What I Wish I Had Known about Type 2 Diabetes at Diagnosis
Every year in November for Diabetes Awareness Month, I make a list of things I wish I had known when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes back in 2005. Here are some of the musings this year, as I focus on how all of us with type 2 diabetes are part of a community, but one where everyone’s experiences are different.
It’s a long haul with type 2 diabetes
There will be periods when you follow the meal planning you and your doctor agree upon and exercise five times a week. There will be times when none of that happens due to burnout or other stresses of life. There will be times when you make a decent effort at counting carbohydrates, maybe slipping in a treat here and there, and manage to exercise three times a week. How you react to these ebbs and flows is what is important.
The HbA1C tests that happen at least a couple times a year and the blood glucose readings that happen daily are a point in time, just a point in time. If life is stressful, those results may be indicative of the stress and not necessarily how well you are following your chosen meal and exercise plans.
Small steps do lead to bigger differences
I slowed down the past three months after training for a 10k run, and especially during the first month. Soon, I saw blood glucose numbers creeping up, and decided to tame them with quite a bit of walking during a couple weekends of travel along with exiting my morning and evening trains a stop early to get in steps during the week. That was enough to stop the blood glucose readings from getting out of my preferred range.
Sometimes giving support is just as getting support
Whether in a formal support setting, or an informal conversation with a co-worker you just found out also has type 2 diabetes, it can be good to connect with others with the condition.
What works for one individual’s type 2 diabetes may not work for another
The best example I use is how I can easily have a banana with a large dollop of Greek yogurt for breakfast and might see a 20-point jump in fasting blood glucose, if any; while many others I know cannot eat a banana at any time without spiking 60 points or more, regardless of whether combined with a protein and/or fat source.
Most of all, and the greatest lesson? Nobody’s perfect. We all struggle at times, we all find success at times, and both of those things are absolutely okay to feel.
How well does your doctor explain diabetes care terms to you?