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It's a Type 2 Life
It's a Type 2 Life

San Francisco Bay Area resident Patrick Totty writes about his experiences living with type 2 diabetes

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Welcome to “It’s a Type 2 Life”

A publisher I once worked for had a policy about what you call people who have diabetes. “You call them ‘people with diabetes,’” he said. He hated the word “diabetic” because he thought it implied that diabetes is all that you are, and not just something you live with.

Although I wasn’t as militant about avoiding the word as he was, I saw the point he was making. We are much more than the disease we deal with. Although we have this one thing in common—type 2 diabetes—we come in almost infinite guises, differing in our ages, sizes, colors, beliefs, temperaments, and personalities. 

Still…the other thing we share is our human nature. And it is human nature to wonder, “Why me?” and “Am I up to this?” and “When are diabetes experts going to get their stories straight?” It’s human nature to sit side by side on a park bench, or across the table from one another over a good cup of something, and unload: “This is what I’m thinking, feeling, wondering, hoping for, and even despairing at. This is what type 2 is for me.”

So, welcome to “It’s a Type 2 Life,” my twice-weekly column on life as a type 2+. The plus is a reminder that you and I are more than “diabetics”—we’re people with diabetes who are also people with kids, sibs, parents, term paper deadlines, bills, jobs, great and not-so-great bosses, and doing things we get a big kick out of.

I’m going to keep what we have in common in mind as I write here. When I have to talk about myself in certain contexts, I promise it will always be with the aim of speaking as much as possible for all of us.

Topics you’ll see here will run the gamut from C to S:


Current debates about how to approach and treat type 2; controversy as a sign that good minds are paying close attention to diabetes.


Talking to your doctor and the people in your life about your diabetes.


Knowing how they work; trends, such as monotherapies, combo drugs, and crossover drugs originally developed to treat other diseases.


How to learn about type 2 without feeling overwhelmed; good sources to explore; the often unheralded treasure of diabetes educators.


Everybody gets the blues: the ups and downs of having type 2; knowing that although some days are grey, life will not be perpetually grey (unless you live in Juneau).


Learning how to build psychic strength for dealing with type 2.


The need for it; the joy (and necessity) of movement; different approaches to getting exercise; why a dog is a great goad to get up and out.


Misperceptions about what type 2s can eat; the glorious array of well-conceived menus and eating options available to type 2s; do wine and beer have to become fond memories?

Hope (an extension of Science below)

The wonderful progress we’re making; the breakthroughs we might see over the next 5 years; what others are doing to lend us hope.


Dealing with a progressive disease leads to certain insights about our lives and expectations; type 2 as a source of empathy and fount of patience.


Living in an age of astounding advances in the biosciences; new theories and approaches to finding a cure or long-term remission; links to interesting updates.

Struggle, Pain, Fear and Doubt

Why me? Fear of needles. Will I ever get better? Sticking to my regimen is hard. I feel lonely.

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Tags: Controversies , Communication , Education , Drugs , Emotions , Endurance , Exercise , Food , Hope , Insights , Science , Struggle, Pain, Fear, and Doubt

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About the Author

Bay Area resident Patrick Totty was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in July, 2003.

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