Managing diabetes is a full-time job that I didn't apply for, don't want and can't quit. I have to think about what, when and how much I eat, while factoring in exercise, medication, stress, blood sugar monitoring and much more – every day. I need all of the support I can get.
Nobody likes to be told what to do. As well, many popular beliefs about diabetes – such as avoiding sugar – are outdated or just wrong. Trust that I am getting the advice I need from my health care team.
It's likely that I would appreciate your help. However, what I need might be quite different than what you think I need. Please ask and I will let you know.
When you first learn about my diabetes, you may want to reassure me by saying things like, "Hey it could be worse; you could have cancer!" This won't make me feel better. While you mean to soothe me, the truth is that diabetes (like cancer) is a big deal.
One of the most powerful ways you can help is to join my efforts to change for the better. Offer to be my partner in exercising or eating in a healthier way. The bonus – healthy lifestyle changes will benefit you too!
Having diabetes is scary enough! As well, much may have changed since your grandmother was diagnosed with the condition. By managing my diabetes well, the odds are good that I can live a long, healthy and happy life.
Help me succeed by supporting healthy food choices. Honour my decision to decline a particular food, even though you may really want me to try it. It is hard for me to spend time with you if I am always being tempted.
I'm not enjoying the process either. I must check my blood sugar and take medications to manage my diabetes. Having to hide only makes it harder.
These numbers are private unless I choose to share them. It is normal to have numbers that are sometimes too low or too high. Your comments add to the disappointment, frustration and anger I am already feeling.
As I work to manage my diabetes successfully, just knowing that you care can both motivate and reassure me.