I am participating in Wego Health’s National Health Blog Post Month. Today’s topic is, “How have your goals as a patient / advocate / person evolved?” I am also participating in Mike Durbin of My Diabetic Heart, Diabetes Blessings Week. I am going to attempt to turn the Wego Health prompts into Diabetes Blessings!
When I was diagnosed backing January, 1984, we didn’t have the internet so there was no Diabetes Online Community (DOC) to turn to. I had to rely on my doctor for recommendations of things to read. I was sent for one meeting with an educator at the hospital – I don’t think they were called CDEs back in those days. My doctor had given me a flyer for the American Diabetes Association so I ordered a bunch of stuff from them. There was a bookstore close to where I lived so I stopped in there and bought a bunch of books to read. No one from the DOC was there to suggest which ones were the good books to get and which ones you should avoid like the plague.
I also grew up in a culture that when you went to the doctor, you followed his advice and didn’t question him. Back in those days, they called the A1c the HbA1c. I read they should be done regularly and I remember looking at what my doctor billed my insurance for and saw that they were being done, but I didn’t ask questions nor did a get a copy.
When I started having problems with gastroparesis, I discovered that doctors were clueless about that and had no idea how to help someone. I went from trusting everything a doctor said to hating them. I hated them because even though they knew I had gastroparesis and by definition, gastroparesis plays havoc with blood sugar, all I received from them was criticism.
After I found the DOC, I learned how to manage my blood sugar and started getting much better A1cs. Now doctors treated me a lot better because they thought I had good control with a good A1c. I now know that the ADA is not the best source of information if you want good blood sugar control. I know which are the good books to get. I see discussions on new studies and various products on the market. I hear other people talk about the same problems I have and what they do to manage those problems.
Because of the things I have gone thru, I now question everything. I immediately come home and look things up. I post a question and ask my fellow diabetics if they have been thru something. I get copies of all lab reports. I am an educated patient.
I also no longer jump because a doctor says jump. I make the decisions about the things that I will or will not do. A doctor can make suggestions to me, but it is my body and I get the final say about what will be done.
My Diabetes Blessing is that I survived long enough to find the DOC. I don’t know what my life would be like today if I had not. Prior to finding the DOC, my blood sugar was literally bouncing around from 30 to 300 on a daily basis.
Please visit Wego Health’s National Health Blog Post Month Facebook page to read other activist’s posts. Also visit My Diabetic Heart’s Diabetic Blessings Week page to check out other Blessings posts.