When Enrique was diagnosed with diabetes in a routine analysis, his doctor asked him: diet or pills? And he, without further ado, answered: pills. He started taking one, five years later he needed three and five years later four. When he retired at the age of 60, he empathized with the disease and became aware of what it entailed.
“There are a lot of people who don’t know her. If you don’t take care of yourself, it eats you slowly ”. He met the Salamanca Diabetic Association and participated in the Active Patients program of the Junta de Castilla y León.
“They gave us a week-long course to later teach it to other patients. Then I was aware that my future depended, above all, on how I took care of myself ”.
Enrique worked as a physical education teacher, but most of his life was dedicated to directing tasks. Little exercise and poor control over meals, many of them outside the home, led to the disease.
There were no sequelae, but stress, being overweight and lack of control of schedules undermined his health: sweating, fatigue, sleep problems … With precision, the teacher rates his health before diagnosis with a four, and 16 years later he assures that “the grade would an eight because even the leaks I had before I was 50 have disappeared ”.
Enrique’s experience, like that of many other patients, is not a miracle, but the consequence of the changes in lifestyle that he introduced. A 6,000 square meter farm in Salamanca has helped him practice regular physical exercise and do it while having fun.
“I grow tomatoes and I have 56 species of trees, from redwoods to apple trees, plums or quinces, And the best birds in the area, which account for a good part of the harvest”
A couple of times a month he also goes hiking with a group of friends. Those ascents above 2,000 meters with eight hours of walking ahead have helped him lose the ten kilos of weight that he had extra when he debuted as a diabetic.
When he reaches the top he is awarded with a sweet “because the wear of the ascent is intense and the effort must be rewarded”. Yes, from time to time he eats sweets, drinks some wine and also paella. It is not an excess, your doctor guarantees it. Of course, he does it in moderation. “I can eat everything, but not as much as I would like,” he points out.
There were precedents of diabetes in Enrique’s family. They worked in the fields and when they retired they got fat and developed the disease. That genetic factor looms over his future health, but he’s optimistic.
First, because the lifestyle habits that affect diabetes keep it at bay, and secondly, because he trusts that therapeutic advances will also help to control it better. In 15 years, when he turns 30 living with diabetes, he will guess almost as well as now.
“I will not be able to climb the Picos de Europa or Veleta, but I will lead a physically and mentally active life.” Perhaps the book on the cloister of the monastery of Las Dueñas de Salamanca that will be published will be followed by others. The path is clear to him and the goal for him and for any sick person too: “You have to add years to life and make it of quality.
María Rasal is familiar with the endocrinologist. She started visiting him periodically at age 13 to lose weight. Over time, glucose levels appeared altered until the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes arrived.
Unlike her grandmother, who also suffered from it, she was diagnosed with 28 years. It is not common, but the increase in obesity among young people has led to more and more cases being detected at an early age.
Maria’s was an early diagnosis, something very important to be able to start treating the disease and avoid its physical and also psychological consequences that it can cause. “I immediately assumed that diabetes was my travel companion.
I don’t live by and for her, but I can’t lose sight of her, ”says María. The first thing she did was find out who she was going to live with and she was clear that she would do everything possible to make this cohabitation good. Thirteen years later it still is. His body does not register any sequelae of the disease:
“On the contrary, my health has improved, I am more agile. Since I have diabetes I have led a more controlled life both in terms of meals and schedules ”. The formula to achieve it is as simple as it is difficult for many people, and its effectiveness has been scientifically proven. It consists of doing physical exercise, complying with the treatment,
Maria’s typical one-day menu might be picture salad, sirloin steaks with mushrooms, and an apple. The same food that anyone else could have. You can also eat pasta, rice, and even sweets occasionally.
“The only thing that changes is the quantities. In a meal I can have 20 or 30 grams of macaroni ”, he points out. The approach to diabetes now has nothing to do with that of three or four decades ago “when the only perspective for a patient was to eat boiled vegetables and fish and there was only one type of insulin.”
The incorporation of new technologies has also made it easier for him to control the disease. A sensor placed on the arm measures the sugar in the interstitial fluid for 24 hours and through an algorithm establishes the level of glucose in the blood.
The data appears on your mobile phone. Other devices help you track your physical activity. Above all, he walks and bikes. Against the myths that survive about the limitations of living with this chronic disease, María insists:
“People with diabetes do everything.” He learned it at the Zaragoza Diabetes Association, where he has been working for eight years. The thousand doubts that assailed him when receiving the diagnosis were resolved by other patients.
Contact with the association dissipated on Maria the psychological impact that sometimes comes with living with a chronic disease at an early age. “I have always been positive and have faced challenges very actively,” she recalls.
Coping with diabetes brings to mind the attitude she took when she was asked to model at a plus-size store where she shopped. “I’m 1.60 and I’m chubby. Model me? ”He said to himself. However, she took the glove and was elected Miss Elegance 2013.
“The experience was very positive, above all, because these activities help to demolish one’s own and other people’s myths about beauty canons,” recalls María. The challenge of living with diabetes shows, 13 years after diagnosis, an equally satisfactory result.