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Season 1, Episode 2 – What your diabestie wishes she knew before her diabetes diagnosis

Hindsight is 20/20, and there are so many things I wish I'd known before my diabetes diagnosis.

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Mila Clarke: Welcome to your diabetes the podcast that ensures you never have to do diabetes alone. I’m your host Mila Clarke. I’ve been living with Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults a slow progressing form of type 1 diabetes since 2016 and I have a really crazy history with my diabetes diagnosis. We talked about it on the first podcast. So if you want to hear all about how I went through misdiagnosis how it went through the medical system. And it sucked you can listen to the first episode. It really details everything that you need to know, but I wanted to take this episode to really talk about the things that I wish that I knew when I was first diagnosed with diabetes and a lot of us talk about our initial diagnosis.

Mila Clarke: And we really talk about the fear the feeling of struggle the feelings of judgment the feeling that we have failed our bodies or that we’ve done something wrong with ourselves. And I really wanted to take some time to comfort people who are newly diagnosed. There’s someone diagnosed with diabetes. I think I saw status every 25 seconds. Which is staggering, That’s a lot to go through that is a lot of people who walk into now having to own this illness that they did not ask for and that they might not have any idea how to manage and that they may feel incredibly stigmatized by and so I wanted to

Mila Clarke: Just take the opportunity to talk about that initial feeling when you’re first diagnosed. It’s different for everyone, but I’ll talk about how I felt and some of the things that I wish I had someone to tell me at the front end of having this diagnosis come into my life.

Mila Clarke: Before we get into it this podcast by me. I’m sponsoring my own podcast and plugging my app which is called glucose guide. You can find it on IOS and Android it is a wonderful space a wonderful Community to get recipes to have a judgment free zone where you can talk about things that you’re going through with diabetes every Tuesday. I do an office hour session live with the community so you can chat with others and also learn about a topic that has maybe been on your mind for a really long time. It’s a great way to get information. There are recipes. There are self-care modules. There are courses on living life with diabetes. I think it is probably the best place on the internet for people with diabetes and I’m not just saying that because it’s my place that I created but

Mila Clarke: I have developed and run and managed communities for many organizations and people that I have learned exactly what works and I’ve learned that a judgment free zone that is communicative that you walk into and you’ll know that you’ll be greeted and that is Judgment free. It’s just super important for people living with diabetes. So if you’ve got the time go to the App Store in the Google Play Store download my app. It’s called glucose guide. The app is free the information the content is free. So get what you got to get and join this community.

Mila Clarke: So when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2016, that was my misdiagnosis. My doctor literally told me at the end of the follow-up appointment, here’s medications read the bottles take them exercise. Here’s an app to be able to do that eat differently and I’ll see you in three months and to be honest. I went home and cried because I didn’t know what any of this meant or how I Was going to get through it and I honestly threw the medications away because I didn’t want to manage that way because I had been taught through di stigma that if you’re having to take medication for diabetes, you’re doing it wrong.

00:05:00

Mila Clarke: Which is just such a terrible and wrong thought but I also thought that I ruined my life. I didn’t know where I could start. I didn’t know who to talk to where to go and I didn’t know what resources were out there. And at the time I couldn’t really find other people who were talking about living with type 2 diabetes and for me I felt lost and I felt really depressed about the entire diagnosis and it’s because for my entire life I had been trying to fix my body I had been on diet after diet. I had spent hours and hours in the gym. I logged every piece of food that I put into my mouth. I tracked every macro and I just felt like my body was in Revolt and I just felt like I was in this really dark place and then when I was diagnosed with diabetes, I thought

Mila Clarke: I did all of this work for nothing like how could this happen? How could I do this to myself when I have been working so hard and as soon as I got to a laptop after leaving the doctor’s office I Googled what to do when your first diagnosed with diabetes total Millennial fashion. And there just wasn’t advice that felt like it applied to me and I of just left in this hole. There was no one that I felt like I could be friends with or that I could turn to or talk to I just felt like I’m alone in this and I have to figure it out and That kind of inspired me to write about the things that helped me get through the days and the months ahead and that’s also where where Henry woman started was just this. desire and this

Mila Clarke: almost I just felt this helplessness of can somebody help me. How do I make this work? And I think for me what I would have loved to hear at the very onset was that there is hope and there is a way forward. You just have to put one foot in front of the other and having a diabetes diagnosis does not mean that your life is over. It doesn’t mean the end of anything. It means that you have something in your life that’s going to make you stronger and more thoughtful about your health. And while it sucks and while it occupies way too much brain space it’s going to be something in your life that you have for the better.

