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I try to visit DiabetesTeam at least three times a day. Sometimes it is more often and sometimes less, depending on how busy my day is. What keeps me coming back is finding out how others are doing and what is on their minds. I haven't been on the site that long, but feel I am getting to know some of the people better and want to catch up with them. And I want to welcome the new members and assist them in any way I can to make this journey easier for them. I have stage 4 chronic kidney disease and want to help others avoid this if possible.
Diabetes is very time-consuming. Every evening I plan the next day's meals, set out the next day's supplies, and if I am going out I have to figure out what pills and supplies I will need to take with me. I have to constantly be aware of the time. I have to eat meals at certain times, take readings and insulin before a meal, take pills after each meal, and make sure I am drinking enough water. Others do not understand all this. I cannot be spontaneous anymore because I will forget something that I CANNOT forget.
At Easter some of my family met at a Chinese buffet. I ate properly for the most part, but skipped the pre-meal testing and insulin because I would have to fill my plate and run off to the bathroom before eating to test and inject. My family doesn't get this. I prefer to stay home and stick to my routine but can't do that all the time either.
The site allows me to share this type of problem with the others if I want to, and to see how others deal with these situations. I can then choose to take or leave their suggestions or to choose the one that suits me best.
I wish some of the regulars on the site would add more responses to other's comments so they know they are heard and that their comments are important enough for a reaction.
Here are my Top 3 tips for managing diabetes:
1. Get organized. I stay organized by writing myself notes. At night I make a list of what I want to do the next day. Number 1 is always TIBP. T - test my blood sugar. I - Inject my insulin. B - Eat my breakfast. P - Take my morning pills. Before I started writing it down I often overlooked the pills. As actions are completed, I scratch them off my list.
Also at night I put out everything I need for the next day: four needle heads, my strips, meter, insulin, lancets, and pills. This way I can easily see if I have taken my insulin at noon because there should only be two needle heads left for dinner and bedtime. It may seem a bit obsessive-compulsive, but it works for me.
2. Share your routine. My friends are getting used to my routines. I used to have lunch together with my friend on Thursdays. Now we chat while she eats because her lunch break is at 11 a.m. and I can't eat before 1 p.m. I meet another friend on Saturdays. We used to eat a bag of chips and chat. Now I eat yogurt and cheese curd, and she buys a muffin. I inject without anyone noticing but her. I don't test at this meal because it would be too obvious to others.
3. Don’t ignore your symptoms. My diabetes wouldn't have progressed this far if I had known from the beginning what can happen if you ignore it. For over 20 years after diagnosis I ate what I wanted, didn't exercise, and lived life like diabetes wasn't there. Now I suffer the consequences of being on insulin four times a day and having kidney disease. I never thought it could happen to me.
This article was written by DiabetesTeam member Kathy as part of the Member Spotlight series. Kathy is retired and loves knitting and animals - especially cats.
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