Receiving a diagnosis of diabetes can be scary. There are so many things to think about and so many things that will eventually need to be changed in our lives. We often hear those awful stories from well-meaning friends and family about complications etc. One aspect of living with type 2 diabetes that definitely gets a bad rap is the need to go on insulin.
For some reason most people believe that injecting insulin is a painful process that completely disrupts your life. Needle-phobia is a real thing for many people. Being “tied down” to giving yourself shots sounds like such a hassle. Possible weight-gain and scary lows seem to find their way into any discussion about using insulin. Insulin use means I’ve failed. Well, let’s talk about some of those issues and see if we can’t dispel the myths.
- Pain from injections: My one and only experience with injecting insulin happened when I was in the hospital for surgery. My post-surgery glucose readings were high (due to the stress) so I needed some insulin. I can say without hesitation that I didn’t feel the injections. Today’s needles are tiny compared to needles of the past. Fear of pain is no excuse these days.
- Needle-phobia/hassle: I can understand having some trepidation surrounding the idea of filling a syringe and poking yourself with a needle. Mastering this process is very doable but for those who are squeamish or just plain scared, there are insulin pens! Insulin pens make injecting insulin simple and easy.
- Possible weight-gain: Yes, injecting insulin can cause weight-gain but it doesn’t have to. This article on the Mayo Clinic website contains some examples of ways you can keep from gaining weight while injecting insulin. The bottom line is that if you pay attention and adjust your food intake and exercise plan to fit your insulin consumption you can maintain a healthy weight.
- Scary lows: Ok, I’ll admit that this one gets me too because I read about scary lows and really don’t want to go there. However, lows can be handled and are, each and every day, by people with diabetes. Again, paying attention to what you’re eating and what your meter tells you is a simple way to avoid scary lows.
- Needing insulin means I’ve failed: Many times the start of insulin use for someone with type 2 is said to be a “last resort.” This way of thinking is wrong! More and more studies have shown that good glucose control will help to prevent complications. Introducing insulin use to your Diabetes care plan can help you have better glucose control. If your pancreas has pooped out and your beta cells are no longer producing enough insulin, how is that your fault? You have not failed, but instead should be commended for doing what you need to do to control your Diabetes.
The reality is that those of us with type 2 diabetes need to do everything we can to control our glucose levels. We need to adjust what we eat, exercise regularly and take whatever medications will help us to reach our goal. Some of us were diagnosed earlier and maybe our beta cells will still work for a longer period of time. Some of us were diagnosed after our pancreas has already taken a beating and may need insulin sooner. There is no guilt or finger-pointing. We do what we have to do to maintain our health. I do not currently inject insulin but I will not hesitate to begin if/when my doctor and I decide that it’s a good idea. Why? Because I’m worth it and I’m not afraid to do whatever it takes to control my diabetes. You shouldn’t be either.
- Dude, Did I Take My Insulin?
- Is It Okay to Inject Insulin in Public?
- How Long Does Insulin Last?
- Now we’ve gone and done it…
- Wait…isn’t insulin a cure??