In hindsight, which is a fine thing –
I now often wonder ‘what if?’ or more precisely how did this ‘diabetes stuff’ all come about?
What had I done for this disease to impact on my life in the way it had?
I mean ‘what if’ I had not worked in a position that was so closely involved in the treatment and education of diabetes, which eventually lead to my decision-making about staying well.
As I progressed through the life stages of adolescence, teenage and early adulthood I was hugely involved in physical activity including swimming, hiking, squash, rugby, league, softball and anything else that was on offer. That was great, however alongside that level of physical exercise was the associated food intake to meet the fuel levels required to run my engine. This was never a problem as I grew up in a time when access to food resources was not too much of a problem.
So I moved through life with not too much to worry about with easy food access to meet the needs of my physical activity. A major change in my life style occurred when I married and had children in my late 20’s. That change involved a significant drop in my levels of physical exercise, while the associated food intake remained at the same level and did not reduce to an appropriate level. So the ensuing dilemma was a big increase in my body weight and shape. Over the next ten to fifteen years I began to develop obesity and with that ended up in a relationship with type 2 diabetes.
I think I need to point out the rationale for the reduction in physical activity was that I held these deep seated beliefs about what my role as a father required. Not included in that role of father was the ongoing need to engage in the high levels of activity that had been purely for my own gratification. My focus had changed from me, to my children and family and my own needs were put on hold. Therefore my activity levels had gone from a level of 10 out of 10 to a level of 2 out of 10.
What if I had bothered to listen to the clinical advice been given to me by my GP?
What if I had adjusted my food intake to match my energy output?
What if I had attended to my own needs a bit more when I started a family?
Today, with hindsight, and with a whole heap of knowledge, I now take more of a big picture view of diabetes. I share my knowledge with my whãnau, especially my children and grandchildren. This knowledge is shared through storytelling along with a context that has meaningful connection to the conversation. This tends to ensure a high level of engagement. Our conversations are rarely if ever about diabetes, but more about our relationship with our environments as I have a strong view that if we look after our environment we in turn attend to our own levels of wellness.