Welcome to November! This is the month of giving thanks and preparing for the Christmas Holiday. It is also a time of reflection as the year draws to a close. November is also National Diabetes Awareness Month. There are many great causes happening this month to highlight the need for better Diabetes education and the importance of maintaining continued research in looking for a cure. The JDRF, what used to be called the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, is a leader in raising funds and awareness of how to improve treatment options for those with Type 1 Diabetes. While that cause is truly noble, I write today not of raising money but of raising awareness that YOU hold the keys to better health.
I have been living with Type 1 Diabetes since August of 1991. Um, that’s over 22 years! Actually, that’s about 8120 days, or 194,880 hours of living, breathing and thriving with Diabetes. Those 22 years have resulted in over 40,600 blood glucose checks, and more than 32,480 insulin injections. That’s a lot of poking and sticking going on. I’ve been through more than 15 different blood glucose monitors, have gone from using pork insulin and drawing up into a syringe, mixing and making sure each insulin dose is correct to using more synthetic versions of insulin that are “cleaner” and don’t cause insulin site reactions. Today’s insulin now comes in a convenient “pen” that only requires attaching a needle to it to allow for injection. The insulin pumps, that many with Diabetes use, continue to decrease in size and improve accuracy and titration of insulin to better meet the needs of the person with Diabetes.
I still wake up every morning wondering what this day with Diabetes will hold but I am always thankful for the opportunity to share another day with my family and my friends. While having Diabetes never gets easy, living with Diabetes is very manageable. Treatment guidelines and management goals can be individualized for each person attempting to gain better control. Successful Diabetes management requires focus, commitment and sacrifice, not just for the individual diagnosed with it but also from the family and friends of that individual.
I do hope a cure for Type 1 Diabetes is found. But I am not asking you for money to support that cause. I am asking you to take control of your health now. Stop making excuses as to why you can’t eat right or exercise or visit the doctor. You are much more powerful than you realize! Step up and take the challenge to change your life. We don’t have to have complex algorithms to achieve this. Start with one small step. Be it recruiting friends to walk with you each day or eating at least 1 piece of fruit everyday. Remember, there is no finish line in this race. This is a long journey that will change and evolve as we change and evolve. We have to allow ourselves the opportunity to completely mess things up but we must also keep our eyes on our goals. We have to keep a positive outlook!
So, if you have Diabetes, whether Type 1, Type 2 or Gestational or have Pre-Diabetes, take the opportunity to learn more. Seek out the counsel of Certified Diabetes Educators. Become an active participant in your own health care. We don’t need a health care reform act from the government to help us become healthier. We need to reform ourselves and our way of thinking. We can do this!
It’s Your Health. It’s Your Life. Make That Change!