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Diabetes War Part 2: Community TV

  • Richard Cohen:

    It’s gotta be difficult to get somebody who may be asymptomatic, especially, to give up the potato chips, you know?

  • Robin Goland:

    So the key is not to try that. So ... and that’s what takes so long is you find out what people love, what’s important to them, how they eat, and you make small steps. But sometimes very small things make an enormous difference. And I don’t know that it’s that people are so wedded to their lifestyle as much as there’s more guilt and blame in this illness than almost any other. So my patients come to me and they’re convinced that if this were so easy they would have done it already and that it’s gonna be hard, and they are going to fail and everybody who knows about it is angry at them, nagging them and blaming them, and they feel guilty and ashamed and a failure. And they come in and they’re ready for me to yell at them. And often they say they’re a terrible patient; they’ve already flunked diabetes and I’m going to be able to do nothing with them. And I usually end up saying, “Well, you’re hardly the worst I’ve seen, and everybody says this and you are going to be shocked at the small changes that you’ll be able to make and see big, big differences in your blood sugar.” And then sometimes the thing that people notice six months, a year later is that, that annoying, “Ugh. I really should be doing something about my diabetes.” That’s gone and that that was pretty debilitating. So you might not feel tons different but at least you don’t have to feel badly about that anymore ‘cause you are working on it.

  • Andrew Fornal:

    I’m working on it ... yes, it’s a work in progress.

  • Richard:

    Have you changed?

  • Andrew:

    I think I have changed. You know, I came to this point in my life when I realized that I need to take care of my health. I need to take care of my diabetes. And this was this first impulse which propelled me to ask my friend doctor to recommend somebody who would help me with this.

  • Richard:

    How did you feel when you were diagnosed? And were you surprised?

  • Andrew:

    I was driving to Ohio and the doctor called me and he said to me that I have the diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and that I have to modify a little bit my lifestyle. And at that point I was not in the mood of changing anything. I was, I have to concentrate on my driving. And then I visited the doctor, the doctor’s office, and he said that I have the diabetes and I have to take care of myself. And it was like at the first moment it was a denial. Why I and what is this diabetes about?

  • Richard:

    Did you talk about it with your brothers?

  • Andrew:

    Not at that point. I wanted to keep it to myself. I didn’t want anybody to know that I have diabetes.

  • Richard:

    Why?

  • Andrew:

    I wanted to keep it private. And maybe I thought that it will go away by itself and that I will be fine after a few months, a few weeks. But it didn’t go away. So at some point I realized it’s not the way to live reality. I am called to it as a priest, as a spiritual leader for others. So I decided to take care of my diabetes, to take care of myself, to take care of my health and that’s why I was asking my friend doctor to recommend a specialist.

  • Richard:

    But how long did it take you to get to that point?

  • Andrew:

    I think it was a half a year, almost.

  • Richard:

    I’m just curious that you felt, because you had, Dr. Goland, had talked about the guilt that people attach to it. And I’m just wondering if you felt guilty about it.

  • Andrew:

    I didn’t feel guilty about it. I was trying to see this as a challenge at first when I was told that I had the diabetes. But really it was just as I said: denial a little bit on my part, that ... it is a disease which can’t go away by itself and but very ... when I met with the Dr. Goland, then I realized that my life needs to be changed a little bit. And when I changed this little bit, it can help my, it can help my diabetes.

  • Richard:

    But what changed your attitude?

  • Andrew:

    Just talk with Dr. Goland, talk with the nutritionist at the center. That helps to realize that this is an illness which can be controlled. And when you see results, when your blood sugar drops a little bit, it is encouraging to take the next step to lower it even more, to get better. Because I think a lot of cases is that people, they don’t realize the long consequences of the disease. I felt the same before I was diagnosed and after I was diagnosed with the diabetes. There was no change, the sudden drop in my health, but the realization of the fact that I had the diabetes, it helped me to, in the long run, to take care of it, to control it. And when you see this little result that you can achieve with the help of the medicine, of the exercise, sometimes diet change, this is encouraging.

  • Richard:

    Does that just encourage you to be even more serious about ...

  • Andrew:

    Yes, it encourages me to be more serious about it. But it encourages me to do more, to take this extra step towards controlling of the disease.

  • Richard:

    Are you a happier person for doing it?

  • Andrew:

    I try to be generally a happy person, so, [LAUGHS] yes, I’m happier. It helps. It builds up your self-esteem. You can do it. And it’s not beyond your control. And that’s encouraging.

  • Richard:

    It’s very important.

  • Andrew:

    It’s important, yes. and with God’s help we can achieve it.

  • Richard:

    Thank you, both.

  • Andrew:

    Thank you very much.

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