Check out the article here.
*Image copied from diabetes.co.uk
Congratulations! You are ready to manage your diabetes. You should be proud of yourself. The idea of managing diabetes for the rest of your life is huge and scary. That you are willing to commit to it is a big deal. Now that you are committed to your care, what do you do first?
Let’s take a look at the ten simple steps needed to successfully manage your diabetes.
Let’s break these steps down a little, shall we?
1. Assembling Your Care Team
Assembling your care team is actually pretty simple. If you already have a primary physician, you have already started to put your team together. In addition to your primary care provider, find yourself an Endocrinologist, a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), a Nutritionist, a Counselor, and a reliable pharmacy. Later on, if you decide to work devices into your care plan, such as pumps or continuous monitors, get to know reps for the company you are getting your device from.
Okay, so why do you need these people anyway? Your Endocrinologist is going to be one of your best resources for how diabetes works, how your body responds to it, and what to do about it. They can help match you and your body up with the right medications and care plan. You may be asking yourself, can’t my primary physician do that? Well, yes and no. Your primary physician will be able to prescribe medication and will have a good knowledge base regarding diabetes, but your Endocrinologist is specifically trained and works with endocrine disorders, of which diabetes is one. They will have superior knowledge of all of the current information, medication, resources, and devices pertaining to diabetes.
A Certified Diabetes Educator, or CDE, can be a life saver (literally). Their purpose is to offer you support and education. They can be the person you start with when you aren’t sure who to go to for help. CDEs have undergone extensive training and testing to become certified as educators. To find a CDE, start with your primary physician. You can also call around to local endocrinology offices, ask members of a diabetes support group, look online, or check with your insurance provider to see if they can recommend someone. Pricing will vary so be sure to check out a few options and be willing to ask about and discuss the cost of this service.
A Nutritionist is going to help you learn how to eat. Eat for diabetes, that is. The bottom line is that in order to really manage your diabetes successfully, and avoid as many high and low blood sugar readings as possible, you’ll need to cut out the junk and learn how to get the most bang for your buck from food. You’ll need to learn how to count carbs, how many carbs to eat, and how carbs, fat, proteins, and starches influence your blood sugar. Some of this will be learned through trial and error but a Nutritionist will be able to help you learn the basics and put together a plan to start off your new diet.
The Counselor. Like I mentioned earlier, they say that the first year of diabetes is the hardest and I agree. A lot of people find themselves depressed, frustrated, angry, and in denial. After all, it’s not fair that you have diabetes. But you do, and a counselor can help you to move through the times that are so difficult they make you want to give up. Then you can continue to learn how to help yourself. When these bad times come around, remember this: you really can do this, and you can have a great life in spite of diabetes. Just don’t give up. As my best friend says, nothing lasts forever, good or bad. Hold on tight and keep on going.
The pharmacy may be a no-brainer but still, make sure you have this set up. You’re probably going to try out a number of medications until you and your Endocrinologist find what works best for you. Be prepared for pharmacy runs.
These are all resources that will be a tremendous help to starting on your diabetes care plan and learning how to adjust your plan as you go. Don’t be afraid to change to a different practitioner or Counselor if you feel the first or second or sixth one you try isn’t the right one for you. This is your life, after all, and you deserve to be working with a team that you are comfortable with. Now, that being said, don’t let stubbornness get in the way of a good team (don’t switch to a different Nutritionist because you don’t want to give up cake and the one sitting in front of you is telling you that cake is a sure-fire way to spike your blood sugar so high it won’t land until next Tuesday). Once your care team is assembled, you are ready to put together your support network.
Some time ago, I started writing a diabetes management guide. I had no idea what I was doing when I first developed this disease. There was a lot that I had to figure out on my own. So I put this together in the hopes of helping someone else who is figuring it out on their own. Remember, this is NOT medical advice and part of a successful management team includes a primary physician and an Endocrinologist. However, it can be a good place to start learning about diabetes and how to manage it.
