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by Rex A. Schroeder

Being diagnosed with diabetes is not the end of the world? It sure seemed like it! Once I was diagnosed, I went to the classes, I read almost every website related to the subject; and I was more confused. I almost said: “Forget it. Forget that I went to the doctor, forget I ever heard the word diabetic, just drop the letter D from my alphabet and go on with life.” It’s a disease people like to blame you for getting. Like my life style was so bad, that diabetes sought me out!

I had those around me, the people who want to tell you everything you’ve done wrong and what you should be doing to “solve” the problem. Then I went to the classes -- and we all know what that is like, you’re more confused then ever, even though they are “positive” in a weird kind of way. You still don’t really know what to eat, and everything you liked to eat seems to be the bad things to eat.

You're supposed to eat smaller meals, more often, and if you’re like me (I only would eat once a day), you're struggling to eat, even when you're not hungry. I ended up more frustrated, more depressed and just wishing I had never gone to the doctor. There are so many contradictions, and 100 different types of medications, and 10,000 different reasons for each one, and if you try to figure out where you belong in the whole puzzle, it all feel hopeless, and you wonder how you're going to survive in a world where most of the general public sees diabetes as a disease of over-weight, brought on by a less active lifestyle.

Then like a bolt of lightning I had the answer! I found an old picture of my father. It was a strange-shaped picture and I wanted to find a frame that would fit it. Being that it was odd sized, I could not find a frame! I looked at the chain stores, the small stores, the hardware stores and then I went to a craft fair and I found a frame!

It was perfect. I did not need to matte the picture, I did not need to trim it, it was perfect! I was so happy, it was like finding a "pot of gold." Now you're wondering how this has anything to do with being a diabetic?

Well, diabetes is like the picture of my father, it takes time to find the right "frame" for your diabetes. You can try to change everything overnight, but you’re only fooling yourself to think you'll keep it up -- and the disappointment will only depress you. Don't pressure yourself, don't blame yourself; no matter what anyone says, YOU DID NOT CAUSE DIABETES!

You will have good days and bad days, and you can have the candy bar, or the ice cream, or go out to dinner and not order the diet plate with the cottage cheese and sliced pears. Work with your doctor to find your perfect "frame." Don't give up on yourself, don't ever forget there are millions of others also looking for their perfect frame.

Take one step at a time. The best thing you can do is not sit around feeling depressed; so get going, and start to care about yourself. “Eating better” does not mean giving up everything your like to eat or drink. Making choices that are healthier does not mean low-carb, low-fat, no flavor foods you could not get a staving person to eat. It means finding the foods, the exercise, the health choices that are going to work in your “perfect frame.”

My "frame" is not going to work for you, and your "frame" is not going to work for anyone other than you. If you eat that candy bar, it's OK; just make sure you watch your sugar levels and see how it affects your blood sugar. Maybe try eating half in the morning and half as a snack in the afternoon. Don't beat yourself up if you eat the whole thing! Remember: It takes time to find it; it may even take some trimming; it may even take finding a matte to make the picture fit. Regardless, you will find it: your "perfect frame."