GUEST BLOG POST by Alexis Acker-Halbur
Just when you thought it was safe to live with diabetes, along comes another harrowing fact. Studies suggest that people with diabetes are at significantly higher risk for many forms of cancer. Just great! There are so many reasons why you developed diabetes — the same is said for cancer. Yes, you can live with both and survive. My good friend, Mari Ruddy, and I are true stories on how to stay alive and increase the quality of life.
Why did I get diabetes? Why did I get cancer? Why do I have both? We ask these questions all the time with no real answers. These “why” questions have scientific answers with a multitude of medical complications and genetic probabilities. I suggest that you not ask why questions, but instead, ask yourself, “now that I have diabetes and cancer what am I going to do about it.” This puts you emotionally and psychologically back in control. You do have a say on how both are treated by your endocrinology and oncology teams.
Diabetes teaches us to take action and motivates us to eat right, exercise, test blood sugars and take insulin. You get so good at it that you can practically control your diabetes in your sleep. Then comes cancer and you feel like someone dropped you on your head — again! No, it isn’t fair, but living with diabetes makes you a strong and wise fighter, and cancer, is another battle.
Thirty-five years into my diabetes I was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. Three years later it came back. My blood sugars were all over the Universe, I couldn’t eat due to chemo drugs, and my exercise routine was going from one surgery to another. I also had two near death experiences, but like I said, I’m not ready to leave this life.
Do I have a secret survival plan? Yes, but it’s no secret. You face your cancer just like you do your diabetes — directly. Yes, there will be good days and not so good days. You’ll deal with a lack of energy, pain, nausea and hopelessness, but as your treatment continues, you’ll find your mind, body and spirit becoming stronger and balanced. Put a meaning to your diabetes and cancer. This way, you create days filled with promise and possibilities.
I’ve written a book, Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illness, to help you find the tools and activities you’ll need on this journey. Resources are powerful and when you take control of your health you’ll experience a “new normal.” That is, you’ll find that life is filled with gifts of hope and healing. If you find this difficult to believe, read Never Give Up and watch how your life becomes more joyful.
Alex’s book is available on Amazon.com.
Note from Mari: I met Alex when I was 17 and I attended the American Diabetes Association overnight camp for children with diabetes, Camp Needlepoint, as a Counselor in Training. Alex was the Camp Director. She’s been a dear friend ever since! And it never ceases to amaze me how parallel our life stories are. Please visit Alex’s wonderful website and check out her new Facebook page. Leave an encouraging comment for Alex!!