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Why diabetes has been the best thing to happen to me.

As a note to my readers, I’m working with OneTouch® on this series of blogs. I am being compensated for this content; however, all opinions are my own. 

A couple of years ago if you would have asked me how I felt about my type 2 diabetes, I probably wouldn’t have had a kind word for you. It’s likely that I would have still felt some shame and a lot of guilt.

People may think I’m out of my mind for saying this – but type 2 diabetes has been one of the best things that has happened to me. It sounds crazy, but hear me out. 

One of the things that is so crucial when dealing with this condition is the support you receive from people around you. For me, my family and friends are helpful advocates, but a lot of that direct support for me comes through online communities.  I’m inspired by people all over the world who are making leaps with simple changes to their everyday routine, and creating small victories for themselves along the way.

One of those people is a new friend of mine named Perry. 

Perry is a volunteer Assistant Fire Chief from South Carolina, and when he took a physical in 2015, the results weren’t what he expected. Much like me, Perry felt devastated and in denial about the visit, but he had just lost his father-in-law to the illness and he wanted to do everything in his power to manage his type 2 diabetes. 

Perry and I didn’t know each other before we started talking, but it was incredible to me how much we had in common (Like, that we both get crazy highs when we eat bananas, and we love reading labels at the grocery store to figure out what will work for our diets). 

The best part about talking to Perry was the wise advice he had for me about living with diabetes, and I wanted to share it with you too. 

Set up your dream team

When you’re first diagnosed, your dream team is going to be your biggest help. Those people will be your doctors, dietitians, diabetic educators and endocrinologists. Make sure that they’re people who answer your questions (no matter how simple they may seem). This team of people will help you discover patterns in your management, tweak and adjust when you need help, and they should encourage you to keep going. 

Exercise

Exercise has a few benefits – it can help you lose weight, which will in turn help with your insulin resistance with type 2. It will release endorphins that help with stressful moments, and it can also help to lower your blood sugar since your body is using that glucose as you’re working out. Put some time in your schedule to exercise! 

Get tools to help you figure this out

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Perry and I both use the OneTouch Verio Flex® meter and the OneTouch Reveal® mobile app. The OneTouch Verio Flex® meter paired with the OneTouch Reveal® mobile app is such an awesome duo in my diabetes management, and I wish that I would have known about these tools sooner. Because of the meter’s connectedness to all of my devices, and the app’s helpful visual features, I think the combination would have encouraged me to stay on track a long time ago.

The meter and app have great features for a visual person like me who loves data and figuring out how my blood sugar is affected. I used to log my blood sugars in a spreadsheet and take them to my doctor. Now, the OneTouch Verio Flex® meter gives me some extra time to focus on management, instead of logging numbers and doing math. 

One of the OneTouch Reveal® mobile app features, the Timeline of Events, draws a timeline in a “newsfeed” format of important blood sugar event and activity data, highlighting the latest patterns, including when blood sugar levels have been out of range. This is helpful for discussions with your physician. My first doctor was dismissive when I relayed data such as: “I spiked over 30 points last night.” He said that it was too rare to happen to someone newly diagnosed. The timeline of events would have been a great visual for me to show to say “this is happening!” 

Another one of the features, Averages, helps you view your overall blood sugar averages for 14-Day, 30-Day, or 90-Day timeframes. The averages feature ColorSure® technology, which highlights patterns that show you the bigger picture – so you don’t have to focus on just one bad day, or one bad week. 

The OneTouch Verio Flex® meter is a fantastic tool for overall management, and it gives you freedom to keep living and measuring.  It really has helped both Perry and myself celebrate our small victories every day.

Lastly, remember that every body is different. 

The last thing Perry told me was that every single body is different, and what works for some of us in diabetes management, doesn’t work for everyone. We all have to try out different things to see what happens. When we pair our actions with the data, we can better understand, through conclusive results, what works and what doesn’t.

Perry told me something that will stick with me – success is out there, you just have to find what works for you. I loved that so much because treatments for type 2 diabetes aren’t one size fits all, but if you keep working at it, you’ll finally get into a place where management is possible. 

So wait, why has diabetes been the best thing that could have happened to me? Because now I know how to pay attention to my body and put myself first. I have great tools like the OneTouch Verio Flex® meter and OneTouch Reveal® app which help me pay attention to my health and meet my health goals. I also have helpful, supportive people that I can ask for advice. Maybe I would have taken all of it for granted if I never had this chronic illness. 

Diabetes doesn’t have to be this horribly messy illness. With the right support, and some determination, you can certainly manage well, and who knows, you might feel like diabetes has given you the ability to pay attention to your body and be in tune with your health. 

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1 Comment

  1. Lori Buckley
    September 22, 2018 / 8:13 am

    Great article Mila! Continue taking good care of yourself!

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