Accepting a diabetes diagnosis is difficult. I often hear people saying that they just ‘go through the motions’. They’ll take their medication as prescribed and be done with it. Some won’t even check their blood sugars. I mean, I totally understand. Life goes on as usual, and no one wants to think about living with a chronic condition. I think this is the difference between passively living with diabetes and owning your diabetes while taking charge of your life.
There’s no right way to manage diabetes; everyone will have different strategies that work for them. I still believe that it’s important for us to have a level of understanding when it comes to how our environment influences our diabetes. These are things we have the power to change and influence to the best of our ability to make diabetes a little bit easier to manage.
Obviously there’s a very fine line there as well. When I was first diagnosed, the ‘hope’ of diabetes reversal was dangled in front of me. Like a delicious honey roasted carrot on a stick, I went for it, which resulted in an unhealthy obsession with exercise, severe food restriction and a very unhappy me. What’s worse was that I was doing all this work, making myself unhappy, and yet my diabetes team were never satisfied with my A1c and glucose readings.
My educator at the time eventually asked me if I was enjoying what I was doing. I said yes at the time, but I really didn’t. I was going through the motions thinking it would be better for my diabetes.
After a lot of medication tweaking, continuous learning about the impact of various exercise, good nutrition and rest, I am happy with my diabetes management as a whole. I learned to explore to find the exercises and food that I love. I’m making it a point to catch and squash the negative self-talk and guilt tripping and rest when I need to. A lot of this came from trial and error (i.e. trying to figure out how to bolus for pizza), hearing people’s stories and experiences (i.e. where to put my CGM when boxing) and speaking with my healthcare team (i.e. tossing up between Fiasp and NovoRapid). There’s a lot involved and it was hard work!
Learning to live with diabetes is challenging. But going through that process made me feel empowered with the knowledge and feeling that I am taking control of my life. Especially as the lifestyle choices I make have had positive influences on other parts of my life as well. There will always be crap days where nothing goes to plan, but that’s part of life. The important thing is learning how to deal with that and move on. To me, this is what accepting diabetes means.