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When You Were Diagnosed
December 26, 2012
My publisher wants a book for people new to Type 2. Can you help? What do you remember about your diagnosis? What information and support could you have used at that stressful time, and did you receive it?
For some people, the diagnosis comes as a shock. Robert told me, “I just went to a clinic for a flu I couldn’t shake off. The doctor looked at my labs and said, ‘How long have you had diabetes?’ It was the first I’d heard of it.”
For others, it was expected. Mary said, “My mother has diabetes, and one of my aunts died from it. I always figured it was coming for me.”
Some people say they felt overwhelmed. (I know I felt that way when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.) “The whole thing was too much,” one woman said. “I didn’t know what it meant. Medicines, diet changes, glucose testing, lab tests, appointments. Diabetes was taking over my life.”
Does that ring true for you? Some people have the opposite experience. “My doctor was very casual about it,” Mark told me. “He made it seem like no big deal, which I liked at the time. But six years later, after my neuropathy started, I wished he had been stronger about it.”
Do you remember what emotions came up for you around your diagnosis? People report feeling scared, angry, sad, or confused. Did you feel any of that? What did you do about it, and what would have helped you?
From reading and from working with people with diabetes, it seems that many do not take it seriously until they get some kind of complication. It’s pretty easy to go into denial about it, because it can be too scary to think about. I think denial is often a mask for hopelessness or fear. Does that make sense for you?
Even when they do take it seriously, many people naturally rely on what their doctor tells them. Not until later, if ever, do they come to sites like Diabetes Self-Management and start educating themselves.
Did you go through a period of not taking diabetes seriously? Why did that happen? Have you always relied primarily on your doctors? When did you start seeking others sources of information? What kind of information has been most helpful?
Although some are happy with the nutrition support they received, others feel it wasn’t presented clearly enough, or think it wasn’t something they could follow. Some feel the diet advice they got was mostly wrong. How satisfied are you with the nutrition advice you received when diagnosed? Was it helpful and easy to understand?
I wonder what you were told about complications. Was the discussion frightening? Did fear of complications motivate you or scare you half to death? How would you have liked this topic presented?
A question I always ask clients is, what’s been the hardest thing about diabetes for you? Is it the glucose monitoring, the diet changes, exercise, understanding lab tests, dealing with sexual issues or other complications, or something else?
Finally, what was the turning point for you? What I would like this book to do is help people feel they have gotten their diabetes under some kind of control, that this is something they can handle. When did that happen for you? Or has it yet?
Sorry to ask all these questions, but I think it’s important for us to share our stories. You might help somebody else get through a difficult time. What should people know as they start out on this long and challenging journey? How can the knowledge be presented in a way they can take in?
Happy Holidays to everyone in our community! I wish you all the healthiest and happiest possible New Year.
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