This time of year, I always like to look back at the previous year and reflect on the people and the events that shaped me; giving thanks for what I have learned and reflecting on what I would like to improve on.
Health tops my priority every year. Making sure I spend time with my family and friends is part of my mental health; regularly exercising improves my discipline and focus; making way for better food choices effortlessly.
My sense of perfection at times makes me unhappy, driving me crazy and the people that surround me.
Weight has been a constant struggle for me unless I am training for an athletic event. Coming from four generations of type 2 diabetes, I never have the luxury to be complacent. The silver lining? I have seen, four people I love, ignore their diabetes; only to get strict once the complications have set in. In a backhanded way- my family has inspired me to make my health a #1 priority. I give thanks for knowing what not to do.
As a teenager, growing up all my friends were bulimic or anorexic, distorting my body image. Couple this with media’s constant barrage of what size clothes women should wear, made me feel like a failure. In retrospect, being dissatisfied with who I am was artificially influenced by my friends eating disorders and the media. When I look back at my photos, I was not overweight. Simply a curvacious teenager. It was difficult to understand that when all my friends but one where tall slender with small hips.
Don’t let the media and blogs discourage you. Love and accept yourself where you are in your process and start taking baby steps to move in the direction you want for the best possible diabetes self-management. This includes meeting with your healthcare professional team. You have no idea how much they want you to succeed; even when you can’t find your way.
My New Year’s wish for you is to be easy on yourself. Having diabetes takes effort. There are good days, and blood sugar roller coaster rides that tucker you out. Getting your supplies on time, rebounding from hypoglycemia, overeating- causing hyperglycemia or omitting insulin- diabulimia requires honesty and resolution. Know that whatever you are in your diabetes self-management, millions of people have been there before facing the same challenges. The key is not to ignore what is not working for you.
Every day is a new beginning. A reason to have hope for creating change. Even if the change moves along much slower than you want, don’t disregard what you need to do for your health. Surrender to reality by accepting the change that needs to take place, in maintaining the best possible outcome.
My former husband of almost 20 years, is a type 1 who was and is proactive in his diabetes self-management. I remember my mother, a Type 2 telling me, that he made it look easy. To him as to most Type 1’s, they don’t have a choice. Too much sugar and not enough insulin in their bloodstream can land them on a gurney on their way to the Emergency Room at the nearest hospital.
The type 2’s face similar challenges but they have the misconception that their diabetes “is not that bad.”
Doing your personal best might be testing more frequently or meeting with your healthcare professional to help you navigate through a possible blood sugar roller coaster. Since diabetes does not have a day off, it’s good to meet with your medical team regardless of how well you are feeling.
Not everyone has a supportive family or a good healthcare plan that allows them the supplies they need for optimum blood sugars. If you know someone that needs diabetes supplies and you can help them, do so in the spirit of comradery.
Tomorrow, I will share with you a stroy about a type 2 senior citizen I met at Starbucks who lives in her car and started a GoFundMe account to raise money for a rental deposit. I hope you can help contribute to her cause. No amount of the heart is too small.
I wish you the best possible health in the upcoming New Year!
Nadia’s feedback on your question is in no way intended to initiate or replace your healthcare professional’s therapy or advice. Please check in with your medical team to discuss your diabetes management concerns.
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AskNadia (ranked #1 by Google), named “Best Diabetes Blog for 2017 by Healthline and with 19 nominations, Nadia Al-Samarrie’s efforts have made her stand out as a pioneer and leading patient advocate in the diabetes community.
Nadia was not only born into a family with diabetes but also married into one. She was propelled at a young age into “caretaker mode,” and with her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, co-founded Diabetes Interview, now Diabetes Health magazine.
Nadia has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, and other major cable networks. Her publications, medical supply business, and website have been cited, recognized and published in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, Ann Landers advice column, former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, Entrepreneur magazine, Houston News, Phili.com, Brand Week, Drug Topics, and many other media outlets.