Mila Clarke: And I know I say that and people will balk at that and they’re like God no I never had to have diabetes, I wouldn’t want it and I feel the same way. if I never would have been diagnosed I would have been So happy with my life, but I also wouldn’t have taken this path and I wouldn’t have the knowledge of my health that I have now and so in some ways I’m grateful for that. In other ways. I’m kind of like f*** this disease. It sucks. But I think having someone kind of I’m not gonna say that this is a roadmap to living with diabetes, but it’s a few things that I feel like I always would have liked to know at the onset and that probably would have helped me. Have just a better mental health space around my diagnosis.

Mila Clarke: So the first thing that I’m going to tell you is that being diagnosed with diabetes is not your fault no matter what kind of diabetes you have. It is not your fault having and hearing the words from your doctor. That you have diabetes is not an easy moment for anybody by any means and what your doctor likely won’t tell you is It’s not all your fault. Some of this condition is dependent upon lifestyle factors. Absolutely. If you lose weight it can help you manage your blood glucose. If you exercise you can better manage your blood sugars. If you take a mindful mental health pause and moment that can help your stress levels, which can also reduce your blood sugars. So,

00:10:00

Mila Clarke: Lifestyle factors are important. However, there’s something that everybody needs to do to be healthy just because you have diabetes. It doesn’t mean that those things are immediately on your list and there are required of There are things that are required of all of us whether you are the healthiest. Athlete on Earth who has no chronic illnesses whether you are someone who is generally in good health. lifestyle factors for all of us are super important and so truly thinking about that in a well-rounded way just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you haven’t been doing those things properly. Genetics also plays a factor every body is different.

Mila Clarke: And you didn’t choose this you did not. One day wake up and say I am choosing to have diabetes. nobody does and so it is not your fault. I think something that I had to recognize also in my diagnosis was that before I got my diet my diabetes diagnosis. I had PCOS I learned to desired PCOS and that played a huge part in learning about my insulin resistance. And so prior to my diabetes diagnosis. I was already doing things like exercising and I was overdoing it to be honest. I had some participation in disordered eating at times even before diabetes and so

Mila Clarke: A lot of that came from thinking this is my fault, and I need to go to the extremes to turn this back around and you don’t have to go to extremes at all. We’ll talk about that a little bit later.

Mila Clarke: The next thing that I wish I would have done and I wish I would have known and that I know now is that you need to ask as many questions as you possibly can and it doesn’t make you annoying. It doesn’t make you a nag but diabetes changes your life and you need to understand from the basic level how your body is operating so that you can understand how to take care of it. And so if you have a question for your doctor for your care team, don’t be afraid to put it out there and some of the things that I had asked upon my initial misdiagnosis was what does having is type 2 diabetes reversible or am I stuck with it forever How will I know my blood sugars are getting better? Why do I need to come back to the doctor every three months? How many times a day should I test my blood sugar? Can you refer me to someone like a dietitian a diabetes?

Mila Clarke: Educator and endocrinologist. Is there a special diet that I should follow are there immediate complications of diabetes that I should be aware of and how is it impacting my overall health? What do I do if I have high blood sugars or low blood sugars? How do I take insulin? How do I use this pen? How do I put on this patch? How do I adhere this pump site? There are many questions that

Mila Clarke: come up when you are first learning about how to manage and they might not all come up at one time. But just know that you are allowed to ask questions. You don’t have to just sit there and take the information walk out with it and feel confused feel disoriented feel like you don’t know how to help this move forward. You can ask questions always of your care team and depending on your care team depending on how responsive and empathetic and informed they are about diabetes. You’ll get a really really good roadmap forward.

Mila Clarke: The other thing that you can do is you can seek out Specialists. So a dietician is wonderful if you’re confused about how to put your plate together and what things are going to help you balance your blood sugars and how educator is going to be a wonderful source of information on Diabetes technology and kind of the everyday living

Mila Clarke: With diabetes, they’re going to be your great go-to. why am so excited that I’m on this path of becoming a dietician first you guys know or you might not know getting my masters in Applied Nutrition and then doing a didactic program in dietetics so that I can eventually become a registered dietitian which I am so excited about but I also wanted to become a diabetes educator because I think that diabetes educators are so incredibly valuable and can give you just so much great information on how to live. with diabetes in the day to day you can also see an endocrinologist. So if you’re noticing that you’re seeing maybe a primary care physician and your treatment is going but you’re not quite getting the results that you want to you can always ask to see an endocrinologist. They are a great specialist to see there is a shortage of endocrinologist and so

00:15:00

Mila Clarke: It is kind of hard to find one that you can get into really quickly. However, once you do find someone it’s always great to have them as a part of your care team. So seek out those resources ask questions. Another one that I’ll add is health coaches. So if you need some of that support and that help in between your doctor’s appointments health coaches are a wonderful resource for that. They’re great with I say but we are great with accountability with kind of helping. You find your way on your path with answering kind of general questions overall about health and wellness and diabetes. And then we can also refer you to an actual, licensed physician. If you’re in a place where you’re kind of feeling like, I want to change some things up we can send you to someone who has that scope. So I think that’s really important.

