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How does one, day in and day out, cope and continue to cope with a chronic disease such as diabetes? Is there ever a halcyon time? "Halcyon" comes from a bird identified with the kingfisher, and in an ancient legend it nested at sea during winter solstice and just by its very presence calmed the waves during incubation. Does it seem that there are periods when managing your diabetes is easier than usual, and other times it seems like no matter what you do the blood sugars are out of control?
I see in my practice some people who never find a halcyon period in coping with their diabetes. We all know that everyone has different coping skills, and I've seen individuals with diabetes who have great coping skills. To them, diabetes is little more than an inconvenience.
What are good coping skills and how do we develop them? Try these tips:
Have you found any coping skills that work for you in managing your diabetes? Please share.
Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N.
Peggy Moreland, R.N.
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It is extremely frustrating to have Medicare consider life saving CGMs as "medially unnecessary." Obviously, this policy is because those who make it are not T1D.
It is not fiscally responsible either. Medicare will pay for emergency ambulance trips to the ER, treatment and hospitalization due to hypoglycemia, but not help pay for CGMs.
There is a new pump that would stop insulin delivery if it senses BG falls below a certain level, say 60 and restart 2 hrs later. This is not available to those of us on Medicare because of the sensor. I just do not understand the reasoning
Monitoring is the key in beating diabetes
I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about an year back. My doctor did not start any medications immediately and advised me life style change. When I was diagnosed, my HbA1C was 8+. But with lifestyle change within 3 months I was below 6.
It is very important in this disease to monitor yourself. I used a web based software to log and monitor my parameters [www.friendofdiabetic.com]. The more you log your parameters, more it acts as a feedback to improve. I don’t think I would have achieved A1C of 6 without monitoring what I was doing.
Joan: We do our best to answer questions, but it is not possible to answer all of them. We may miss a few. Did you have a question that we missed?
Gary: We love your "war" analogy! That is a perfect analogy and is what it is. We are sorry that you feel shame. You needn't. I (Peggy) have type 2 diabetes as well. Sometimes the diagnosis is a wake up call to eat better/exercise better etc. you can lead the healthiest lifestyle ever and still get type 2 diabetes. Keep up the good work!
I use meditation 2x daily to take care of me
Seek out exercise classes that you could enjoy and benefit from, such as, stretching, Tai Chi, Pilates, Yoga. Build up a pleasant exchange with the participants. With something you like to do and with people you enjoy sharing the experience with, will motivate you to continue with your exercise choices.
I am concerned that comments, many asking for help, others sharing incomplete or other info worthy of Mayo Clinic response are not getting any replies from "Nancy" at Mayo Clinic. I logged on to leave a comment why reply to a question if the person who asks the question never replies? Or is this site just meant to sell Mayo Clinic books and services?
I treat it like a war. I do the research (intelligence), I develop a plan (planning), and I carry it out on a daily basis (tactics), and I look at the overall picture to get a sense of how I'm doing (Strategy). Its a challenge. The most difficult part of the problem is shame. I was mortified to learn I was diabetic. I had always associated Type 2 Diabetes with sloth, gluttony, and ignorance. I still do not discuss it with friends unless they have been diagnosed.
Had diabetes since I was 45 (or earler)am now 74.keep 2 my diet always have some interesting project on, such as beautiful crochet, knitting, sewing,my husband passed away very suddenly 21 years ago, so I have 2 keep busy & think "there is plenty worse things than diabetes".always take 2 meusli bars when I go out (they R always in my shopping bag & "dressed up bag" ready & replace when expiry date is due) & test 5 or 6 x per day so as I don;t go on a "low" when out. Diabetic clinic Dr is VERY PLEASED with me & no complications 5 injections per day 3 of act rapid & 2 of protophane
What a great place to come to with our highs and lows I have type 2 and Im vegetarian just being aware of healthy eating and any type of excercise can make a huge difference. glad to have you all out there .
