Meet the Advocates: Meryl’s Journey Helping Those With Diabetes
Our latest 'Meet the Advocates' series includes details about their experience helping others along their diabetes journey. Meet, Meryl!
What role has type 2 diabetes played in your life?
While I don’t have type 2 diabetes, I have worked with individuals that manage their diabetes in a variety of ways from lifestyle changes to oral medications to insulin injections to insulin pumps. What I have learned from the patients I consult with is that each form of treatment can be challenging. When a person receives a diabetes diagnosis, they often go through an adjustment period. This time can feel less overwhelming if it is met with good support from family and friends and early education on diabetes self-management.
What advice do you have for type 2 diabetes management?
Diabetes is managed in various ways to meet glycemic targets. One of the most important tips I can share with those that have type 2 diabetes is the need to start insulin is NOT a failure but rather a way to keep glucose levels within a safe range and ultimately reduce the risk of chronic complications. I believe the potential need for insulin should be discussed from the time of diagnosis; this will keep the lines of communication open between the patient and their physician and hopefully reduce the fear and stigma often associated with injections. When a patient is started on insulin, it is especially important to involve a Diabetes Care and Education Specialist to provide education on proper insulin injection technique, location of injections, and how to rotate injection sites properly. Also, blood glucose monitoring will likely need to be done more frequently, so it is also essential to review how to use a blood glucose meter and application of a blood sample on the test strip.
How can others take care of themselves when they feel frustrated, burnt out, or down?
Self-care is so important! Diabetes burnout can and will likely happen at some point in time. Finding a hobby and participating in physical activity are great ways to take care of yourself and get away from everyday diabetes frustrations. Managing frustrations can also help in controlling blood glucose levels. Attending diabetes support groups and/or speaking with a counselor can also help a person vent frustrations in a safe and better cope with burnout. One of my ways of coping with tough days is getting caught up in a great audiobook (it is an excellent way to escape temporally!). I often will listen to my audiobooks while on a walk.
Fun fact: I have worked as a Diabetes Care and Education Specialist for the last 12 years and have been a contributor to Type2Diabetes.com since 2014. During my years of practice, I have been allowed to work with people of all ages and from a variety of backgrounds. I enjoy the connections I see people making in the Type2Diabetes.com community. The support I see others giving each other is excellent!
Do you like to eat grilled cheese sandwiches?