Making small changes for big diabetes management improvements.
October 2008 — October is my birthday month and this year I turned 40! I decided some time ago to have a big birthday party to celebrate this milestone. However, I had no idea how much work would go into it. Needless to say, as we got closer to the big event, I became more negligent of testing my blood sugar levels, especially in the morning.
I thought that I could go by how I felt to determine what my numbers were, but that was a big mistake! My type 2 diabetes should not be managed by simply how I feel. I have been taught this a million times and have learned lessons in diabetic classes held by my nurse and nutritionist, but I have also learned that in the real world if you don't know your sugar levels it is like walking around with a blindfold on. As the momentum was building for this diva driven birthday party/event, I also began to neglect getting in enough sleep and I was consuming alcohol more than I would normally.
Normal drinking for me is about two glasses of wine per month and I was having almost two bottles of wine everyday for about four days in a row! Needless to say the drinking and staying up late began to take its toll on me. I was also consuming foods rich in butter, oil, sugar and syrup with very little restraint. I should be ashamed and I should know better!
Testing has always been a struggle for me, so coming up with excuses not to do it seems to take hardly any effort at all. The whole truth about being diabetic and testing is that I could always test more and at the right times but I continuously struggle with this. I struggle with it because I am a hairstylist and pricking my fingers in the morning just to use them on coarse African textured hair causes some discomfort for me. I skip testing because I sleep in instead of rising early enough to put it into my routine. I ignore testing before meals because I deny the need to do so. I could go on and on about the plethora of reasons/excuses I have used in the past to neglect testing. What is more important here is to remind myself significant reasons why I should test my blood sugar levels on a regular basis.
Knowing my blood sugar levels can keep complications such as amputations, blindness, and heart disease at bay.
I can significantly lower my risk for experiencing the lows and the highs, thereby making my life more manageable and predictable.
Testing and having the ability to know the numbers at that very moment can help me keep my levels in check.
I can partner with my health practitioners to adjust medication if indicated and make empowered and informed choices regarding my care.
And lastly, testing will remind me of the seriousness of this disease and how I should always remember the importance of placing my life and health on the high priority list of things to do first.
The name of my 40th birthday party was a Soulful Celebration of Flyism, and I believe as a type 2 diabetic I can still be fly and diva, I can set goals to put myself first so that at 80 plus years I can say, "I'm here, I'm healthy and still Fly" so here are some goals for starters that I am setting for myself to Get It Together:
1. Set a time for bed to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
2. Check morning sugars at least 3 times a week.
3. Check pre-dinner levels at least 2 times a week.
4. Drink more water and find a physical activity to do 3 times a week.
5. Record my numbers and report to my diabetic nurse in 30 days.
I encourage readers to speak with your physician before making any changes, but I also hope that we can all try something new and positive towards better being a better diabetic, testing often, and working towards good diabetes management. Got it, sugar? Good.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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