Insulin Injections Necessary When we Fail Our Diabetes Medications

Insulin Injections Necessary When we Fail Our Diabetes Medications

Insulin injections are the worst nightmare for a diabetic – or so I thought until I learned that it isn’t even as bad as pricking my finger for a blood sugar test.

Diabetes'' last resort

I suppose my endocrinologist was being polite when he told me that my diabetes medications were no longer effective enough to manage the disease.

What he should have said was something like: “You dumb ass! If you managed your diet and weight better and got some exercise, it might not have come to this.”

And with the dosage of my meds maxed out, the only other alternative, Dr. Vladimir Milosevic sorrowfully explained, is the dreaded needle. Like my father before me, insulin injections are now part of my daily routine.

Through my own stupidity and self negligence, ‘it’s déjà vu all over again.’

I’ve never wanted to be like my father in any regard. And tragically, the only common link we continue to share is this damn disease. Several years after his death due to complications from diabetes, as much as I don’t want to be anything like him, I find myself in his shoes, staring at the same fate that first took his sight and a limb and then his life before he reached 70.

I’m about to turn 60, so how’s that for a scary family history to contemplate? Great! Of all the horrible ways I could have been just like him, the one thing I inherit from him is the likeliness of diminishing health in the next few years and an early death sentence.

I allowed myself such a moment of self-pity last night as I injected 21 units of Lantus insulin into my abdomen before going to bed. I couldn’t sleep. And it had nothing to do with playing the blame game and pointing at others or circumstances for my plight.


It suddenly occurred to me: In the fight for my life, if I am to avoid the same horrific fate as my father, all I have to do is to continue to be nothing like him. Only this time, the stakes have never been greater.

What Dr. Milosevic should have said to me is the truth. My father is the best evidence of that truth.

Dad left my mother and me, two younger sisters and a baby brother when I was 11 years old and I only saw him three times after that, the last occasion occurring as he rested in his coffin at the funeral home.

By all accounts, he continued to be reckless and abusive to those around him as well as himself. When he was diagnosed as a diabetic, he didn’t respect the disease or himself, choosing to eat and drink himself into oblivion.

Before passing, diabetes evidently wreaked havoc on his circulatory system, taking his sight and one limb before finally killing him. He didn’t heed his doctor’s advice of improved diet and exercise.

Sadly, before seeing Dr. Milosevic as a last resort to control my blood sugar, I had disregarded the same warnings from my personal physician, Dr. Dally. I became white as a ghost upon realizing that my worst fear had come true – Yikes!! Insulin injections!!! I was just like my father. And even worse, this truism could kill me.

Like him, I didn’t take the disease seriously after diagnosis. A combination of three different meds seemed to control my blood sugar and I believed that all I had to do was faithfully take my meds each morning and evening to keep the disease in check. WRONG!

I didn’t strictly adhere to a diabetes-friendly diet and I didn’t increase my physical activity as recommended by doctors and both the American and Canadian Diabetes Associations. I am now paying the price of that total disregard.

I don’t know why we often have to go to the brink before we change our ways, but I have an opportunity to avoid the ugly death sentence that my father imposed upon himself.

I have spent all of my adult life trying to be the opposite of my father and once again this strategy should serve me well – perhaps even save my life.

When it comes to diabetes, I am not going to follow his example. I am going to eat better and smarter, add physical activity to my lifestyle and generally care about myself.

By completely disregarding his diabetes, my father committed suicide on an installment plan. I’m not going down that road. In fact, my new health goal is to eventually get off of insulin injections and manage my diabetes with even lesser dosages of my meds than I am presently taking.

Whether you have diabetes or not, you are welcome to join me on this journey back to good health. Since diets are proven to not work, let’s try to get our health back by adopting one easy-to-do health tip at a time.

My father refused to take charge of his own health even in the face of his pending death. My only hope for survival is to be his opposite. His inaction and his subsequent death will motivate me to effectively manage my diabetes even though it now means I have to take insulin injections.

I never thought I’d ever say this, but – Thanks dad.