How Has Your Diabetes Approach Changed Over the Years?
A diabetes philosophy may sound “too deep” for some. However, I think we all have a way we’ve determined we’re going to approach things in our lives. Call it values, work ethic, or a philosophy. Either way, it’s important to re-evaluate that every once in a while. Our experiences and other people can help redefine us and our approach to life - including diabetes (or in my case, how we help care for people with diabetes). That re-evaluation can also help you see how far you’ve come in your diabetes journey.
I’d like to share with you the changes I’ve seen in myself and those with diabetes over the years. Perhaps you’ll recognize some of these changes in yourself!
The need for a diabetes philosophy
I didn’t think I even had a diabetes training philosophy for a number of years - maybe it was the newbie in me. At first, I was just focused on tasks—getting it “right” when I discussed diabetes management options. I couldn’t see the bigger picture. And this is similar to what I see in those newly diagnosed. A focus on doing it “right" - getting diabetes management “perfect” or restructuring life so that diabetes and health is a high priority or focus.
Shifting your diabetes philosophy over time
Then, as time goes on, we realize that this initial approach is not sufficient enough — despite our best efforts and good intentions. For many of the people with diabetes I worked with, life got complicated, priorities shifted, social networks called them back. I realized, like the folks I was helping, it’s not about knowing information on diabetes. Great managers of diabetes (and the experts who support them) recognize that critical thinking and problem-solving skills are the foundation of great diabetes health.
I wasn’t wrong in my earlier years, and neither were you. Thankfully, perspectives and approaches to care, improve with experience and time.
My diabetes management philosophy
For now, here’s my philosophy, as it stands.
"As a CDCES, I believe the most important thing we need to remember is we’re helping someone on their journey with diabetes, not ours. They’ve given us the privilege to come into their story, even for a brief moment of time. We must be respectful and gracious with this invitation. Our job is to guide, support, challenge, empower, inform, and advocate so they have the tools and skills to be successful WITHOUT us."1
I encourage you to write down your philosophy for self-care in a special place. Somewhere where you can revisit it in 5-10 years. I’m sure we will both have an approach that is more well-rounded as we continue to learn and grow from each other.
How stressed out do you feel today?