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.
I found this story on the Greater Good website and it’s worth reading. I was originally misdiagnosed (or rather, not even diagnosed). In February of 2011, I went to see an Endocrinologist. I had never been to one but I thought it would help since I believed that the trouble I was having was related to hypothyroidism and I was concerned that my primary physician wasn’t catching some stuff that a specialist would. I was constantly fatigued, depressed, thirsty, had to pee all the time. Right.
So I get to the this doc, whose name I’ll not mention, and this old bloke tells me that he has “seen this before” and what I really needed was to go out and get a career and a husband. Um, can we say jacka**?! He then told me in a condescending sort of way that he would pursue this with me if I wanted. I went home, frustrated, exhausted, and having to pee…again.
August 11th, 2011 I was in the ER. Diabetes. Diagnosed T2 only to realize later it was actually T1 (LADA). So, I know this happens and it probably happens more than we hear about since I suspect there are some serious malpractice implications that go along with these stories. But, whether caught early or late, here we all are, and here’s “Thirteen Years and Counting.”
After having too many low readings (30s – 50s) with no symptoms until feeling like I was going to pass out, I caved and got the Dexcom G4 continuous glucose monitor. I wish I would have gotten this thing earlier. It’s an awesome device. It spits out a bgl reading every five minutes. It’s user friendly, easy to insert, very small, and gives information on trending. Alarms can be set for highs and lows and I have been told there is an android app that allows users to get info off the monitor from great distances (think kids at school and such) though I haven’t verified this. It is tubeless, and comes in pink, blue, and black. Seriously folks, any T1 who has trouble keeping their bg where they want it should have one of these. Check out the Dexcom page about the CGM.
I have been in bed sick this week and normally in this situation keeping my bg in range is a futile endeavor but I have mostly been able to keep it in the 100s because I have known exactly what it is and where it is going. The information you get on trending with this monitor is invaluable. So take a look, and if you already have a CGM, share your thoughts on which devices and features you prefer.
This is a little off from what I would normally post but since it is a personal and related event, I am hoping you’ll be so kind as to click and vote for Rocky! Rocky is my dog. When I adopted him from the shelter a year ago, he was well on his way to recovering from untreated diabetes. He was so sick when he arrived at the shelter 5 months earlier, I don’t how he managed to survive. But he did…and so they named him Rocky. Since then, he has gone from being diabetic to having hypoglycemia. We can’t figure out exactly what it going on but one thing in for sure: this pup does not have stable blood sugar values. I have entered him into this contest on the chance that he should win and help to bring attention to both special needs pups and how prevalent diabetes is in humans and dogs! Click on Rocky’s name above or here to vote. The contest only goes through the 13th and you can vote daily so please click and vote today and everyday through the 13th!
It’s a great time to be a college student with diabetes.
OK, maybe it’s never a great time to have diabetes at all, but if you’re a PWD (person with diabetes) off to college at this time of year, you’ll likely have access to an amazing resource unlike anything offered ever before in the history of this disease…
Read more here.
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