I know that in my diabetic journey, I often had to learn things over time and even learn some things the hard way. When I was diagnosed, I was told that I could just take a pill and "fix" my diabetes. I can now see that was woefully naive. It took me a while to figure out that a low carb diet really helped. And it took me an absurd amount of time to finally learn that only "I" could take care of myself.
All of this is patently clear in hindsight. Here is Kelly Close in her recent newsletter talk about her reflection on her 26th diaversary (that is a diabetic anniversery).
... this month marked my twenty-sixth year of living with diabetes. On days when bad news comes out, where it’s easy to get disheartened and feel like we’re not making enough progress, it can be good to look back on how far we really have come. Anniversary dates offer a natural opportunity for reflection, and I can still picture vividly October 17, 1986. I was learning to put insulin into a syringe and then to put a syringe into an orange. "Did you learn how to give yourself your morning and evening shots?" an attending doctor asked. "Yes. Yes, I did!" I wanted out of that hospital, even as I suspected a long, arduous journey lay ahead of me. And as I reflect on the past 26 years, I wish I could go tell my teenage self some things about just where that journey would take me and the things I would learn along the way.
I wish I had known that syringes would become very tiny and wouldn't really hurt an iota (I feel many people still today don’t know this and I so want to shout it, to exclaim, this is so easy). I’m so glad for this.
I wish I had known that one day, I would consider NPH a curse word. I wish I had known that more stable insulin would be coming in 1996 and beyond. I wish I had known that it didn't make sense to take six units of NPH in the morning and at night and six units of regular in the morning and at night, faithfully, religiously, no matter what my blood glucose was, what I was planning to eat, what my stress level was. I wish I had figured out earlier to adjust my doses based on how I felt.
For more reflections, check out the full article from Kelly, then share what you see very clearly in hindsight.
In hindsight, I now see that everything about diabetes is always changing, and to not hold on to old beliefs.
I remember in the late 1970's when doctors told me that complications happen to some, and not others, and 'no one knows why'. I accepted this as fact and hoped to be one of the lucky ones. When BG testing and MDI first became available, I was still taking 1 shot/day of Lente, and thinking it was working, so why should I change ? My first instruction for using Regular was to check BG after meals, and do a correction if high.
Then came the wake up call - diabetic retinopathy, that changed my ways. So to answer the question "What can you now see ?" Fortunately after laser treatments and surgery, my vision was saved, and starting MDI and counting 'exchanges' was my new normal. I started a journey to learn more and seek out others with T1. Before then I had never even met another T1 !
So my advice - learn as much as you can, seek out others (like here on TuD), and always challenge the status quo. Treatment for diabetes is NOT one size fits all, and doctors are just one of many sources of help and information.
p.s. I too remember learning how to inject, using oranges ! Do new folks still do that ?