Reach Out and Touch Someone
My husband asks me every week or so, "How's the diabetes going?" As I'm mumbling some innocuous answer, I'm always thinking: "Geez, no 20 minutes go by in my life when I don't think about this thing." It's so constant, so all-consuming. I've come to the conclusion that the only people who can really converse with you about it are others who live with it too.
That's why you're here on the dLife site, right?
On top of support groups and online message boards, did you know that informational classes and seminars are offered around the country by community groups and diabetes supply companies for minimal or no entrance fees? This is a great way to "mix" with other people with diabetes and learn something new about achieving better control at the same time. These classes cover the basics of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, effects and glucose trends, advanced carbohydrate counting and more. Two examples are the non-profit group TCOYD (Taking Control of Your Diabetes), and Medtronic MiniMed's free Patient Information Event series. Finding classes and classes and support groups in your area is as simple as a quick online search or calling your local hospital.
If you or someone you love is overwhelmed or under-motivated far beyond the point of this pep talk, there's still something you can do.
Clinics and medical groups across the country now offer top-notch diabetes education and meal-planning programs that are personalized for each individual patient. These one-on-one sessions with an educator or nutritionist help patients work out a treatment plan that fits their own lifestyle, so they can experience success rather than continuous feelings of failure. People with diabetes a decade or so ago could only dream of such help!
I recently read about a study in Detroit in which teens with diabetes were assisted with intensive, in-home counseling. No surprise that "diabetes-related stress was reduced," resulting in "improvements in metabolic control."
Thank goodness for this new focus on overall well-being. Years ago, patients were handed drug prescriptions and a strict generic meal plan and sent home. Anyone who didn't follow doctor's orders to the letter was labeled "non-compliant." Nobody asked how the person with diabetes felt, let alone how their mood or motivation level might affect their ability to care for themselves.
In short, the good news is: for whatever it's worth, now is the best time ever to have diabetes. Our "toolbox" of treatments is fuller than ever, and there are more programs, more classes, conferences, company resources, and a bigger support community available to you now than any time ever in history for any disease. That ought to give us some inspiration!
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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Ten years ago, I sat in my Primary Care Physician's office. I had just been weighed and measured. A nurse had just taken my vitals and my blood pressure had come in a bit higher than usual, which was no wonder because I sat there a nervous wreck. In the year since my last physical, I'd gained another fourteen pounds. I was the heaviest I'd ever been, the scale clocking me in at 228 at 5'3" tall. I honestly couldn't believe it. I knew that I hadn't gotten my eating habits under control in...