Lindsey Caldwell, the Community Awareness Coordinator with the American Recall Center, contacted me and asked if I would be willing to “talk about my medicine” for Talk About Medicines Month.
As an insulin dependent diabetic, there are a million things that I wish I had known before my diagnosis. Unfortunately, blogs were not as popular at the time so I felt somewhat clueless and helpless about navigating a my path.
Once the doctors determined that my body had stopped producing insulin, I was sent home with a vial of insulin, some syringes and a good luck slap on the back (not literally but that’s how it felt). The nurse did schedule me for a Diabetes Education class a week later but that first night was scary. I remember sitting on my sofa with one of my friends, looking at the little bottle and needles and crying as I tried to imagine how I was going to manage this for the rest of my life. How was I going to inject myself EVERY DAY???
Well, it doesn’t get easier but you will get stronger.
5 Things I Wish I Had Known
- Your body really does need insulin. I know that sounds crazy but I went through periods when I was first diagnosed of not taking my meds thinking that it might have been a mistake or that my body would be fine without the shots. Wrong answer! Your body really does need insulin so skip the denial and move to acceptance as quickly as possible.
- Create a system and stick with it. If you are super busy like me, this may be one of your biggest challenges but you have to set an alarm or determine what times of day you are going to take your meds and stick with it. I still struggle in this department but having a consistent flow of insulin in your body is better than erratic doses.
- FlexPens are awesome!! Not only do you not have to refrigerate them but they are easy to stick in your bag with a few needles and go. If you find that they are more expensive than the vials, consider getting a FlexPen to use during the day when you are at work/school and keep the vials refrigerated at home. (Of course you need to talk to your doctor about which FlexPen is right for you.)
- Taking insulin doesn’t give you permission to eat whatever you want. If can be very tempting to just increase your insulin dose and eat that extra piece of cake or pie but you will be better in the long run if you stick with a low sugar, low carb diet.
- Take your diagnosis seriously. I can’t stress to people enough how serious diabetes is. It is a silent killer because the effects don’t often show externally but high blood sugars can reek havoc on your internal organs including your kidneys, heart and nervous system. Whatever your doctor tells you to do, do it. It may be a pain or inconvenient but it will be much better than being dead.
Hopefully, this will be helpful for someone who may be newly diagnosed and trying to figure out how they are going to live with their new reality. It has been ten years for me and it hasn’t gotten easy but I have definitely gotten stronger in how I deal with taking my meds, staying active and trying to eat the right foods.