Throughout this book, you will find italicized words. These words can be found in the glossary at the end of the book.
This book is intended to give you a starting point for diabetes management. It is not a replacement for medical treatment by a licensed physician. Always consult your physician prior to starting, stopping, or changing your diabetes management methods.
I’d like to thank Shannon K. Black for help with editing, content, encouragement, and honest feedback.
Thank you to Eppy Ratner, the greatest sister a girl could have, for your love and support during my journey with diabetes, and life in general. My life would have a great, big empty spot without you.
So You Have Diabetes?
Welcome to a new life. It is a life where you make all the decisions. You are in charge of your diabetes management. It’s big and scary and overwhelming at first, and maybe you are thinking that it isn’t fair, it can’t be happening, or that you have been given a “death sentence.” Well, it isn’t, it can be, and it’s not. How diabetes affects your body has very much to do with how you choose to manage your diabetes. How it affects your mind is well within your control as well.
What follows is a beginner’s guide to managing diabetes. It will be a starting point, a place where you will figure out what to do right now and how to find what you need to do next to take care of yourself.
If you are a veteran diabetic, then you already know the emotional roller coaster that this disease has taken you on. If you are newly diagnosed, you are likely smack in the middle of that roller coaster ride. It’s okay to feel scared, angry, indignant, and overwhelmed. You are allowed to feel all of those things. Being afraid of diabetes means that you understand how serious it is and that means that you are willing to do the work required to manage your diabetes successfully.
It is very common for people with diabetes, especially newly diagnosed, to feel lonely. It is hard to imagine that anyone else could possibly understand what it is like. In a way, that’s true. Each person’s diabetes is unique to them. It is important to remember, though, that we are not alone. In fact, we are not even close to being alone in this. In the United States, there are approximately 29 million people with diabetes.* The chances are good that there are people in your life who have diabetes without you knowing about it. With so many people being affected by this disease, there is no reason to face it alone. There are plenty of resources out there that will help you connect with other diabetics. Many diabetics have personal blogs. More resources can be found in discussion forums, local support groups, and diabetes education centers. Internet meet-up sites are a terrific resource for connecting with people locally who are looking for the same type of community that you are. If there isn’t a group in your town for diabetics, start one!
No one is going to be more determined, more assertive, or more thorough with your diabetes management than you. Learn everything you can about diabetes. Learn about diabetes physiology, management options, and medications. After that, learn about nutrition, exercise, and relaxation methods. Head to your local library and check out everything they have on diabetes. Go online and visit diabetes websites. You will be able to find information on every aspect of living with diabetes. Watch documentaries, talk with doctors and diabetes educators, and familiarize yourself with diabetes management tools like glucometers, ketone testers, insulin pumps, and continuous glucose monitors.
The more you educate yourself, the better you will be able to manage your diabetes successfully. With education comes empowerment. With empowerment comes the ability to take charge of your health and your life. You can do this!
Reality Sets In: This is Forever!
For some people, a diabetes diagnosis feels like a death sentence. For others, its surreal—something that they never thought would happen to them. That was my reaction. The night I was diagnosed, a friend drove me to the emergency room after I told her that I couldn’t see anything clearly and could hardly stand or stay awake. She didn’t know what was wrong but she knew that my symptoms were dangerous. I argued with her, telling her that I couldn’t afford an ER bill and that I just needed to get some rest. She insisted and I finally relented. If it weren’t for that friend, I probably wouldn’t be here today. I lived alone. I was in between jobs. There was nowhere I had to be anytime in the near future.
