Diabetes affects the whole family, whether you’re a parent, sibling, child, grandchild or spouse. This week on the blog, we’ll be featuring stories about loving and caring for someone with diabetes.
I love everyone with diabetes! And that includes myself.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 24 (I am 28 now). I have no family history of type 1, and I have only one friend with this chronic disease.
My diabetes journey has not been easy. I started with injections, and after a year and a half I decided to get an insulin pump. This switch helped me gain better control. I’m also not as self-conscious about giving myself insulin in social situations—I used to dread that every time I would go out!
For the past five years I have worked as a CNA (certified nursing assistant). I am currently attending a nursing program to become a diabetes educator. I work with my patients in their homes, as well as in long-term care and hospital settings.
When I share with my patients that I too live with diabetes, I often hear that they don’t have enough of the resources they need. They are not educated about how important it is to control their blood glucose levels, whether it be through diet, exercise or medication. That’s where I come in!
I try to make diabetes education fun for my patients. They need concepts and instructions that are easy to grasp, and they need encouragement. It takes patience to be in control of this disease.
I always remind them it is a 24-hour lifestyle. We don’t get any breaks in life. If we want to relax or have a cheat day, we have to think about how it’s going to affect us in the long run. If we get sick, we need to think about what our blood glucose will do. How do you maintain good control when most cold medicines raise your levels?
And yet, if someone’s numbers are high one day, you can’t let them think the battle is over, that diabetes has won.
My patients have become my extended family, allowing me to open up about my journey with type 1. When others can relate to you, when you have stories to share, it certainly makes diabetes a little easier to handle. My outlook has improved.
Be compassionate. Support always goes a long way; it reminds those fighting this disease that they are not alone! Spreading awareness in your community is a great first step toward empowering those who battle diabetes on a daily basis.
To all those who live with and take care of a loved one with diabetes, I commend you! It is no easy task.