Diabetes Essentials, part 2


In honor of ASweetLife’s second anniversary we’ve asked our bloggers to share their diabetes essentials with us, the things they can’t manage their diabetes without. 

We think you’ll enjoy the answers we’re featuring, and please feel free to leave a comment and share your diabetes essential with us.  We’d love to hear from you 

This is a two-part series.  For part 1, click here.

Jessica Apple

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.

Michael Aviad

When Jessica asked me what’s essential to my diabetes care, I had a hard time coming up with an answer. There are so many things- drugs, devices and people that are essential to good diabetes care. I mean, where would I be without my glucometer, insulin, blood tests etc?  But since I have to choose…

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

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with my continuous glucose monitoring system (currently the DexCom SevenPlus). Putting aside its design flaws, it is a huge relief to be able to go to bed at night knowing that if I drop too low or spike high as I sleep, my CGM will wake me up. It also lets me catch highs and lows before they get out of hand. And I love the fact that I have to change it once a week at most. I look forward to a day when the systems are more accurate, insurance coverage is easier to acquire, and CGMs are integrated with insulin pumps.
On the downside, though, having a device that constantly tells me my blood sugar also makes me more likely to constantly look at it. Sometimes, the consequences are dangerous: when I got my first CGM, I was so upset to see continued high readings (even though those readings were technically only about three minutes apart) that I stacked numerous boluses of insulin and ended up with a serious low. But sometimes the downsides are more subtle — it’s emotionally difficult to watch my blood sugar creep up, despite my having taken an appropriate dose of insulin, and not being able to do anything about the graph. I just have to wait.
It’s for reasons like that — and because of the myriad other emotional challenges that come with diabetes — that I so appreciate my other diabetes essential: my therapist.

Catherine Price writes the blog The Reluctant Diabetic.

Robert Scheinman

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.

Elizabeth Snouffer

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.

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