The first mistake I made was not getting a glucometer. It is near impossible to control your blood sugar if you don’t know what it is. For some reason, I thought you had to have a prescription to get one. I never even thought to look in the stores or online for one. This could have been part of my denial.
Mistake #1: Delaying glucometer use
I did not get one until after my second A1c test, which I am sure contributed to my higher result. I would definitely recommend getting a glucometer as soon as you can after diagnosis to begin working on lowering your blood glucose and in turn, your A1c. I do understand that the strips can be expensive, but if you look up complications to diabetes, you will see that the cost of complications to your body is far worse than the cost of testing supplies. Of course, talk to your doctor about prescriptions for testing supplies to help reduce the out-of-pocket cost.
Mistake #2: Underestimating type 2 diabetes
The second mistake I made was underestimating the disease. I had it in my mind that with a little medicine, it would go away. This is not like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. For most people, without significant lifestyle changes, you probably won’t have much luck with non-insulin medication. However, that was not going to be the case for me.
I was going to take the magical metformin and everything would be ok. Not so much. My A1c went up after being on metformin. I learned the hard way there is no magic pill that will reduce blood sugar with no changes in lifestyle. This is much more difficult to tackle and requires much more discipline than many other conditions.
Mistake #3: Inconsistant lifestyle changes
While I did make some lifestyle changes, they were not the right kind. I did start exercising some and even participated in a few local races. This is probably the only real positive change I made, but with my work schedule exercise was pretty inconsistent.
Dietary changes are where I really failed. When I was diagnosed, I tried to cut out some of the junk I was eating. What I essentially ended up doing was exchanging one bad food for a seemingly healthier version of junk food. I also kept up my habit of grazing at work on foods that would still raise my blood glucose levels. While not the only factor, I do believe constantly grazing on food at work is the main reason my A1c went up. In my opinion, this is one of the worst habits a diabetic can have.
Mistake #4: Denial
Even with the test to prove I was a diabetic, I felt like there had to be some kind of flaw. There is no way I could be a diabetic. It didn’t run in my family. Other than some frequent urination, I was asymptomatic. In the back of my mind, I knew I had it but I still let myself live like I didn’t. Because I couldn’t feel it hurting me or hindering my life in any way, it was easy to ignore and chalk it up as a bad test.
The hardest part of a new diagnosis is accepting it. You have to accept it if you are going to make the changes needed to control this disease. I didn’t and I got worse instead of better.
What "mistakes" have you made since your diagnosis and how have you changed since?
Has diabetes changed your exercise routine?