A Balanced Life
A good life with diabetes is a balanced life.
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
February 2009 —Beginning late last fall, for the first time I can remember, we live with no family pets. Blossom, our much loved Dalmatian, and Zo, our eighteen-year-old cat are both gone. It was a sad occasion that took a lot of time to heal. Maybe that is why I became fascinated with the TV show The Dog Whisperer. Cesar Milan, the dog psychologist known as "The Dog Whisperer", makes living with a troublesome dog seem so easy.
I have now had the chance to put to use what I have learned from Cesar. While our son, Seth, is serving in the U.S. Army, we are giving his two dogs a home. Alexander and Bear are sweet dogs but they don't always listen to me. I'm trying, but either the dog whisperer's training concepts aren't working or I'm really bad at training "the boys." Why did I think it would be so easy?
With just a few basic concepts, living with any dog can be a joy, according to the dog whisperer. The goal is to make sure your dog lives a balanced life. To make this happen the pet owner must be in charge - the pack leader. The dog is the owner's responsibility and he must be willing to take the time to train the dog. Next, the owner must use discipline to provide adequate training. Exercise plays an important role, according to Cesar. Then - when your pet is showing calm, submissive behavior - affection is appropriate to reinforce the idea of acceptable behavior.
These concepts are to be applied consistently to achieve your goal of a balanced pet and a balanced life. It all made sense to me. It seems like I have known these ideas for a long time.
Suddenly it all sounded familiar! The Dog Whisperer's training principles are basically the same ones I use to live a balanced life with diabetes. I am in charge of my disease. While I have the support of others it is my responsibility to do what is necessary to take care of myself. It takes discipline to eat properly, test my blood sugar regularly, and do everything I can to live a balanced life. Exercise is necessary to keep my blood sugar in an acceptable range. This is how I live my life on a full time basis. I can feel good about all I am doing to keep myself healthy - my idea of affection.
I'm still working on training Alexander and Bear. We watch "The Dog Whisperer" together sometimes. They pay a lot of attention. It must be working. They have me trained quite well. I'm quick with the treats and affection. How can I be so bad at dog training but apply the same ideas to myself and have them work so well?
I suppose fifty years of practicing diabetes care does give me an edge.
Cesar Milan has nothing to fear from me. I may not be much of a dog whisperer, but I'm one powerful "diabetes whisperer!"
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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