As Diabetes Month ends, here's the wisdom and insights from several of my fellow online diabetes bloggers and advocates.
While it's easy to see diabetes as a burden and at times feel angry, ashamed or frustrated, if we look at it through the spirit of thanks-giving, it's also possible to see something gained.
And, I find joy in sharing what I've learned with others.
So I asked the two questions below and these responses flew into my inbox. Also know, as diabetes moves out of the spotlight this month, we will all still be here alongside you on this journey -- and you can continue to ride along with anyone below by following their blog and/or Twitter account.
Q: What habit have you developed that makes managing your, or your child's, diabetes easier?
"When I was first trying to regain control after years of burnout, I knew I would act on numbers I saw. But to see those numbers, I needed to check my blood sugar more often. So I left meters out where I would see them -- bathroom, desk, etc. And every time I saw a meter, I'd check." Melissa Lee, Sweetly Voiced, Twitter: @sweetlyvoiced
"To extend myself the same forgiveness, and understanding, which I would give others who struggle, and fall... in order to get up again." Lizmari M. Collazo, The Angry Type 2 Diabetic, Twitter: @AngryT2Diabetic
"Adding exercise to my daily routine has been the best habit I've developed. It helps me to control my blood glucose, which is important since I don't inject insulin." Kate Cornell, "Sweet Success: My life with Type 2 Diabetes," Twitter: @SweetenedKate
"Whenever my daughter checks her blood sugar, I try to say 'thank you for checking.' That helps control the emotional reaction I might otherwise have to her numbers." Tamar Sofer-Geri, carbDM
"I have become a creature of habit in terms of food. I started eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast 22 years ago when I was diagnosed and I still do to this day (on about 6 out of 7 days of the week). I know that for me it requires 3.5 units of insulin. Not having to play the guessing game of carbohydrate counts has made managing my diabetes easier." Brandy Barnes, Diabetes Sisters, Twitter: @diabetessisters
"I keep learning how holistic health helps the body stay younger, stronger and more resilient. Also I apply the principles of good food and exercise, and those that help decrease stress, like zen meditation, to keep my body, mind and spirit in optimal shape. When I practice this, not only does my blood sugar show the benefit, but managing diabetes feels like it is good for me too!" Ann Bartlett, Health Central, Body In Balance Center, Twitter: @annbartlett
"The habit of never comparing myself to others has given me more compassion, strength, and freedom than I could ever have hoped for. Plus it's helped me realize just how little I require to be happy." Sysy Morales, "The Girl's Guide To Diabetes," Twitter: @GG2Diabetes
"When I went through a period during which I wasn't checking my blood sugar often enough, I realized that I often 'forgot' my meter. So I started buying small, colorful clutches that are just large enough to hold a meter, strips, glucose tablets, and my wallet. I pick a new one to use each day, and carry it everywhere I go so that I always have my meter handy." Kelly Rawlings, editorial director, Diabetes Forecast magazine, Twitter: @KellyRawlings
"I have created the habit of testing my blood sugar before eating. It's a simple process to test my sugar, take my insulin and then eat. Humans are creatures of habit, so the more good habits you can create, the more good you can create." Chris Stocker, "The Life of a Diabetic"
"Diabetes has made me significantly more aware of food choices. While we still indulge in treats it is in a more balanced manner. And the magic in being aware is routine." Bennet Dunlap, "Your Diabetes May Vary," Twitter: @badshoe
"My motto is 'test, correct, and move on' when it comes to out-of-range blood sugar readings." Cheryl Alkon, Cheryl Alkon, Author of Balancing Pregnancy With Pre-Existing Diabetes: Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby Twitter: @Lyrehca
"When I feel myself becoming frustrated with diabetes, I remind myself of how many other people are in my same position. Reminding myself that I'm not alone in this brings me a great deal of reassurance. I also find a resilient sense of humor, and the ability to laugh -- or at least smirk -- helps me deal with the tough moments." Kim Vlasnik, Texting My Pancreas, You Can Do This. Twitter: @txtngmypancreas
Q. How has diabetes helped shape your personality, character or values?
"Diabetes has made me more compassionate, helping me find what my passion in life is: helping others. It has also opened my mind to anything that is different or unfamiliar." Beatriz Dominguez, Cranky Pancreas, Twitter: @crankypancreas
"Like steel is forged in fire, the 'fire' of diabetes made me strong, gave my life focus and purpose. I regard it as a gift." Wil Dubois, Diabetes Author, Educator, and Advocate, LifeAfterDx, Diabetes Mine, dLife
"Diabetes has made me determined to succeed in everything I do. Diabetes is a relentless disease and its success is not measured by one (blood sugar) reading, but rather by consistently working through challenges to achieve success for numerous blood sugar readings each day." Brett Griswold, Diabetes is Like..., It's Only Diabetes!
"Living with diabetes has helped me find great joy in the little moments of every day and gives me a true appreciation of life." Cynthia Zuber, Diabetes Light, Twitter: @diabeteslight
"I am still a fairly impatient person, but diabetes has given me more patience. You need this virtue with a condition that is essentially with you 24/7." Manny Hernandez, Diabetes Hands Foundation Twitter: @askmanny and @DiabetesHF
"Diabetes has shown me that sometimes strength, toughness, and determination can come through vulnerability." Scott Johnson, Scott's Diabetes, Twitter: @scottkjohnson
"Diabetes has shaped my character by helping me to grow brave. I am less timid and squeamish now." Marie Smith, Joy Benchmarks, Twitter: @cellobard
"I thought my perspective on life was sound until my daughter Arden was diagnosed. Diabetes taught me what real perspective is. I see life's challenges differently now. Chronic illness is the great equalizer." Scott Benner, Arden's Day. (Scott's book, Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal, will be on shelves this April.)
"I notice more and listen better and empathize more and take more initiative. I feel lucky in a way that I otherwise wouldn't dream of." Kelly L. Close, editor-in-chief, diaTribe Twitter: @diaTribenews
"Living with diabetes has taught me to embrace challenge. Just because something is challenging or difficult does NOT mean it is a 'bad' thing. Facing the challenges of diabetes has helped me learn about who I am, what I care about, and how I can support other people in the world." Ginger Vieira, Living in Progress, Ginger Vieira YouTube Twitter: @GingerVieira
As for myself, diabetes has given my life a sense of purpose and the outlet I long searched for to help others. It has given me a sense of belonging, and even though I might not have wanted the keys to the diabetes clubhouse, I'm all the better for it.
"As for habits, I've created many that make managing my diabetes easier, including: 1) always keeping my glucose meter in the same place, on my kitchen counter, 2) having glucose tablets and SweeTarts in every pocket and bag, 3) monthly reminders on my calendar when to start a new vial of insulin, 4) following a low-carb diet, and 5) accumulating friends who share this journey." Riva Greenberg, Diabetes Stories, Diabetes by Design, Books on Amazon, Twitter: @diabetesmyths
For more responses, please click here.
For more by Riva Greenberg, click here.
For more on diabetes, click here.
Riva's new book, Diabetes Dos & How-Tos, will be available late November, along with 50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life and the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It and The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes. Riva speaks to patients and health care providers about flourishing with diabetes. Visit her website DiabetesStories.com.
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