DV: Everyone has their specific journey with diabetes. How would you describe your journey with diabetes so far? Do you feel like you are in the driver’s seat?
Anthony Anderson: At first, I wasn’t in the driver’s seat. Diabetes blindsided me. Back then I felt like — How am I going to deal with this disease? — but you have to. I was in my early thirties when I was diagnosed, and my son was one year old. I was the first person in my family to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and then my father was diagnosed later, after me. But you know, looking back one thing is pretty clear, my father probably lived with diabetes for more than 20 years undiagnosed. Now that I know diabetes symptoms, I can see that my father exhibited them. He was living with diabetes when I was a teenager, he just didn’t know it. And then my mother subsequently was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes as well. Family is a huge part of my journey with diabetes.
DV: What are the things that you actively do to help manage diabetes?
Anthony Anderson: My thing is walking and jogging on the treadmill. I put on my headphones and get lost in my world or listen to music for an hour. Sometimes I do that twice a day because it’s very efficient for me given my schedule. I also have a trainer in Los Angeles that I work with four times a week. It’s a mixture of cardio, strength and boxing. So, we work out with weights and then do some boxing, then cardio. Healthy eating is equally important. I have better control of the things I consciously do. I have more control of my health in terms of being diligent such as making time for the gym and eating the right foods. It’s all about making healthier choices.
DV: Do you mind talking about your medical treatment for diabetes?
Anthony Anderson: Sure, I can talk about it. I’m on injectables now. I am not averse to trying anything to make my life better. You know people with type 2 diabetes like me start on orals and then move to injectables. There’s some trepidation about that. We all want extra time to work diabetes out. People get nervous when a doctor says it’s time to start insulin. I know how it goes! People not wanting insulin say, Wait a minute, give me a minute! I’ll work this out. I’ll get some control! I got this. Give me another month doctor! The doctor says OK, you’ve had thirteen years to get it together, but it hasn’t happened. So this conversation continues with the doctor saying Ok I’ll give you another month, but it will be the same diagnosis – you still have diabetes and we’re still going to recommend injections. I’ve learned to do whatever it takes to be healthy to manage this disease.
DV: Was there a point in your diagnosis that you had an epiphany and was there someone who was key in your life for support during that time?
Anthony Anderson: Dr. Anne Peters is my doctor and has been for 15 years and she’s more than just a doctor to me, she’s a friend. In terms of someone in my life that encourages me and helps me get beyond and through my diabetes, it’s my doctor. In terms of a wake-up call or epiphany, there were a few events taken together that had an impact. The list is long. Losing my father to complications of diabetes 10 years ago had a huge effect on me and my need to take diabetes seriously. There are other things, too. Having friends whose family members develop kidney disease and are on dialysis and then my friends who’ve lost family members to diabetes. All of these losses made me take stock of my own situation with diabetes. There’s also my good friend who lost his big toe to diabetes but he was so nonchalant about the fact that he lost a toe. I told him No! We are not OK with you losing an appendage to diabetes. We should never make light of diabetes. All of these things were a wake-up call. I didn’t want to end up as a picture on the wall or a memory for my family. I want to be there for them and in order for me to be there for them, I need to take care of myself, even if that means kicking it up another ten notches. Diabetes is nothing to play with.
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