Take Charge of Diabetes

Small changes, personal responsibility can lead to better control.

By Nicole Johnson, MA, MPH

So far, this year has been a whirlwind.  I am sure the same is true for you too.  I feel validated in a new way this year.  Turning 35 has lead to a new level of confidence and security for me.  I have new responsibilities, new goals, new dreams, and some failures to learn from. I am once again ready to take charge of diabetes.

Diabetes has been a big part of my whirl.  No matter how you put it or what you do, this disease is difficult to deal with.  Every time I seem to get into a good place, something happens or something changes and I have to start all over.  I feel that reality has been gospel for 2009. 

So when times get tough, I turn to the basics.  Tonight, I decided to take charge of diabetes by making renewed resolutions; small steps to hopefully result in big rewards. 

This week I am going to do one thing to try to get my diabetes back into shape.  I am going to not buy M&M’s.  Next week, I am going to try to run for 5 minutes in each of my treadmill sessions.  The following week, I may try to change my breakfast routine.  I hope these small efforts will result in sustainable results. 

I have learned the hard way that big changes are not effective or sustainable.  They are just overwhelming and set one up for failure.  Cue binge eating. 

My goal is to be better off by the summer – to take charge of my diabetes in a better way; to have a better focus on my food habits; to have an intensified exercise routine and even a better figure. 

This is important to me because of those dreams I am holding.  I am interested in more education, more achievement, more creation.  I can’t do more without personal improvement.

Recently, I started working in a university environment; it is one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I love the intellectual challenge, the emotional challenge, the personalities, the politics, and the personal stretching.  I am helping to frame a new focus on diabetes care in central Florida.  It is thrilling to be a part of this process. We are thinking big and differently about diabetes.  The goal is to create a new environment of care for people with this condition.  The fact that a patient is at the table is most exciting to me. 

I wish more health professionals would consider involving the person hurting in the care circle.  A young woman with MS once shared her motto with me and changed my perception of healthcare.  She said, “Don’t decide about me without me.” 

Opportunity comes with responsibility.  To effectuate responsibility and take advantage of opportunity, we have to be at our personal best.  For me to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in my world, I have to get back in the driver’s seat of my diabetes care.
In the fall, I would like to start PhD work, but without small changes toward better health now, I can’t.  I also want to see the dreams of a new reality in diabetes care come true.  What is it that you dream of?  What is it that you want?

I urge you to take charge of diabetes. Examine your world and decide how you can get to a personal place where dreaming and seeing awesome new realities are possible.   Maybe part of that is a new resolution; maybe it is demanding to be a part of your own care in new ways.   You know what I will be doing.
Nicole Johnson

Read Nicole's bio here.

Read more of Nicole Johnson's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

Last Modified Date: November 27, 2012

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Brenda Bell
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...
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