In triage, a nurse checked my blood glucose level and after an entire day of not eating, my blood sugar was at 411. I remember the nurse looking at the meter and then holding it up for me to see. I looked at the meter, looked at her, and said, “What is it supposed to be?” “Under 100,” she said. They took me back to a curtained-off room and my friend, the driver, made sure I was comfortable, warm, and entertained. We made silly jokes to lighten the mood and during a pause in our joking, I looked at her and said, “Well, I didn’t see that coming.” I headed home a few hours later with my blood glucose level at 235, a couple of prescriptions, a new glucometer, a couple of pamphlets on diabetes and diet, instructions to follow up with my primary physician, and a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.
It turned out that they were wrong and after a brief honeymoon period and a very frustrating holiday season, I found out that I had become an insulin dependent diabetic. Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, or LADA. It wasn’t until that first insulin injection that I began to understand what it means to live as a diabetic. That was when it became real. That was when I understood that diabetes is forever.
Strangely, diabetes has given me a great gift. It has given me strength I didn’t know I had, a purpose in life, and the ability to work toward a goal in a way that I didn’t possess before. And for those things, I am truly grateful.
* * *
At some point, we all have to accept that diabetes is with us to stay. As a Type I, diabetes is forever. As a Type II, you may be able to reach a place where you are asymptomatic. If you have Gestational Diabetes, pregnancy may or may not be the only time you have to deal with it. Whatever the case may be, while you have diabetes, you have to be able to coexist with it. If you don’t, it will consume you. As diabetics, we have to manage our disease every day. As humans, we have to find a balance between our disease management and living our lives.
Initially, learn everything you can about your diabetes. Once you have done that, intentionally do the things that you love. Having diabetes doesn’t mean that you cannot have a high quality of life. What it does mean is that you have to consciously manage your diabetes and learn how to incorporate the things you love into a life with diabetes. To do this, work with your diabetes health care team and adjust diet, exercise, medication, and insulin levels as needed. Expect some trial and error. No one gets it right from the beginning. No matter how difficult it seems, you can do this. You cannot fail if you do not give up.
I have often heard it said that it takes a full year to really understand and learn to manage diabetes. In my experience, this is true. Over the course of a year, there is plenty of opportunity to become overwhelmed and wish diabetes would just go away. If you have Type II Diabetes, you may be able to reverse symptoms through diet and exercise. If you have Type I, that isn’t going to happen. You have diabetes for the rest of your life, unless a cure is found during your lifetime. It sounds horrible but you must accept it. Though great strides are being made toward a cure for diabetes, there is not, as of the time I am writing this, a cure. So what happens once we fully accept our diabetes? Well, that is when we really get to begin living, when we get to truly appreciate all that we have and all that we may be. Accepting your diabetes is vital to your successful management. After all, diabetes never takes a day off, and neither can you.
It’s been a few months and I’ve been busy with work, school, and finally finishing my diabetes guide. In final edits now and I will be publishing on Amazon as an ebook. As soon as it is live, I’ll be here with a link. I hope that it can serve as a starting point for those newly diagnosed, and help people to see that there are millions of us and that they do not have to feel that they are alone or unable to manage. Diabetes can be such a mean SOB and yet we live and thrive with this disease every moment. I hope that you are all doing well with your journeys!
I love this. People often question me about my diet and want to know why I eat “so healthy.” They usually assume that it is for medical and health reasons. They are often surprised to hear that I actually like vegetables and fruits over junk food. Next time someone asks why I eat the way I do, I am going to tell them that the Earth tastes wonderful.
Daddy is our cook, and last night he made a yummy veggie stew with tomatoes, leeks, carrots, asparagus, squash, zucchini, barley, and herbs. It was so, so good in my belly that I couldn’t wait for the new bite while I was eating the one in my mouth. I wanted it to get in my belly faster than I could even swallow it.
Because it cooked for a long time, it was soft and it melted together when you ate it. That’s how stew is, Daddy says. It cooks for a while, and all of the flavors come together in a way that makes it all taste yummy and slide right down into your belly. It makes you warm and cozy, and since it is cold outside here, that is perfect to make you feel sleepy and happy.
