Until There Is a Cure: The Latest and Greatest in Diabetes Self-Care
Copyright © 2013 Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE
Provided with permission from Spry Publishing LLC.
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Excerpted from "Until There is a Cure: The Latest and Greatest in Diabetes Self-Care"
Improving your diabetes management is just that … doing better. Not perfect. Improvement requires the right attitude, education, and the ability to utilize the best tools and technologies the diabetes industry has to offer.
Exactly where does managing diabetes rank in your set of personal priorities? If your diabetes is not well controlled, how will it affect you at work? At school? At home? At the gym? In bed? Although nobody would expect you to place your diabetes self-care above the immediate well-being of your family, it should hold a prominent place in your life. So be prepared to invest some time, energy, and funds into your diabetes management.
Persistence is another valuable trait. Over the course of your life with diabetes, there are sure to be many setbacks. Out-of-range readings. Undesired lab results. Lows at inappropriate times. And possibly the development of complications. When these things happen, it helps to live your diabetes life one day at a time. You can't change the past, so don't worry about what you did (or didn't do) yesterday. And you certainly can't live tomorrow until tomorrow. Every day represents an opportunity for a fresh start.
The right mental approach also includes a degree of discipline, sticking to a plan even in the face of distraction and adversity. Maybe not all the time, but certainly most of the time. From my experience, people who are disciplined about things like keeping records, checking blood sugars, counting carbs, taking insulin before eating, and putting appropriate time frames between their meals and snacks (to avoid "grazing") tend to have better blood sugar control over the long term.
In terms of motivation, fear (of complications, for example) can be powerful, but it tends to be temporary. Long-term motivation stems from something personal that comes from within. Are you the type who is motivated by short-term challenges? Then play the numbers game and work on improving your control. Are you the type who will do things for others before you'll do them for yourself? If that's the case, serve as a role model for someone else or dedicate your diabetes self-care to someone special to you. Sometimes, motivation can come from a tangential goal, such as participating in an athletic event, having a baby, or simply being around long enough and healthy enough to dance at your grandkids' weddings. Whatever your motivation, latch onto it and use it to fuel your daily choices and activities.
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Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...