Diabetes management is ultimately in your own hands.
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!
June 2007 — It is easy to judge how others manage their diabetes. From those who stock their homes with calorie-rich and low-nutrient foods to those who do not make an attempt at an active lifestyle, I am guilty of creating assumptions about how other people approach their diabetes care. I know that not everyone has good health insurance and first-rate diabetes education.
Living in my dual diabetes household, I want to believe we are doing the best we can. We have rid our cupboards and refrigerator of most calorie-rich and low-nutrient foods. Physical activity is mandatory, not optional. Yet, just as we have different ideas about how to spend money or how to improve our home, we have different ideas about how the other should be managing their condition.
Even without sweet treats and white bread products in our home, I cannot resist temptations on the outside – at work or while dining out. Greg tries to understand my fascination with these simple carbohydrates. As someone who claims he never had a sweet tooth even before type 1 diabetes took over in early adolescence, however, he grows frustrated at my continued obsession. I choose to put the nasty stuff into my body and I know it bothers him to see me do it.
When I first began reading online experiences from people with type 1 diabetes, I found very few people still using multiple daily injections (MDI) for treatment. Instead, they were using insulin pumps with notable success, though I realized this was a technology-savvy bunch of people who didn't necessarily represent the entire type 1 diabetes population. A couple of years later and with an A1C creeping up to less acceptable levels, Greg is still using MDI to control his diabetes. I keep bringing up the subject of pumping as a way to curb the ever-increasing A1C levels. I know his objections – being attached to the device 24/7/365 and being set in his ways. But I still wonder why my own technology-savvy husband could balk at a gadget that could help him achieve the excellent control he once had.
What we have to remember about each other's diabetes care is that ultimately, the decisions we make for ourselves are made by the individual. Unlike the issues of how we spend our money or choosing our next home improvement project, which require compromise, the way we treat our bodies is more of a personal choice. It may hurt Greg to see me taking that second –and then third – piece of bread, and it may disturb me to read lab results of his that aren't ideal. But we cannot control what the other is thinking and doing.
And that is something I need to remember when looking past our lives with diabetes toward others facing either type of diabetes. No one is perfect in his or her care. We all have our faults. How each person with diabetes approaches his or her condition is a personal choice.
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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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