Diabetes is not fun, there is no denying that. However, I have found that it has taught me A LOT since I was diagnosed in 2013. Since then, I have met quite a number of people who had been diagnosed after myself and I find myself talking about the inevitable changes that are going to happen in their lives. Although our situations and management might be different, there are still a lot of similarities. So, whether you are newly diagnosed or have had diabetes for a long time these 10 things are something that we all share!
1)You will become a master planner, always thinking 2-3 steps ahead
One of the biggest factors in managing diabetes well is planning ahead. This means making sure you have all of your supplies ready and easily accessible, snacks, and a back up plan. Whether you are going to the grocery store or taking a trip, you will need to think about possible scenarios that you could encounter.
2) You will build resilience and grit
Diabetes is constant. It requires your attention and respect at all times. Learning how to deal with this ever constant compadre means that you will tap into your strength and will power that other people sometimes never do.
3) You will get to know your body very well
Throughout your many experiments during the day you will begin to notice how you feel when you are high/low/in the sweet spot, rising or falling, how you react to certain things, when you need to eat , etc. You will notice how the smallest change can make the biggest impact because you are constantly getting feedback from your body (both sensory and visually through your bg numbers).
4) Health will take on a new meaning
Being “healthy” with diabetes means so much more than a good blood glucose reading or A1c. With everything that we have to manage/monitor from eye and feet exams to burnout, you will realize that health is an all encompassing term that includes the trifecta of body, mind, and soul. All of these work together to move you towards your optimal health.
5) You will appreciate the little victories
First time eating pizza and rocking your blood glucose? BAM! Rocking a hard workout with beautifully stable numbers? YES! Trying a new food and not spiking? SURE DID! With a chronic disease that you are constantly dealing with, it is imperative to recognize the hard work that you are putting in and the wins that you are achieving. Although it might not happen every single time, you are having wins!
6) You will become very good at math!
You are going to become a walking calculator, just like your math teachers wanted you to! Diabetes is all about math. From carb counting, insulin ratios, boluses, extended boluses, and correction factors (including many others not mentioned) you will master math. You will probably become the go to person in the friend group from now on to figure out to figure out how to split the bill and tip 😉 Take pride in that!
7) You will learn how to conversations with strangers about a topic they are probably misinformed about
There is A LOT of misinformation about diabetes out there and most of the time people will be more than glad to tell you what they know. This can be from an old remedy that their grandmother used to do to telling you why you got diabetes (or asking you what you did). It is important to recognize that moments like these are a golden opportunity to help them understand. They don’t live with this disease and it is important for them to get the facts right.
8) You will automatically become friends when you find out they too have diabetes (yay for diabuddies)
Whether running into a diabetic “in the wild”, through social media, local groups, camps or the plethora of other avenues to meet them there is an automatic connection between people who have this disease. Take advantage!
9) You will learn self compassion
Einstein defines crazy as doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results…. What I say is doing the same thing over and over again and getting different results! That is what can happen with diabetes, though, and when it does it is so so so important to practice self compassion. There are times when your numbers aren’t perfect and that’s ok!
10) You could STILL live a long and healthy life, complications free with well managed diabetes…. WELL managed, not perfectly managed
It used to be that diabetes was a death sentence but with all of the new technology, research, and medicines that is not the case anymore! Research has proven that “well managed diabetes will lead to a long and healthy life” (Bill P. he is a diabetes psychologist and amazing resource, plus he is funny too!)