In diabetes life, it’s often a good idea to stop, take a few moments, and think about how you can improve your life with diabetes on board. My suggestions for diabetes New Year’s resolutions have less to do with basic management and more to do with just making life great. Consider these – and share yours, too.
Try something new:
A CGM, a different pump, a new way to prep for a workout- this is the season to try something new. How? Decide what that thing is that has been intriguing, yet scaring you, or ponder the thing friends have been swearing by. Then talk to your medical team and find a way to give something new a try. Trying something new can be a win either way: if you love it, you have something good to add to your life. If you don’t, you know why you don’t and you appreciate what you use or do.
Try something old:
Old school still rocks in many ways, and sometimes it seems like all the new we have coming at us is smudging away our memory of the old school things that work. So this new year, try something old. How about these: figure out the carb counts of food the old way. You may find you learn more about the foods you are eating or feeding your child. You may find that certain foods respond differently in you than in others. Or this one: ask your endo team to help you learn how to do multiple daily injections (MDI) if you’ve always been a pump family (or if you’ve been one for a very long time now). Knowing MDI is a great resource. If a pump has issues, it won’t be a big deal while you wait to resolve them. And if the zombies get all our technology, we’ll be all set.
Help someone else in this diabetes world out:
When things are rough or when you’re feeling bleh, sometimes the best way to help yourself is to help someone else. Reach out to another person with diabetes, or another parent of a person with diabetes and offer to have coffee with them. Buy a cute pump case (we love Tally Gear!) and randomly send it to someone who pumps, just for no reason. Or sign up to help the JDRF “On Line Diabetes Support Team” and answer questions for people who are struggling. Helping someone else is a great pick me up. And if we all follow this, then just when we need it, someone will help us out.
Donate to a diabetes nonprofit:
Charitable contributions to diabetes research is a top priority. But often overlooked are the charities working around the clock to support people living with diabetes. People who don’t live with (or close to) diabetes often don’t understand how difficult life with diabetes can be. Consider donating to some (or all) of the following. Even donations of a few dollars make a big difference.
Life for a Child provides insulin to children in developing countries who have no access to it.
Diabetes Media Foundation publishes this magazine, ASweetLife.org, which provides free articles about living with diabetes, and inspires people with diabetes to live well.
Diabetes Hands Foundation supports the TuDiabetes community forum, which brings together people touched by diabetes.
Children With Diabetes is dedicated to providing education and support to families living with Type 1 diabetes.
The College Diabetes Network empowers and improves the lives of students living with diabetes.
The Diabetes Scholars Foundation not only has given millions of dollars in college scholarships to students with diabetes, they send families to the Children with Diabetes Friends For Life Conference every year.
The T1D Exchange is working to better the diabetes world in many ways. Their bio bank is speeding up Type 1 diabetes research.
Meet up with real diabetes world people in real time:
Sure, online is great. But nothing trumps real life support and bonding. And while it does take some planning, there are plenty of opportunities to do just that. Consider attending Friends for Life, the Children With Diabetes massive and awesome annual event in Orlando each July. (Adults with Type 1 – your community is there in force, too!).
Contact your local JDRF Chapter and ask them when their Type One Nation event is scheduled. Most JDRF Chapters have them now, and they are not only fun, they address issues for people with diabetes of all ages.
Look up the Diabetes UnConference if you are a person with diabetes. Or just ask a bunch of folks you’ve supported online to get together. We need real world friends in our diabetes world.
Vanquish fear in life with diabetes.
This one is no easy fix. Fear may very well be the number one complication impacting families of children with diabetes today (and many adults, as well). As we glimpse more into life with diabetes, seeing more glucose trends thanks to tools, hearing more stories thanks to social media, being told more and more to fear… it might be crippling many of us. So how does one vanquish fear? Start your year by sitting down with your medical team with a list of exactly what you are afraid of, and ask them to help you, baby step by baby step, to learn to move past each fear. Imagine if a year from now even half our level of fear had dissipated? Now, that would make 2015 a year of great victory.
Do something to change our world.
It does not have to be a 100 mile one day charity bike ride (but if you are into that, I can help!), but if each of us does something, any little thing, it will add up to a huge shift in our world. Donate five dollars to someone riding or walking. Call your local charity of choice and offer to answer the phones for a day. Host a coffee time for other folks with Type 1 diabetes or kids with Type 1 diabetes in your area. Sometimes, the little thing is the thing that changes the world.
So: who’s in?
Happy New Year.
Moira McCarthy was pursuing her dream career in active sports journalism when her young daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1997. While she continued on that route, writing for the New York Times Sports and Leisure Division, Snow Country Magazine, Ski Magazine and becoming a daily newspaper sports columnist for the Boston Herald, she also began dedicating much of her life to diabetes advocacy and education. Author of the best-selling “Raising Teens With Diabetes: A Parent Survival Guide”, and “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Raising Children with Diabetes,” she is a long-time JDRF volunteer. She chaired JDRF’s Children’s Congress, was National Chair of Advocacy for three years and National Chair of Outreach, and was named the 2007 JDRF International Volunteer of the Year. She speaks national about raising children with diabetes and thriving in that life. Her daughter, who graduated college in May of 2014, is her proof that people certainly can.