* Don’t panic. Being diagnosed with an incurable chronic condition is severely crap but all is not lost. With practice, knowledge and a bit of luck you can live with diabetes without too many problems. With good control it’s unlikely your feet will rot off just yet despite what people might say.
* However, you do need to take it seriously. Ignoring the ‘betes will result in disaster sooner or later…
* Speak to other diabetics. Opinion and knowledge vary enormously, but you can pick up a tonne of tips. I’ve learnt a million things from our readers since we set up Shoot Up.
* Learn to calculate your carbohydrate intake. If you’ve got a good DSN you’ll be taught to do this (I was!), failing that teach yourself or try and get on a DAFNE (Dose Adjusting For Normal Eating – off the top of my head) course. Essentially diabetes is all about balancing what you eat with the amount of insulin you inject.
* However, it’s not that simple! For example, pizza is a notorious diabetic blackspot. Its combination of high carbs (all that doughy base) and fat (yummy greasy toppings) mean that its carbs are digested and released quite slowly over the course of a few hours – which can be a nightmare.
* To make things even harder everyone is different! Diabetic A might not have any problems with pizza because of their own particular physiology while Diabetic B might avoid pizza entirely as it’s just too difficult to manage. The only way to find out what works for you is by trial and error.
* Therefore, to begin with at least, it can be useful to log everything. I logged my blood glucose (BG), what I ate, what I injected and then looked at the results to see what patterns emerged. From the data I could then figure out how various things effected me. A grounding in maths and slight OCD helps with all the logging! Once you’ve learnt it all then less logging is perhaps necessary.
* Maybe treat GP’s with suspicion. They are generalists and sometime aren’t the best person to help with very specific queries. Diabetic Specialist Nurses (DSNs) at your local hospital will usually be very good.
* Find a good pharmacist. As someone with a chronic condition you are a very valuable customer to the pharmacist. A local independent one can sometime be better than a generic Boots. Make them work for their repeat prescriptions – get them to do as much of the donkey work as possible
* You’ll need to tell the DVLA you’re diabetic. You’ll then get a three year licence which can be revoked if you have constant hypos while driving which cause accidents. The best way to avoid having your licence taken away is to be sensible, check your BG (blood glucose) before driving and not have crashes caused by your diabetes
* You’ll also need to tell your car insurers. They probably won’t put your premiums up but it’s a material disclosure that could invalidate your insurance if you don’t tell them. Same applies to life insurance I would imagine.
* Your GP should give you a certificate to say you’re entitled to free prescriptions. You just need to show this to your pharmacist; but if they’re giving you insulin they’ll probably guess that you have a chronic condition…! This also entitles you to join the Minor Ailments Scheme – which might just be a Scottish thing – which means you don’t have to pay for aspirin, nit combs, etc., again. Woot!
@bucco Welcome to the club. If you’re not thoroughly overwhelmed by the myriad of tips from my co-writer, I’ll add just one more. Don’t aim for perfection, it doesn’t exist. Celebrate every bit of progress you make, and every in range blood sugar you get rather than beating yourself up over the highs and lows.
And of course, spend plenty of time reading badly written blogs such as this one.
Going back to @tim ‘s post#2 – you do have to tell your car insurer, but isnt it illegal for them to raise your premiums because of it? I’m sure I was told that at some point. Disability discrimination, or something.
But the chance of getting reasonable life insurance is almost nil. (If you’ve already got it, they can’t take it away, I think…)
Tip: Dont pay for increased travel insurance – there are a number of companies who specialise in people who other companies charge double for. And their prices can actually be lower…So go googling before shelling out.
Tip: redefine perfection. Perfection is not perfect blood sugars, its knowing what to do about those that are out of range. And that comes with practise (which you will get alot of).
I thought I had to apply for my certificate for free prescriptions rather than being given it – maybe I’m wrong (it was a long time ago…)
Tip: You can eat anything. Anything. ANYTHING! Ignore all those well meaing non-diabetics who tell you that you cant eat biscuits/chocolate/bananas/grapes/whatever. If you want to eat it, and you can calculate/guesstimate the carbs in it, You Can Eat It. Its your choice.
Thanks! I am lucky enough to have a Nurse Consultant (!) who tells me she is one of only 20 odd in the country, to say that she has been a godsend might not be overstating it! The GP was crap – without ever having met me had decided from the initial blood work that I was a type 2 and needed to lose weight and exercise more (I run an 8 min mile, cycle and swim regularly as well as walk three big dogs twice a day!).
Having burst out laughing at the GP and asked for a breakdown of the diagnosis I was then referred to a ‘specialist’. Oh, I was also prescribed 500mg of metformin and given a BG monitor and told ‘don’t go mad on testing yourself’.
The specialist turned out to be my NC (or DSNC) who after hearing about the symptoms, timeline and my current state as well as reviewing the results of the bloodwork immediately put me onto insulin (now been on it for a week and have had the dosage increased 50% over the last 4 days). I was told to stop the metformin, to test at least 8 times a day – and the more the better to start with as has been mentioned above, more data equals better decision making.
Am now waiting for the results of more bloodwork ‘cos they also think I might have celiac (oh the joy!). Have also now met a specialist diatician and have a follow up with the doctor in a couple of weeks.
Can’t wait to get on a DAFNE course, although have been told that I will have to wait to see if I go into a ‘honeymoon’.