I Have Just Been Diagnosed - Now What?
My doctor just told me I have a disease. And it’s called diabetes.
Hold up .. wait a minute!!!
How did I get HERE?
Will l I have to go on insulin?
Will I lose a foot?
Am I going to DIE from diabetes?
Can I afford to LIVE with it?
Questions without answers barrage your mind. Fear of the unknown comes from stories we’ve heard passed down from generation to generation.
The first few months after being diagnosed are difficult. Learning about diabetes, taking medications, pricking your finger, juggling doctor visits and adjusting diets can be overwhelming.
Chances are your doctor will prescribe metformin to start off. Medications stand out on the fear scale because there are so many of them, they are confusing and they do so many different things. Medications can work in the body to lower blood sugar by either decreasing appetite, storing excess sugar or removing sugar from body. The idea of insulin injections are even scarier.
Whether oral medications or insulin, the one thing to remember is that medication is not the cure for diabetes. Medications for diabetes are designed to help the body do something that the body can’t do on it’s own. This means that you cannot continue with the same old unhealthy habits that may have gotten you to this point and expect medications to save you.
While there is no reason to beat yourself up, you must accept the role you did play before moving on and navigating diabetes self-management.
There are a combination of factors that could have led to your diabetes diagnosis. For example, having a family history of diabetes, being overweight and not being physically active are just some of the risks that can lead to the diagnosis.
Another fear we hear about often is food related; “what am I supposed to eat?” “Do I have to follow a special diet?” The good news is, there is no special diet for someone with diabetes.
Let’s look at food another way. If your car is supposed to run on premium gas, would you use regular gas? Your car may work for a while, but over time the engine begins to run down and may not work as well. This is also true for the body. The fuel we choose to use for our body can affect how it runs in the long-term.
Now, you may be aware of some of the celebrities from our community who are open about their diabetes - Anthony Anderson, Sherri Shepperd, Angie Stone, Patti Labelle - and they seem to be ok, right?
Well, truth is diabetes affects each person differently. Sherri’s diabetes is not the same as Patti’s diabetes. So many things will determine how each person has to manage their diabetes like how long have you had diabetes before you first got diagnosed? The difference between 2 years and 15 years will mean VERY different things for different people.
Imagine for a second that your doctor told you that he had a magic wand and could make you go back 10 years in time, so that you could start doing the things differently, so that you would not have diabetes now.
You would jump at that chance. Well, even though you can’t go back in time 10 years, you CAN start doing those things now.
We are not saying you are expected to turn your life upside down overnight. But the commitment you make today to just TRY, is a big first step.
Before we answer to the headline question of “Now what?” remember to:
· Ask your doctor lots of questions
· Find a trusted person to talk to
· Steer clear of dangerous medical rumors
· Remember that diabetes is different for everyone
· Know medications will not cure your diabetes
The bad news is you have diabetes.
The good news is you have the power to do something about it.
Are you ready to do something about it?