Bev - Golden, CO

Updated:Sep 9,2010

Age: 56
Name: Bev D
Location: Golden, CO


I felt sorry for myself for a while and then gave myself a pep talk. This was the rest of my life -- and I had two options. Let it control me or I could control it. I chose to be in control.

I first should tell you about a pet peeve I have -- I do not like to be called a "diabetic" -- being labeled by a disease. I am a person with diabetes. Diabetes does not define me.

OK, I am off of my soap box. I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes at the age of 38 - I am now 55. As a nurse, I knew my risk factors - and quite honestly, I didn't take them seriously. (wish I could do that over again).

I was not surprised to get the diagnosis and I can't really say that I felt any emotion at that time. However, the first time I went to the grocery store after the diagnosis, I cried and had to leave. It seemed that food was now my enemy and I felt a great sense of sadness and loss.

I felt sorry for myself for a while and then gave myself a pep talk. This was the rest of my life -- and I had two options. Let it control me or I could control it. I chose to be in control.

That meant becoming an expert in diabetes. I also educated my husband and children. Since then, my diabetes has been very well controlled with A1c around 6.5. My eyes and kidneys are great -- no evidence of diabetes. I have no neuropathy. I am in control!

I have 5 tips that I live by:

Tip #1 My best management tip is to buy a 3 ring binder and keep your information in a single spot. This takes discipline, but is well worth it in self-management. I used the American Diabetes Association Guidelines to know what needs to be done for the diabetes. I developed a page that I use to guide my dr visits so I don't forget questions -- and I write the answers right on the page. I know what tests need to be done and how frequently, including eye exams and foot exams -- and I have a checkbox if I want to make sure it is done. I note any prescription refills I need. I also enter my blood pressure on this page as well as any other information I need to tell my provider (i.e. date of eye exam). I keep this posted on my refrigerator between visits so it is easy to add to and it makes my visits very productive. After my visit, I put it in my notebook. When my dr sends me copies of lab tests, I put them with the page. (If your dr does not routinely send copies, provide self addressed stamped envelopes). It is very important that you know your numbers and understand what they mean. Don't rely on your provider to just tell you "labs are OK". The page on top in my notebook is my most recent appt. Generally, I cleanout the notebook every year so it is not so big. I have a log page of all health visits - eyes, OB/Gyn pap, Family Practice, mammogram, colonoscopy, dentist, etc. And I have a single page with all medications listed with dosages (this page can help family members if I am unable to answer questions) All of this could be kept on a computer, but I like the notebook.

Tip #2 If you can afford it, subscribe to a diabetes magazine. If you can't afford it, go to the library or to the ADA website for information.

Tip #3 Pamper your feet. I never go barefoot outside or even on the beach. I am very careful to wear socks if there is any chance a shoe will cause a blister. Make sure you dr checks your feet - it is quick to do and you can just take off your shoes and socks and he/she will get the message. Also, make sure they check your nerve function with the little wire.

Tip #4 Keep your eye appointments and make sure your eye doctor dilates your pupils during the exam. Blindness is not fun.

Tip #5 Be an advocate for yourself. Keep your appointments, ask questions, be prepared. Ask for what you need - medication education, a nutritional counseling session, or time with a certified diabetes educator. Don't wait for your provider to offer -- it may never happen.



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