Five things Diabetics really need to know

Five things Diabetics really need to know

This week I appeared as a guest blogger on Karen Graffeo’s site Bitter~Sweet

I hope you will take time and drop over and check out Karen’s site. She is one of many terrific bloggers in the diabetic sphere. I am absolutely thrilled I was asked to guest blog on Karen’s site. She runs such a cool little corner of the world.

One strange thing about it is that I wrote the blog about 2 ½ months ago and it was published on August 13, 2014, the day after the Detroit area was inundated with a massive rain that destroyed much of my son and his family’s basement. If you read my blog titled ‘Spring Rain’ I think you will see the irony of the two events.

This is the second part of the blog I wrote for Bitter~Sweet and it speaks the real things diabetics need to know. I am writing it thinking of kids (Teenagers) mostly but I think adult diabetics will agree with most of the five items on the list.

In the Bitter~Sweet blog I suggest that while Doctors, CDE’s, Dieticians and others do a good job of offering information about diet, diabetic care, consequences of not caring, and all the rest but they miss the real things that diabetics need to know. Here is my list:

5. How to say no to food. We tend to hear all manner of ideas about what to eat and how to eat, but they almost never tell us how to handle those awkward social situations where we encounter Aunt Jean with her special fruit cake made of sugar free specialty aged sugar coated pineapple. Many of us find that when we are confronted with our first family gathering, we come under such intense pressure to eat harmful things we simply cannot figure out how to say no. I think our professionals need to give us better tools (especially at first) to say no. Very few professionals do this.

4. How to ask for help when we get off track. One thing I have learned in my 40 years of dealing this disease is that it is never too late to get back on track. Once I went off the rails I was so far out, I had no idea how to get back. Turns out it was simple as making an appointment with a family practitioner and asking for a referral to a decent Endocrinologist. Given where I was with my diabetic management it was shocking how fast I was able to reenter the system that I thought was inaccessible.

3. How to respond to our feelings of shame and upset about our new disease. I had no idea how immediately isolated I would be after I was diagnosed. I was not ashamed of being a diabetic, but I was ashamed of needing help, any help. Being diabetic was so crazy that there was no way I knew how to ask or even what I needed help for. We need the option of easily accessible therapy as part of the diabetic treatment plan. It would have made a big difference in my life if someone would have suggested that I see a therapist and establish a relationship to seek help.

2. When and how to give in to temptation. I learned a great lesson from of all places the nursing home my grandmother lived in before her death. On Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day they served pie. All diabetics were offered a piece of sweet spicy apple or pumpkin pie. For the most part this place regulated food like a prison because almost all patients were type 2’s. My grandmother (a type 2 diabetic) called me the second year she was there to say they had given her pie and it was so good. It was a special treat to her and she noted that they gave her extra blood sugar checking after lunch and more insulin. Here is the thing, the nursing staff and dieticians knew when to give in and to when to hold a tough line. Our professionals need to give us those tools as well. Many of us are only told no never do this, but we never hear ‘hey it’s ok to take a liberty’, too much no, and never when, breeds contempt for the whole system of diabetic management.

1. One thing I have learned from being on TUD, is that most of our kids and many of our adults need frank and instructive talk about dating, sex and relationships with diabetes. I do not see anyone doing that. How many times have some of us heard a question about what we do with our pump on the first date? How do we discuss injections at the first meal with a new date? When do we discuss testing with a person we are interested in? Those are very real questions no one takes time to help new diabetics with.

1.a) When and how do we tell a potential employer about our diabetes? Like a personal relationship, employer relationships are built over time. So when should we disclose our diabetes, and how? It seems to be one of the most important questions no one tells new diabetics.

So as always that is my list of five. I do not offer it as a complete list and I do not suggest I have good answers. I know what worked for me these past 40 years. But what works for me is not what works for everyone and I certainly know I have no great answers. But asking the questions at this point may be more important than having the definitive answers. I invite comments.

I also ask again that you check out Karen’s sassy, spunky site for the first part of this blog.



Thank you so much for the wonderful guest post - it was a pleasure to host you on my blog. And you have an open invitation to guest again any time the mood strikes. :)