November is National Diabetes Month, centered around World Diabetes Day on November 14th. We were lucky to have the opportunity to interview Philadelphia’s favorite record collector and segment radio personality; John Stanley of John’s Dollar Bin. John has been living with diabetes for over 15 years and gave us some great insight on what to look out for and how to care for yourself (or loved ones) accordingly when diagnosed.
How long have you been knowingly living with diabetes?
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2006 at the age of 34.
How did the discovery come about?
At the time I was having some simple issues with my health all of which in hindsight could have been self diagnosed. A small spike in weight gain (to small-framed people, this is a strange occurrence), a more significant craving for sugar, numerous trips to the bathroom, overall lethargy and a spike in temperament.
You mentioned you were diagnosed with Type 1. Can you give a brief rundown on the difference between that and Type 2?
My husband is Type 2 and usually the major difference is that Type 2 is brought on by weight gain, poor health and a sedentary lifestyle. Type 1 is usually a hereditary condition but can result in late onset like myself. It can also be brought upon by lifestyle conditions.
What do you consider the biggest inconvenience with it?
Besides everything, my major inconvenience is that there isn’t a single thing that goes into my body that I don’t have to look at the label for carbs and program insulin to be put into my system. Eating out is extremely difficult because you have no clue what carbs could be so you are more or less playing a guessing game as to what you take. Going with too much could cause you to crash and that’s never good. The other side is not taking enough which would cause your numbers to spike and possibly lead to a coma. The worst part is already spending half of my life being able to eat/do what I want to, but now knowing that just a handful of peanuts or popcorn could raise my numbers if no insulin is taken.
How much time of your daily routine do you spend managing it? What’s regular protocol?
Honestly there may be about 15 minutes per hour that i don’t think about/manage my numbers.
Regular protocol for me starts from the minute I wake. I check my numbers and if too high I take corrective insulin to bring me back down. Then I make my cup of coffee and the game is on. From there I spend the rest of my day checking and managing. So. roughly 6 hours out of the day I get to myself… and that is mostly sleeping.
What’s the best practice to not feel held back?
The only practice I have is to constantly remind myself that I can actually have anything that I want food/beverage wise but I just have to take insulin for it. It does tend to stop me from overindulging but it helps knowing that nothing is truly out of reach, you just have to work a little harder for it.
What is some key advice that you would share with someone new to managing diabetes?
Well, the best advice is two parts:
1.) Medically, try to get the best Endocrinologist you possibly can. Someone who can help you to set up a plan or at least get you started on a routine that is helpful and not a hindrance.
2.) Personally, try not to be discouraged by it all. Yes, it is something that you will have to pay attention to at all times but it’s not impossible. If able, try to envelop your friends, your significant other, or family into the mix so that they are aware of what you’re going through and if possible able to be there in case you need to reach out. There are also support groups for such things and while i don’t sign on for them, I know it can be helpful for others and should also be kept as a ‘break glass’ moment.
The long and short, it will be a lifetime road but we are stronger than anything that comes at us. So while it may seem to have the upper-hand, we have the final say.
A huge thank you to John Stanley for sharing with us. Contact our team at Discover Health at today for more information on caring for yourself and your loved ones.