Mila Clarke: And just knowing who you have on your care team is super important and then I would say lean on your friends and your families. One of the hardest things in the world is to tell your friends and family that you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. And when you say the words just know that if they haven’t dealt with it before they’re gonna need some education and understanding and that’s why I always say it’s so important to just understand The Baseline information of what diabetes is and how it works because you might have to explain yourself. If you decide that you want to tell people it’s not a requirement to tell anyone about what you’re going through and what you’re living with but I promise you it is so freeing to be able to say the words and to find someone who understands a lot of the time you may get some

Mila Clarke: I would say inappropriate comments or judgments that you might not expect for people or people might do things like say that, you go to a party and they’re like, William diabetes. You can’t have this dessert or should you be drinking that should you be eating that those questions are gonna come up they always do but that means that when you’re educated about what you’re living with you can dispel those myths really easily and kindly to people who maybe just don’t know and so when you learn to explain your chronic illness to others, I think that you are so well prepared to be able to answer questions as they come and it doesn’t get overwhelming or doesn’t keep you flustered.

Mila Clarke: And then finding the diabetes community. So if you have access to the online’s you can find it just about any segment of the diabetes community that you would like. If you love exercise you can find a group for that. If you love food glucose guide, if you want to know more about type 1 diabetes and living with it. There’s a group for that gestational diabetes. There’s group for that. There’s literally a group for everyone. And so the thing that is so great about the community is that there are just so many spaces and so many areas where You can Thrive and you can have great judgment free conversations with people. And so if you feel lonely in your personal life dealing with diabetes or you feel like you are just dealing with it alone.

Mila Clarke: It’s really great to seek out some of those support groups peer support and just overall support for diabetes in general is just so incredibly valuable and helpful and for mental health. It is just a great resource. And then take small steps to change your habits. And so this is something that I felt like I struggled with my diabetes diagnosis was that I felt like I had to overhaul every single part of my life all at once because I was like, that’s how I solve it. And do you know what happened when I did that I burned out and so it’s really important to take small steps along the way small steps can include going for a 20 minute walk. Every afternoon small steps can include swapping out

00:20:00

Mila Clarke: one carb on your plate for more veggies Small steps can include taking a five minute mental health moment each day. And building up and doing more time as you get more comfortable with it. So there’s nothing that says that you have to change every single thing about everything that you’re doing all at once.

Mila Clarke: Super important to recognize that you can take small steps and still be just as successful in your diabetes management the incremental and small changes always lead up to bigger things always and so you’re gonna look back up those small steps and you’re gonna see the progress that you’ve had and you’re gonna be glad that you didn’t overwhelm yourself with trying to make these giant overhaul changes and that’s again a place where having a health coach can help you because it helps you with accountability. It helps you celebrate those small steps the small wins and the small goals.

Mila Clarke: And really shows how far you’ve come.

Mila Clarke: And then the last thing that I would say is to write down your feelings just talk about it. If you don’t want to talk about it with other people and you want to talk about it. Just on your own. That’s Keep a journal. Keep a Blog that you keep secret just Express Yourself express your emotions and understand where those emotions are coming from it is

Mila Clarke: I think writing or talking or meditating or thinking really helps you sort out your feelings and it’s something that you can always go back to when you just want to figure out more about Why some days are good why some days aren’t that good? And also it’s just a really nice way to see how far you’ve come. So you don’t have to be ashamed about having a diabetes diagnosis. It’s probably going to be one of the hardest things that ever happens to you in your life. But I promise you you don’t have to be ashamed about it. You have people to lean on.

Mila Clarke: You have the inner strength to take this day by day. You are going to make it through this.

Mila Clarke: You’ve got this and I’ve got you. So that’s it for this episode. Hopefully there are some wonderful things that you can take away from. me just talking about these things that I wish that I knew and

Mila Clarke: yeah, that’s it for this podcast. So, thanks for listening. hear you guys in the next one. love your diabestie!

About Mila

Hi! I'm Mila.

I’m earning my Master’s degree in Applied nutrition.

I’m a journalist and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach living with  LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, a slow-progressing form of autoimmune Type 1 diabetes) I love food, travel, and my kitchen, and teaching you about diabetes self-management.

I’m here to help you live your best life possible diabetes by showing you how to create simple, blood-sugar friendly and delicious meals and tips on diabetes self-care.

Be sure to download my FREE Diabetes Community App Glucose Guide, or reach out for FREE 1:1 diabetes health and habit coaching.

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