Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Surrre, Halle!

I need glasses, for my glasses. #AgingAintForChumps
AOL published a photo slideshow of celebrities with Type 2 diabetes titled “Type 2 Diabetes Affects Famous Folks, Too.” I applaud AOL for using their platform to bring awareness to diabetes, but are celebrities really the best spokesperson for diabetes? Experts have emphasized that the disease can be successfully managed with a combination of medication, diet, and exercise, but do celebrities really manage their disease? With a celebrity endorser, the “management” side of the disease could fall on deaf ears. I’ve found that the average Joe thinks the demand and rigors of just living gets in the way of getting proper diabetic friendly meals, exercising, and maintaining a medication regime. What would the average Joe think if Halle Berry, a type II diabetic, was a diabetes spokesperson?

Hi I’m Halle Berry, I successfully manage my diabetes.
“Yeah, right, Ms. Berry. You have your own personal chef that cooks the proper meals for you. Even when you eat out because of your star power the restaurant’s chef gladly caters to your dietary needs upon your request.”

I exercise also.
“I know. That nicely, sculpted body you have is maintained by your own personal trainer.”

I go to a gym.
“Sure you do. You have a gym in your home, I meant homes, with the latest and greatest equipment as prescribed by your personal trainer.”

Honestly, I do go to a gym occasionally to workout with others.
“Really? You have a pricey membership to a boutique spa, oops I meant gym, complete with Coming To America wipers that caters to you, your trainer and your other elite friends’ every whim.”

I take my medicine as scheduled.
“No doubt, your personal assistant sees to that.”

I work closely with my doctor.
“I would too, if I could call my doctor’s direct cell phone number. Betcha never called the doctor’s office and had to answer a hundred of those annoying automated phone questions before getting a receptionist to only be told the next available appointment is 3-6 months in the future. Better yet, betcha never sat in the examination room in a hospital gown with your backside out for over an hour waiting for the doctor to come. Heck, have you even been in a waiting room where you sit for over an hour waiting on your name to be called? I doubt it, I’m sure you use the private door in the back, no waiting, when visiting your doctor.”

But I really do manage my disease.
“Ms. Berry, I’m sure you manage your disease very well.”

Not to pick on Halle in this satirical bit but you can insert the name of any type II celebrity, i.e. Randy Jackson, Paula Deen, Mike Huckabee, etc., and the story will remain the same. Bottomline, the average Joe thinks celebrity spokespersons have the financial wherewithal to successfully manage the disease. Don’t get me wrong, celebrities are needed to bring awareness to the disease. But the perception of celebrities’ lifestyle can dilute the underlying message of diabetes management.

I’m average Joe, married, 2.1 kids, live on Main Street USA with a dog. I go to work every weekday. My commute to work is 2 hours one-way. I wake up at 4:15am every weekday so I can be at the office by 7:00am. Although I control my diabetes by diet and exercise alone, every morning I take a multi-vitamin, 2000mg of cinnamon, an aspirin, and drink 2oz of wheat grass juice. For breakfast, I get a ham & cheese omelet or breakfast sandwich on a wheat English muffin (only eat half the bun) from the cafeteria. I bring my lunch from home most days, tuna fish, cheese, nuts, or a chicken Caesar salad. In the afternoon about twice a week, I ride my bike 5-15miles. I eat out occasionally selecting low carb options. On the days we don’t eat out, I or my wife cooks a low carb meal. Before bedtime I take a statin for cholesterol. Do I slip some days? Most definitely! Heck, most of 2012 was a slip up! However, since 2009 when I was first diagnose with the disease, I have successfully managed my average glucose levels to roughly 98 mg/dl with an A1c between 6.0-6.4. These aren’t great numbers, but good numbers. Good enough to keep me off the needle and allow me to keep my foot! So if I can do it, anyone can. Now hear this, ANYONE, not just celebrities, with Type 2 diabetes can manage their disease! PERIOD.

“So Ms. Berry, I managed my Type II diabetes too, without personal chefs, trainers, assistants, or wipers!” View the AOL slideshow here.

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