I have son who suffers from type 1 diabetes. I think the best coping mechanism for those who suffer or is suffering from diabetes is to have a strong support system. For me, being there for someone gives that person strength that he/she is not alone, that they have somebody to turn to if they need help. Many thanks for posting!! Love the tips!Live Beyond Awesome
It's hard getting use to being a Diabetic, so to help me follow a diet I plan a daily menu to follow to avoid my tendency to be in a hurry, or skip meals and ending up grabbing fast foods. Change has been the main theme to avoid diet-boredom, so planning is essential for me to maintain a low blood sugar. Usually a balanced diet is best, although there have been occasions that I haven't been as strict as I should be. I realize this does help me avoid the consequences of weight gain and hyperglycemia, which is something I can't afford. Each day, menu planning & exercise has to be a habit to keep me motivated.
I have found using alcohol flavoring is a terrific way to get the taste of my favorite alcohol beverage without the alcohol. When I go out to a bar or restaurant with friends, I bring my alcohol flavor drops with me and make my own drinks. I found them at www.yumdropsflavoring.com
"Do Something" really hit home with me....my husband and I take nightly walks after dinner. I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and in addition to managing it on my own, was prescribed Actos. Unfortunately, I also have bladder cancer and was shocked to find a link. http://www.newsinferno.com/pharmaceuticals/health-canada-says-actos-raises-bladder-cancer-risks/36943. I will take your advice and pray, and hope they are answered.
My message is to Sue. Thank you for your comments to Denise. I am going to use your advised and try and stay positive. It is hard when you have no one to talk to and you feel all alone.
I've been a type 1 diabetic with an insulin pump for years. What I do to keep busy is do my favorite hobbies such as sewing and quilting, crocheting, reading and gardening.
I know what I need to eat and what to avoid. I keep track of my nutrients (carbs & protein) on Fitday for a few weeks a year, just to keep my eye "calibrated". It's easy to let portions slide. Seeing the numbers reminds me I'm only cheating myself. I'm a numbers person, and that works for me. I'd rather have my toes and my kidneys than sweets, and I don't want to take drugs.
I also encourage others who ask me what I do.
I have a dear friend whos child is of the age of 15yrs old (son)..He has been at our home on and off on the weekends and I had noticed a drastic weight change in a short amount of time and brought it to her attention. Long story short, I had her check his blood sugar level and it was over 300. Beings it was a week-end she made a verbal consiltation over the phone with his doctor and she has made follow-up appts. Her son is type 1 juvenile diabetic...and we are going on the third week. Her son's dr. still hasn't giving the correct insulin amount to control it...He is still running on the average of 270-300+ and I am scared of the long term affects this will have on his body and organs. Also the doctor is putting off her seeing an Educator and a Endocarnologist(?)...What do I tell her for her to understand?? Please help....
I have not long been told by a doctor that I am type 2 diabetic,and now I am on diabex as well as a diet,it has changes my life and way of thinking,I now check every label for sugar and potassium and all the other stuff and I have also lost around 10 kilos as well which will help my disease,it has also given me an insight into the health industry so Ihave decided to start my on web page on health called healthier-u.org,it is a work in progress but it already has a lot of information on it.
Any way thanks for my little comment and I have bookmarked this blog so I can come back and learn more from you.
I have been diabetic for 12 years now .And I was looking into a diabetic study on Monday they took some blood and run a ekg on me . And being 42 yaers old They told me the ekg showed I had a heart attack .. wow I'm still shock over this and Just need to tell someone take care of yourself..
To Denise -
I am wondering how you are doing.
I have found that prayer helps me with my diabetes. It takes my mind off of my body and put it in a hands of the Lord who knows how much I can bear. Looking to Jesus give me peace while dealing with my diabetes.
The sun is always shining.... even when the rain clouds are over your head. Prayer works!
I do not have diabetes, but my husband has been diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic about 3 years ago. His is not as cronic as many, but he does suffer from many symptoms. One hint that he received from the wife of a friend that has been a type1 diabetic since his childhood, was to investigate the herb, cinnamon bark. My husband was having a sort of fainting spell, and she said it helped her husband tremendously to stabilize the insolin peaks. He uses celon cinnamon bark found at our local health food store. They are 6oomg capsules -120 for $18.28, so not expensive. It is reccomended to take 2 capsules, 2 times a day with meals, but my husband found that to be too strong, so he reduced it to 1 capsule morning and evening. He is not a herb fanatic, in fact he avoids medicines if he possibly can. When he ran out of his first lot he thought he could probably do without them, but within a few days he was back to the way he was before. He bought another bottle and has stayed on them for over a year now with good results. I hope this suggestion can help for some of you at least. You have to be careful where you buy. We were out on the west coast of Canada and bought some that was 1/3 the potency for over double the price! Got us!! The product my husband uses is NOW, manufactured by NOW FOODs in Bloomingdale Ill. www.nowfoods.com
First time on this site, found it very interesting and helpful. I am 51 and going thru the menopause thing, sometime I feel I am going out of my mind. I don't want to take more medications, so any suggestion on how you did it without meds would be nice. I find having diabetic stinks and now I may has to go on the pump. Like to know what machine other are on and how they like being on the pump. Hope to hear from u soon and god be with us all, this disease isnt easy.
