In January, I decided I wanted to get healthy by joining a gym, exercising, and quitting smoking. I went to the doctor for a routine physical, and the blood work came back saying that I had diabetes. I have to say that I wasn’t surprised because of my eating habits and overall health.
Right away, my family doctor referred me to the Unity Diabetes Center. I started taking medicine and going to the gym, and in just three months, my HbA1c dropped from 12 to 6.4. And I lost 30 pounds and quit smoking at the same time!
For me, everything changed with this diagnosis: the way I ate, what I ate, how much I ate. During the first 30 days, I was testing myself six times a day and trying to pay close attention to how my body felt when my blood sugar was at different levels. I measured everything, down to the last gram. I tracked my calories and portion sizes, and avoided things that didn’t have nutritional content listed, like bakery items. It’s also important to read the labels. For example, when products say “wheat,” that doesn’t necessarily mean “whole wheat.”
Diabetes & Endocrinology Services was great. They showed me how to use the meter, explained how carbs affect your body, and helped me figure out how to go forward. I really like the Diabetes Online Community because I can get quick answers in between appointments. Face-to-face appointments are important, but sometimes you don’t want to wait a few months before you ask a question.
Right now, I’m fighting overconfidence. There are a lot of picnics and birthdays over the summer. I might have a slice of pizza or a small piece of cake, but I need to be careful and pay attention to my body. I try to reward myself every few months with a Garbage Plate or wings and pizza. This strategy has helped keep my blood sugar well within the normal range.
For people who are newly diagnosed, I’d say that you need to make sure you have a good health care team in place. You need doctors who will listen to you and give you good advice. You also have to test yourself often and learn what high and low blood sugar feels like for you. Then you need to combine that professional advice with listening to your body, and use your best judgment.