Dia gnosis HOW TO MANAGE DIABETES WITH ANOTHER LIFE-CHANGING CONDITION
By Allison Tsai
W ayne Bottlick was discussing lunch plans with coworkers on a warm spring day in 2008 when he started to feel ill. Bottlick, who has lived with type; 1
diabetes for 51 years, thought he might be having a low. A
quick ;nger stick revealed that his blood glucose was normal.
A few minutes later, Bottlick had a seizure—the ;rst sign of a
condition that took two years to diagnose: brain cancer.
“While type; 1 diabetes was certainly a life-changing and
challenging event that altered the course of my life, it did
not stop my life. Brain cancer, on the other hand, has …
been far more emotionally debilitating than type; 1 ever was,”
says Bottlick, 62, who underwent surgery to remove the
tumor in 2010.
Researchers are still untangling the connection between
diabetes and conditions such as cancer and Alzheimer’s
disease. When it comes to heart disease, research has shown
that diabetes raises the risk, but more research is needed to
understand why. While discoveries are ongoing, here’s what to
know about living with a double diagnosis.
Diabetes is scary in itself. When life hits you with another
curveball, and you’re diagnosed with a serious medical
condition such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, or heart disease, it’s
natural to experience a range of emotions. “It’s absolutely
normal to cry, to be angry, to be upset, scared, and worried—
all of those emotions and many combined at once,” says Alicia
McAuliffe-Fogarty, PhD, CPsychol, vice president of lifestyle
management at the American Diabetes Association.
Research shows that taking an active role in your health
care decisions can improve your outcome. That can mean
educating yourself about your treatment options, getting a
second opinion to make sure the diagnosis is accurate, asking
your doctor questions, and researching specialists and
Also important is encouragement from family, friends,
health providers, and support groups. Having someone to talk
to when you’re upset, or to help you out if you’re not feeling
well, is comforting. “We know that when people have support,
they have better health and mental health outcomes,”