Hi all. I'm here to see if I can get any wisdom from those of you who have had diabetes longer than me. I was diagnosed about 2 months ago and I've gathered from other posts that people here are all over the spectrum as far as how long they've had it. It may be helpful to a lot of others like myself who are just starting out to hear from some of you veterans out there. More specifically; Is there anything you wish you had or had known up front that would've helped you in the long haul either with management or with your health? Is there anything you wish you had done or started doing right away that would've helped your health and management or prevented any complications?
To be clear, this isn't the thread to say "I wish I had never gotten this" or bemoan your diabetic state. So please, keep things positive here! Hoping to find some great insight and learn from others!
One thing I did correctly: I have Type A tendencies (although I would say I am not a true Type A). When I was first diagnosed, I read about really hardcore Type 1s who were very rigid in their control and stressed over their BGs. It was really detrimental to their health. I decided that that could potentially be me, but that all that stress would not be a good thing. So I take really good care of myself, and have consistently for 17 years, but I don't stress over imperfection.
Hi awg! I'm at 43+ years, since 16yo.
One way to keep track of your physiology at home is to get some multi-stix urine test strips. I keep a vial on the back of our toilet. They have 10 reagent blocks that measure for glucose, specific gravity, pH, blood, keytones, bilirubin, uro-biligen, protein, lymphocytes, and nitrites in your urine. Online you can figure out what each one means and get a sense of how your kidneys, liver, hydration etc. are doing and get an early heads up if you need to see your doc. I've caught bladder infections early because of the lymphocyte test, for example.
Good heart-pounding huffing puffing exercise of some sort that you actually enjoy will offset shortcomings in control - I guess because it clears your vessel's down to the capillaries, like a flood cleans a creek? Counters depression well too.
Experiment. Be brave. Learn to be your own doctor, adjust your own insulin dose/basal rate, whatever. If there is something you've greatly enjoyed in your pre-diabetic life that you think you must give up now (microbrew beer, in my case), don't be afraid to be your own science project and tinker with insulin/timing/testing to see if you can keep your happy thing. IF you can't, find new happy things, as many as you can. Depression is rampant with this condition and deserves your creative defiance.
This is year 20 for me. I think the only thing I'd have done differently is I'd have startd paying attention sooner. I am just no getting to the point of understanding all the ins and outs - I have always just done/eaten what I wanted, and taken extra insulin to cover it. I wish I'd not done that because I've created a fascade for myself and my family/friends that there's nothing "wrong" with me. Yes, I am in control.. but I could have been in way better control a lot sooner :/ I would have eaten better and exercised more. For sure. :) Good luck!!
Hi awg. I can tell already that you're going to take great care of yourself. You ask good questions and you express empathy for others. IMHO that's a winning combination.
I've only been dx'd since October, but in addition to diabetes I also have MS. When I was dx'd with MS over 25 years ago, I was told that I might not be able to have children, that I should expect to spend long periods of time in a wheelchair or to be in one permanently, that I would probably lose control of my bladder and bowels at some point and that I should recognize that I would be dependent on others for my care much earlier than most people. Well, I've had three healthy, beautiful children. I was only in a wheelchair for a few weeks when I broke my leg 14 years ago. I have full control of all my bodily functions. Everyone may need to depend on others for care at some point and few expect it to happen when it does. I'm grateful that I have people in my life who love me and whom I can trust to care for me if I need them to do it.
I think that being diagnosed with a chronic, incurable condition is always traumatic. It's a profound disruption in our lives, our sense of ourselves and of our bodies that usually forces us to make significant, lasting changes in the way we live. You seem to be a bit like me in that you're eager to learn as much about diabetes as possible. That's wonderful, I think. What you learn will be immeasurably helpful to you. Just recognize that you're bound to feel grief, anger, frustration and loss sometimes, too. Those feelings can surface unexpectedly. It's okay to feel them. Having them doesn't mean you're not taking care of yourself or that you're weak or out of control. They're part of being human. I hope you have someone you can talk to at such times and, if they last for too long, that you can get help to overcome them in healthy ways.
I've always told my children that we each need to decide on the kind of world we want to live in and then we need to live in that world. We make our own reality in many ways. I've decided that I am having and will continue to have a good, healthy, productive life in which I can be a strong, loving and caring person. One part of that is that I expect to look after my diabetes and I expect there to be as many or more significant, positive developments in our understanding of diabetes in this century as there were in the last.
Ann, your post reminded me of this that my mom used to have hanging on our fridge while we were growing up. It doesn't directly mention diabetes or chronic illness, but it's certainly applicable I think.
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.”
- Charles R. Swindoll
In our case, we cannot change the fact that we have this chronic condition, but we can control the 90% of life which is our reaction.
Cool Mom. And you're a cool kid (at almost 60 I can call you that, right?)That quote is just so true. You're gonna do great!
You may call me a kid if you like, won't bother me one little bit! It'll keep me thinking young. =]
I just copied your mom's quote and sent it to my 22 year old daughter. Thanks for posting it.
I wish that everyone had access to blood glucose monitors so they could see what foods affect them. I thought I was doing the right thing eating rice and whole grains and drinking Diet Pepsi when I was in my 30s. Food trends seem to change every 5 years and the only way a person really knows what's going on with his own body is to test and see. But our medical system waits until we're past the point of no return, THEN we're told to monitor our blood sugar. It should be a common thing for everyone to do, long before a doctor tells us we have a problem.
58 years and I cannot begin to describe all the "I wish I had" back then (1957). SO different now. I was a terrible patient BUT I am glad I am still around to tell the tale.
Since this thread seems to be winding down I thought I'd go ahead and put in my last 2 cents. It's a bit too early for me to look back and say "I wish I had..." and we all know there's nothing that any of us could've done differently to prevent this. But one thing I think I did correctly was coming here. Finding a forum of people who I could talk with, vent to (if it becomes necessary), and learn from. I originally had no intention of interacting here, just reading the posts and lurking if you will, but I'm glad I started posting and getting feedback. It's nice to have a place to come that is "safe" where most everyone understands the general trials you will face on the diabetes journey. Thank you to everyone who posted here (and those who might post here in the future too!). It's been great being able to learn from you all.