I noticed that the last entries are dated way back in February. Since I am just a reader w/ diabetes, I don't feel I should say too much, but I do feel these people are asking for help and not getting it. So . . .
To Denise: I am understanding how you are feeling.
Having a chronic illness is a lot to deal with and unless a person is in the same boat, cannot REALLY understand what you are going through.
1. Be thankful you still have life.
2. Slow down and breathe. Slowly.
3. Call a friend, even if they don't completely understand since they are NOT in the same boat as you - but TALK to them, just as you wrote some of your feeling here. It does help to get it all off your chest.
4. Make a list of your priorities - what do you want to do first? I don't believe it can all come at once.
It is OK to go one day at a time. As I said in #4, it cannot be done all at once. I REALLY wish I could wake up thin, but I do realize that I can only lose one lb at a time and I am over 100 lbs overweight.
5. Find a source of motivation. Even if you are motivated 20 minutes at a time, do it. Then the next 20.
Stay busy. It keeps your mind occupied and off food and your troubles. Do not dwell on negative feelings.
ONE DAY AT A TIME, DENISE.
It seems you and I have several things in common, according to your list. Mothers, heart valves, obesity...I understand, believe me. Remember that others care even if we are total strangers.
Write here again.
well where do i start. I AM 53 YRS, I WAS DIAGNOISED WITH TYPE 2 DIABETTES ABOUT 8 YEARS AGO, USING INSULIN FOR THE LAST 3 YEARS. MY MOTHER PASSED AWAY 6 YEARS AGO FROM COMPLICATIONS OF DIABETTES.(LIVER PROBLEMS FIRST THEN KIDNEY FAILURE) SHE WAS 79. I SEEM TO BE STEAM ROLLING INTO HER FOOT STEPS ONLY YOUNGER. SCARES ME TO DEATH. (I HOPE NOT TO SOON). I STARTED HAVING EVERYTHING GO WRONG ALL AT ONCE, I DONT KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL. FIRST THE DIABETTES OK DEAL WITH IT, THEN HAD GAULL BLADDER OUT, DELT WITH IT, THEN WAS TOLD HAD CHIRRIOUS OF LIVER, NOT SO GOOD NEED TRANSPLANT, NEED HYSTERECTOMY CAME OUT OK NO CANCER, THEN 3 WEEKS AFTER SURGERY I HAVE UTI. DIDNT KNOW I HAD IT UNTIL I DIED, THEY GOT ME BACK. I KNOW THIS SOUNDS IMPOSSIABLE BUT IT HAPPEND JUST 4 MONTHS AGO. I NOW HAVE A ARTIFICIAL PIG HEART VALVE. STILL HAVE ALL OTHER STUFF. ALL THIS IN 1 YEAR. I REALLY DONT KNOW HOW TO LIVE MY LIFE, JUST DAY TO DAY. I NEED MY BODY TO GET HEALTHY, BUT HOW? I HAVE VARIECIES ALSO. THEY HAVE BEEN BLEEDING IN MY URIN, LOST 50 LBS NOW ITS BACK. BUT YOU LOOSE WEIGHT ON FEEDING TUBE WHEN YOU ARE OUT. START EATING AGAIN THEN YOU GAIN.I SPENT 4 WEEKS IN HOSPITAL U OF M . GUESS I'M LUCKY DONT REMEMBER ANYTHING. I FEEL SO LOST. DONT KNOW HOW TO GET BETTER, I NEED A DIET AND SOMEONE THAT MIGHT UNDERSTAND. I FEEL LIKE I HAVE LET MY HUSBAND DOWN, HE RETIRED THINKS HE HAS TO CARE FOR ME. THIS IS NOT THE WAY RETIREMENT IS SUPPOSE TO BE. WHERE CAN I GET HELP TO GET HEALTHY. DENISE
I've been living with type 2 for 6 years. I also deal with depression and have finally found good results from two medications. Not wanting to take care of oneself is a hard nut to crack. Reading your comments and knowing there are others out there with a like issue gives me great hope. I'm not alone.
