Let’s round out the week by sharing our best diabetes tips and diabetes tricks. From how you organize supplies to how you manage gear on the go/vacation (beach, or skiing, or whatever). From how you keep track of prescription numbers to how you remember to get your orders refilled. How about any “unconventional” diabetes practices, or ways to make diabetes work for YOU (not necessarily how the doctors say to do it!). There’s always something we can learn from each other. (Remember though, please no medical advice or dangerous suggestions.)
Man, this was a tough cookie! Tips and tricks to handle my diabetes, do I have any? I guess if there was one tip I could give, it would be about how to approach the mentality of diabetes. When I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2011, it wasn’t that much of a shock. My dad has diabetes, and his dad had it, too. I didn’t have too much of a lifestyle change – my family ate healthily, I exercised (ok not a lot, but I still went to Zumba once a week), I’ve never been a huge drinker, and I was conscious of my general wellbeing.
The one thing that I wasn’t prepared for, was the thoughts that would go through my mind 24/7. Every little thing I did, affected how I felt. Diabetes is tiring, intense and doesn’t give you a break. Before I received any formal education for my diabetes management, I didn’t really know how to go about my diabetes. I tried to follow my dad’s approach, by not eating anything I shouldn’t, and eating every 3 hours. This worked for my dad, so it should work for me, right?
Except, it was difficult to stop thinking about that lovely little chocolate bar. And it was difficult to eat every 3 hours, when my IBS flared up. It was particularly horrible, as I forced myself to eat, even when my stomach was bad. Diabetes was making me miserable.
As I’ve said before, the DAFNE course completely changed my attitude toward diabetes. It taught me to relax, but not neglect my diabetes. It taught me that everything is ok, in moderation. Most importantly, it taught me to pay attention to my diabetes, for me. Not for my DSN or consultant, not for my family or friends.
Revert back to when you were a teenager for a minute. How many times did your parents nag you to tidy your bedroom? Did the nagging make you want to tidy it? No. Did your teacher nagging about your homework make you do it any faster or with more enthusiasm? I’m going to bet it didn’t.
I feel just like this, with my diabetes. I’ll be honest. Nagging me to count the carbs when I’m ravenous, isn’t going to make me thank you. It’s going to make me grumpy for holding me back from my food. Nagging about the impending 9pm basal injection is going to fill me with anxiety, if you nag enough.
Let’s flip things. If I’m counting the carbs to see the patterns in my sugar levels, I’m going to be intrigued. I’m going to want to calculate my meal’s carbs. If I’m injecting at 9am and 9pm, I’m doing it because I want to see my sugar levels
remain steady. Not to sound rude, but I’m doing this for ME. Not YOU. I’m doing it for my diabetes.
I’ve found this attitude has helped me stay interested in my diabetes, interested in what certain foods are doing to my sugar levels, how far I’ve dropped etc. I like to stay in touch with my diabetes, when it’s not seen as a chore.
Do it for you, not anyone else around you; not even your DSN or consultant! Your diabetes is YOUR’S for life, so look after it because you want to look after yourself.