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This is a two-part series. For part 1, click here.
I couldn’t manage my diabetes without my husband, Michael Aviad. I’m not talking about emotional support here, or companionship, or even love. All of those things are essential to every part of my being. But the reason Mike is essential specifically to my diabetes management is because he cooks! Mike prepares almost all of the food in our house, and though he’s shy to admit it, he’s a fantastic cook. He’s also a thoughtful cook who goes out of his way to prepare low-carb dishes that his very-picky-eater wife will enjoy.
It’s pretty safe to say that without Mike’s cooking, my meals would all consist of a few spoonfuls of almond butter out the jar. Or else they’d just be carbs.
Jessica Apple writes the blog The Natural Diabetic.
The first thing I’m going to mention is my insulin pump (Medtronic Minimed VEO) which I got only a few months ago. It has truly changed my life and has helped me improve my blood sugar control. It’s not perfect, but I feel that it has earned its place as my diabetes essential. The second thing I’m going to mention is something I’ve always hated about myself. Yes, something I hate about myself has become essential to my diabetes care: my love handles. After years of trying to get rid of my love handles, I now appreciate them. I have found that love handles make for a perfect infusion site. It’s not too painful when inserting into them, and most importantly, it’s less likely the infusion set will fall out of them while I’m running. So here’s to a little belly fat!
Michael Aviad writes the blog Diabetes – It’s an Endurance Sport.
Catherine Price writes the blog The Reluctant Diabetic.
My father and all of his brothers developed type 2 diabetes in their 50s. It is almost a genetic certainty that I will be following in their footsteps. However, as my doctor points out, this can happen in my 50s or in my 80s. Exercise has been a great way to keep blood glucose levels down. I write extensively about the science behind it in my blog in this magazine. For me, the motivation to exercise comes from the potential adventures I might experience. Most of my friends play hard and by keeping in shape, I can keep up. Here’s a picture of me engaging in me mixed climbing (rock and ice; a 3 year-old-hobby that kicks my butt). The key is to find friends with whom you can share a sport.
Robert Scheinman writes the blog A Biologist’s View.
When Jessica first asked me to write about the one thing I couldn’t manage diabetes without, I immediately thought about something tangible like (exogenous) insulin but decided it was a cop-out – I wouldn’t be alive without it – so it does more than help me manage life.
Glucometers, insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors make diabetes much easier to live with, but are analogous to a race car driver who, when is asked what is key for success, replies, “It’s the car engine.” I don’t think a driver has ever credited his engine. It is rarely the machine that’s critical for success, but always dependent upon the skill of a driver.
Was it me? Are my persistence and resilience truly the one thing I could not manage my diabetes without? Surely these qualities have always ranked up there. My “never-give-up on diabetes ‘ism” (a diabetic optimism) has been with me for most of my 37 years as a type 1 and has pulled me through isolation, depression, medical emergencies, my quest for the best doctors (which worked) and finally, my internal coach which has always helped me avoid the downward spiral of bad sugars, even on the darkest days. However, this iron will and determination is both a strength and a weakness mostly reflected in my need for perfection — a state of being that is nearly impossible for an insulin dependent patient.
What could it be? When I dug deep inside my diabetes soul, I found an answer and it was my a-ha moment.
When I think about the past and present dedication of all the researchers, scientists and doctors, I feel a responsibility to work harder. Maybe I work harder because of their tireless dedication (thank you, Charles Banting) which is still progressing today and is best reflected with advances in technologies, transplantations, encapsulations and even new compounds. While many patients and carers bemoan the slow progress of a diabetes cure, I see it another way. Every ounce of scientific thought, every particle in clinical study, every patient that volunteers for research and every researcher burning the midnight oil are all critical components dedicated to the possibility of one bright light–the discovery of a cure for diabetes.
I don’t think I could manage diabetes half as well if I thought no one was working toward the cure.
The one thing I can’t manage diabetes without? Hope.
Elizabeth Snouffer writes the blog The View From Asia.