I’d like to say I’d thought about this long and hard, and it was the culmination of a life’s thinking about how we can best manage ourselves in terms of dealing with our diabetes. But that would be substantially overplaying my hand. It’s certainly something I’ve contemplated for a while and had a placeholder sitting in my list of topics to write about.
From what I’ve seen from the Diabetic Online Community and what I’ve learned through my life, the day to day reality of managing your diabetes comes down to two things.
The first of these is accepting that it’s your diabetes to manage. Not your GP’s, not the Government’s, not Diabetes UK’s or the JDRF’s. Yours. You have permission to treat it. To make changes. To adjust insulin doses and experiment. Your diabetes team and GP grant that to you. They’d like you to do it. It’s easier for them to manage their interaction with you if you take control. They’d really like you to grasp it with both hands, understand how it works and join the rest of us in the great “My Diabetes Science Experiment”, That’s the first thing to come to terms with.
For many that’s difficult enough. Accepting that it’s all about you and you alone can be a frightening and sobering thought for many people. Even more difficult is accepting that dealing with it is also down to you and that the healthcare profession would really prefer it if you did. But that’s the way it is. It’s a hard truth to learn, and truth be told, many find that difficult. The healthcare system could provide better pointers and information at diagnosis to provide you with a rough map of how to do it, but then, that’s why the Diabetes Online Community is so successful.
So we’ve established that you have to take responsibility for keeping yourself both alive, and in a state where you want to stay alive. Sobering thought, isn’t it?
But how do you do that? Well at its most base, as a Type 1 Diabetic you take insulin in appropriate amounts to keep you alive and your blood glucose where it should be. Now as a Type 2, you need to be working out what to eat to reduce an insulin release and start to reduce that insulin resistance and visceral fat levels. You may end in a similar place to Type 1s and become dependent on insulin as a Type 2 – but the principles remain the same.
Both of these have a common denominator. You need to know how your condition affects you and to be able to base your actions on that knowledge. And the reality of the situation is that there are a limited number of techniques for doing this. So far, we don’t yet have the Star Trek Tri-corder that can continuously monitor you and give you every small detail of what needs fixing and how to fix it! What’s the next best thing?
The 3Rs. And we’re not talking about the scholarly ones here.
Very simply, it’s Record, Review, React. This has an almost fractal quality to it. It works at the base level of a blood test before a meal and at the macro level of reviewing patterns at a day or week basis.
Let’s step through it and understand why.
This is where many people stop. Well don’t be one of those. Carry on with the next two steps and you’ve gone a long way to managing yourself. What are those?
You want to manage your diabetes? You need to know what it is doing, and this is a straightforward way to do it!