The Diabetes Family Affair (continued)
Find Others in Your Shoes
One HUGE way to take the pressure off your family and help you deal with your own diabetes better is to meet other people with diabetes whose family situation mirrors yours, either in person or online.
"Get yourself out there in the diabetes community!" Kassie says. "In a practical sense, knowing other people with diabetes is the best thing you can do for yourself. Being able to toss out questions and ideas, support and empathy, is key." How true! This is where you'll get the best tips on how to actually do what your medical professionals are calling for.
Another big theme among parents with diabetes is fear that their children will get it. Chatting with other diabetics can help you stay calm during those quiet little moments of parenting panic – like don't freak out if they wet their beds!
Don't Worry, Be Motivated!
I know this sounds cheesy, but it really does boil down to attitude: your family won't feel like diabetes is an unmitigated disaster unless you do. There are the occasional relatives who will treat your diabetes like a death knell, but you can just kill ‘em with kindness. Keep smiling as you remind them that diabetes is the most manageable of diseases.
Much more important is finding your own inner motivation. An excellent WebMD article on the diabetes family affair concludes (as I do) that pleasure in succeeding is key. "If you find pleasure in seeing a 5-pound weight loss or in exercising a few minutes more than you could do before, that's the path to success. You can find pleasure in gradual change."
Finally, Kassie says her biggest takeaway was this: Whether you're trying to get pregnant, generate energy for your children or grandchildren, or simply enhance your relationship with your spouse, taking care of your diabetes has to be about YOU. "Do it for yourself first, and then get the benefits!" she says.
Right! So now I tell my kids, "Mommy's not sick, she just has to take extra-special care of herself with diabetes." I think even Barbie can handle that.
- WebMD's "Type 2 Family Affair" article: Daniel DeNoon on genetics, food, exercise, fear, and control issues in the family.
- DiabeticMommy.com: forum and chat on diabetic pregnancy, conception, and parenting (requires registration).
- Naomi Berrie Center in New York: forward-thinking family-based diabetes care program.
- CDC Diabetes Family Center Support Project: five-year study on diabetes education and the family.
- La Diabetes y La Unión Familiar: US-Mexico family-based diabetes support program.
Read more about Amy Tenderich.
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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