Right now I'm between jobs for the first time in 25 years. Making a major course correction feels good and scarey at the same time. My sugars have been all over the place from 65 to 350. The only thing i notice is that whe I exercise at leat one hour every other day I'm in better shape: mentally, physically and spiritually.
All I have to do, is to do it. Lord, help me out of bed, off the couch, away from the TV, the computer. There are many nice folks to meet, greet and learn from.
I am newly diagnosed (age 31) and so far this has been a nightmare. I am 6'6" and weigh 140 lbs. I've never been heavy but losing 20 lbs before being diagnosed was a scare. I am now trying to rebuild my body AND keep my numbers under control. I would really appreciate any help with how I can gain weight and do all I'm supposed to do. I know I'm feeling low right now, but I was only diagnosed 6 days ago. My stress level is high and my bosses are giving me a hard time about being gone from my job. I may be out of work soon. It's just too much all at once. Sorry for being such a downer, but I would love to hear from anyone. Thanks.
Sue: We would like to recommend the book "Caring for the Diabetic Soul" by the American Diabetes Association. The book is a compilation of articles originally published in Diabetes Forecast, and is intended to assist people with diabetes in accepting responsibility for their disease through the acquisition of good coping skills.
I have had DM Type I for 35 years and have not ever really been in good control exept during my 2 pregnancies. Recently, a nurse told me that motivation is within ourselves. Would anyone out there tell me how to find this? If my children and family aren't motivation to keep myself in control, then what else can be? Staying alive doesn't seem to be much of a motivation right now. Please help... coping with this disease has not been my forte, obviously.
5. High protein, high fiber snacks are great for keeping blood sugar levels steady, and new research shows that pistachio nuts are a great match if you’re looking for healthy snacks, in recipes or out of the package. http://thegreennut.org/news/index.html
I've been reading extensively about tsuru reishi or bitter melon, a vegetable known in Asia for diabetes management and weight control.
This is attested by a Japanese friend who made the observations that his parents siblings who emigrated to the U.S., and lost tsuru reishi side dishes as an important part of their diet developed diabetes and became obese.
I read that this is now available in capsule form. Anyone experienced with the tsuru reishi vegetable-based diabetes management and weight loss supplement?
My doctor appears not very knowledgeable and frown upon herbs and supplements though Wikipedia confirmed efficacy and researches done in Asia.
Appreciate encouraging posts here. Thank you all.
Maybe its just me but i feel lucky that i dont let my Diabetes worry me.I have been insulin affected for over 8yrs and when i have been for a check up it depends on who i see.Each person has a different opinion on what levels are acceptable and what action should be taken so i just go with my gut feeling and treat myself accordingly.There is no use getting yourself upset about it because that wont change a thing..
Try monitoring your post prandial glucose level and if it is high, get active. Go for a walk. Getting fresh air can give you a different perspective, as well as, getting some Vitamin D from the sunlight. If you have a body part that prevents you from exercising, for example your legs then try lifting 2 pound weights up over your head. Activating your arm muscles will reduce the amount of glucose in your blood stream. Glucose is required to fuel your muscles, therefore less will be available in the blood stream. Being active will give you an emotional boost to get over the challenging times.
I have used a number of your coping tools and they definitely worked for me in the past.
Thanks very much
I really appreciate your tips for coping with diabetes and the comments too. Being able to get your newsletter with such great and important information has helped me a lot, not only to deal with my diabetes II but with my other health concerns. Thanks.
Thank you so much for your blog and coping skills. I have been a diabetic for about a year and a half and it's difficult at times, but I do pray and that God that all times are not bad and without the thorns the rose wouldn't be nearly as beautiful. Right now I'm in the process of period of thorns with a pinched nerve. But it'll pass also and the sugar levels will get back under control. I'm just pushing a little more insulin right now while I swallow the meds for my nerve pain and can't exercise. Thanks again.
I appriciate your blog and very good coping skills mentioned here. Thanks!
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