Before the food melts together though, it goes into the big strainer…
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Pricking your finger for a blood glucose test will never, ever be fun. Thankfully, scientists have been hard at work on a bloodless and needleless alternative: a rub-on temporary tattoo that, as weird as it sounds, gently sucks glucose through the surface of the skin.
The thin, flexible device created by nanoengineers at UCSD is based on the much bulkierGlucoWatch, a now-discontinued wristband that worked through the same glucose-sucking principal. But the electric current GlucoWatch used to attract glucose to the surface of the skin was too high, and wearers were not keen on the discomfort. This temporary tattoo gets around the problem by using a gentler but still effective current.
It then detects glucose through an enzyme that breaks glucose down into oxygen and hydrogen peroxide. The amount of hydrogen peroxide is a proxy for blood glocal levels.
Now, if you follow the glucose tattoo space closely, you might know that a permanent glucose-sensing tattoo has been floated as an idea before. But this is a different type of device entirely. For one, it’s not an actual tattoo that involves needles driving glucose-sensing ink into the skin. And for two, it’s already been tested in humans. A proof-of-concept study published inAnalytical Chemistry found it accurate at measuring blood sugar levels in seven healthy volunteers.
Of course, there’s still plenty of work to be done to make it into a device people can use at home over the long term. But a bloodless blood sugar test will certainly be welcome.
In all seriousness, please remember that pie is not worth DKA and turkey is carb free! Happy Thanksgiving everyone! And if you don’t celebrate, then Happy Thursday!
I recently read an article in which a Diabetic recalled being told at the time he was diagnosed that he would be able to “live a normal life.”
A normal life…
I do normal things. I go to work five days each week. I take showers and crochet. I walk my dogs. I chat with my sister on Facebook. But other than diabetes management being something that I have to do every day, it is not normal. Normal isn’t always normal just because it becomes regular or comfortable or predictable. There is nothing “normal” about a diabetic life. It will never feel normal to go to bed each night knowing that your blood glucose could dump in your sleep, send you into a diabetic coma, and never let you wake again. There is nothing normal about having to bleed, inject, log, and measure every day. But we all do it. There is nothing normal about having to run home on a break to inject a new sensor for the week or having to set aside 10-15% of my income to cover the cost of diabetes copays.
So, let’s stop trying to lead normal lives. Let’s embrace the difference. Let’s allow everyone to see how incredibly amazing we all are just for being able to not die from this disease every day. We are Diabetics. We are not normal. We are unbelievably strong. We can complete complicated mathematical formulas in seconds just to eat a meal. We are all endocrinologists, dietitians, counselors, and diabetes experts. We know how to adjust dosages, how to recognize and treat hypo- and hyperglycemia, and how to pick ourselves up off our rear-ends and run back out into the world without anyone even noticing that we nearly just died because our blood sugar dropped 100 points in 20 minutes and we were dizzy and swaying and so close to passing out that we considered in those moments the frailty of our existence.
We are not normal. We are the epitome of amazing.
Love and light.
I love crock pot soups and I had a hankering for cream of celery. A little google search brought me right here to WordPress, where I found this recipe. I modified it a little bit (just for personal preference) and it turns out great!
Follow the link above for the original by Chika Obih Wellness or use the tweaked version I did. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
1 medium onion
3.5 C chopped celery
1/2 C chopped carrot
2 t salt
1 t pepper
2 C water
2 C vanilla soymilk
1-2 serrano peppers chopped
3 T butter or butter substitute
Put all ingredients in a crock pot large enough to hold everything and cook on high for 3-4 hours. As the ingredients cook, the stock will begin to cover the top of the veggies. When you first start it, it will look like there isn’t enough liquid for the soup.
Once cooked, use a hand blender to blend soup into a smooth consistency.
That’s it! It’s comes out pretty hot with 2 peppers. 1 would probably be enough but go by your tastes.
Scholar. Writer. Philosopher.
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