I watch my boyfriend’s brother with diabetes not managing it and it makes me worry. Isn’t it funny how sometimes we need a real wake-up with our health to get our butts moving? Mine was my doctor telling me that being overweight, with a history of stroke in my family and being on a strong contraceptive pill I was in the very high risk category for serious blood clots. That scared the hell out of me!

  18. Fantastic post Kathryn and if only the people that really needed to read this too read it…and actually got it! Obesity is a real concern and the factor for so many other diseases. If only the majority weren’t so lazy in getting a little proactive about their health. I guess it took us a while buit we got there. Well done babe!

  19. CaramelKitKat

    Fingers crossed for you that the results come through as desired. Getting off medication would be a huge achievement!

    I know myself that it was the thought of diabetes (among other weight-related illnesses) that has been a huge motivator for me to lose the kgs.

    Great post.

  20. A Girl Running

    BRILLIANT POST! I was horrified by the statistics.

    Congratulations on your excellent attitude. My mother in law was diagnosed years ago. She did the right thing like you and is healthier with a healthier attitude. What gets me though is that her overweight sister and brother were also diagnosed and have done nothing and her two daughter and her son (my husband) still eat poorly knowing that there is a chance they can become diabetic also. I would have thought they would be inspired to be healthy because of it??

    ps: I put a note in my latest entry about Paul mcKenna – I love his Cd

  21. Hey Kathryn – hopefully you are feeling better and that’s fantabulous news about being drug free. Here’s hoping those antibodies are doing what there supposed to be doing. Have a great

  22. What a great post! I’ll keep my fingers and toes crossed for you! It would be awesome if you were able to come off your medication, and of course you totally deserve this success!!!

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