Greta: I deal with diabetes on a daily basis; one day at a time. I have had type 2 for eight years, and every day I strive to maintain my glucose levels. What I found important for me is to pack all my meals for the day. That way, I am not eating improperly. Also, checking my levels 3 or 4 times a day helps to keep me stay aware of the diabetes. Exercising is also key: If I can walk or do some type of cardiovascular exercise every time I eat, it makes a huge difference.
MarvellaRose: I've had type 2 Diabetes for nine years. Coupled with eating disorders and hypothyroidism, it's been very challenging. My danger zone is emotional eating, which I consider slow suicide. What helps? Talking about the challenges that diabetics face every day, working through the emotional issues, keeping only healthy foods at home, and regular exercise. Monitoring daily blood sugars and exercising every day helps, too.
The online journal this site offers can be helpful [see the Healthy Living Programs page]; I struggle with compulsively journaling and have decades of food journals because of the aforementioned eating disorders. Creating balance and establishing new patterns for a healthy lifestyle, learning to love and accept myself, and educating those around me about diabetes and what to do in the event of a health crisis are actions that help manage the multitude of challenges diabetes presents.
Justjoan: I am 54 and have had type 1 diabetes for 42 years. I go to Weight Watchers and have lost 32 pounds, and have kept it off for 2 years. They teach you how to eat and how to deal with your emotions, food triggers and other issues. Of course you have to be strong, even though sometimes I am tired of being so diligent and wish someone would prepare my meals and test my blood sugar, but it is up to me, and you have to have the will to survive and lead the longest and healthiest life that you can. I have been on an insulin pump for 21 years and I highly recommend wearing one.
Wigglebeans: The best resource I had after my diagnosis was "Diabetes for Dummies." It scared me so badly that I had my sugar under control within two months. I have since slipped off the wagon a bit (I am an emotional eater), but am working on getting back on track. I still take Metformin daily, and now battle my high cholesterol as well (common in diabetics). I look at every day as a learning experience and a challenge.
I was first diagnosed when I was 27. I was sent to the hospital with DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis). I thought I was pregnant, not diabetic. They initially diagnosed me with type 1 diabetes. After I was on insulin for several weeks, they thought I had a combination of type 1 and type 2. Several months after being on both oral meds and insulin, it was determined I had type 2. My diagnosis was hard for me--I didn't know diabetes ran in my family. I was determined not to let this control my life.
I have a tight network of doctors and specialist that have been extremely supportive and provided valuable resources. I recommend keeping a journal of the times you check and the level of your sugars. Journal what you eat when you are having trouble, and let your family know what your levels are, and how they can help you.
Don't deprive yourself. If you want ice cream, have a little. When you ignore cravings, you can end up incurring drastic consequences. I find that if I tell myself no, I later end up binge eating the same things I said no to. Diet and exercise have been great treatments for me. I have started packing meals at night, counting my calories and increasing my exercise. I am hoping to maintain my sugars, lose the extra 40 pounds and get off the medications.
Sharon: I was recently diagnosed with diabetes. I am not on medication, and so far, I am able to control my glucose with diet and exercise. I now try to stay away from foods containing gluten, and that is such a huge help. Yes, I am a carb junkie. However, I am learning more about whole foods--rice, couscous, oatmeal, etc. I've also started eating more soy ... I love soy ice cream. I don't deprive myself of the chocolate, if that is what I am craving. I can get two small truffles as a treat every other month. Also, telling my friends and asking them for their support helps. I have a large group of friends and they are willing to help me eat better.
Casscadian: My 9-year-old daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in January after being admitted to the ICU in diabetic keto acidosis (DKA). Shortly thereafter, my mother and my wife's father were both diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. As a family, we've been thrown into the deep end of the diabetes pool.
My daughter is active in sports and checks her blood sugar eight to 10 times a day, and self injects her insulin four times a day. She is luckily to have really good A1C levels thus far. However, we're researching the various insulin pumps so that when the time comes to get one for her, we can make an informed decision. We're also intrigued by the technology advances in the continuous glucose monitors and are hopeful that their stability and efficacy can be proven enough to qualify for insurance coverage in the near future.
My advice to other parents in this situation is to get involved, read, and be a strong advocate for your child. No, it's not easy. Yes, it sucks. But our kids count on us to be strong for them.
Reprinted with permission from myRegence.com