November 19, 2014

Lessons for People New to Type 2 Diabetes, Part 1

On November 14, I initiated a discussion with Scott Johnson after he posted on Google + about mySugr Academy (click on the PRO link for finding the most videos). For visual learners, this may be of some help, but they are a little thin in providing actual help for people with type 2 diabetes. While it is still a work in progress, I think there is a lot of room for improvement. Three other members of the support group that I belong to were here with me when Scott posted his information on the site. Two of them had their laptops with them and I quickly forwarded a copy to them.

After some discussion amongst us, even they were less than enthusiastic about the site, especially after they made it through most of the videos that are in English. We agreed that we are not visual learners apparently and the short (very short) videos seemed not to tell us much about managing our diabetes. I said as much to Scott in an email and he said we were probably more advanced than the audience this was intended to reach. We agreed, but felt that even with this, the information was too thin.

It did not answer questions we might have had after diagnosis about food we could eat and exercise that could be safe for us. Two of the group are regular at exercise and two of us are more sedentary than active. The one factor we did not discuss with Scott was we all eat low carb, high fat. Three of us are using insulin and one is no longer on medications. The person on no medications started on insulin to obtain rapid management of his diabetes and once he lost the pounds he and the doctor agreed he needed to lose, he decided to get off medications with the approval of his doctor.

We agreed that for most people with type 2 diabetes, this would not serve as a link between the diagnosis and a class with an educator, as very few exist in our area and the few that do, do not really educate, but give out with mandates and mantras that they expect us to follow blindly. We agreed that this was not an education on managing our type 2 diabetes. After a few emails between Scott and myself, I was asked by the three why I don't pull together some of my blogs as an introduction to education and then expand into a written series on education for those people who are not visual learners, but learn by reading and having something to refer to when they have additional questions.

So while they are looking up some of my blogs and pulling together ideas to help me, I will start and work to provide some education for the newly diagnosed people with type 2 diabetes. Then I will expand this to more education and provide ideas that may assist you in your continued diabetes education.

Shortly after my diagnosis, I had to learn and accept - it was not my fault. There are too many that blame us for having diabetes and make snide remarks that if we had taken better care of ourselves, by not eating sugar, we wouldn't have diabetes. The second lesson took a lot longer - I cannot change the past - it is the past and I have to learn to live in the present. Painful, yes, and at times harder than a real job. Diabetes requires my attention 24/7 days a week and does not allow for a vacation.

Many of us have learned that there are no rules in diabetes, but I have found a few that are reliable rules.
  1. What works for me, may not work for you. That is the first rule. Some have another version – Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV)!
  2. Always discuss things with your doctor(s). That is the second rule.
  3. Always discuss changes with your doctor(s). That is the third rule.
  4. In diabetes, there are no quick fixes. That is the fourth rule.
  5. If you refuse to manage your diabetes, complications will develop. That is the fifth rule.
Another lesson that many need to learn is what type of learner they are and this will determine how they best learn about diabetes. Visual learners may benefit from the site that Scott is promoting or from the many videos that appear on youtube or other websites. Other people learn from reading and having the reading material available to reread when they need help. Another group will learn from experience and never remember something unless they go through the experience. For some this is termed the 'College of hard knocks.'

Diabetes is not a disease that can be learned easily as the information constantly changes and as we age, our bodies react differently, creating new factors to learn and remember. So, even if you are a visual learner or reading learner, in a way we all have our own 'college of hard knocks' teaching us.

No comments: