[It's Diabetes Awareness Month] -- 5 min read
It’s that time of the year again, no I’m not talking about the weird time between Halloween and Thanksgiving (but almost everyone is thinking about Christmas lol.) IT’S DIABETES AWARENESS MONTH. It’s not necessarily the “most wonderful time of the year,” but it is really cool that diabetes has an awareness month.
The purpose behind “Diabetes Awareness Month” is for communities across the country to observe and bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. As someone that has Type 1 diabetes, it is nice to feel the sense of community that “Diabetes Awareness Month” brings.
I recently watched a video from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases about “National Diabetes Awareness Month” and the key point of the video was “you are the center of your diabetes care team.” Let’s take a minute to fully digest what that means.
To “be at the center” of something means that you are “the main subject or interest” according to the Cambridge English Dictionary. There are some other definitions I found as well but they all pretty much said the same thing: “to be the most important part of something, especially the main cause of it.”
Now, what they don’t mean is that we are the main cause of our diabetes. No, what they are saying is that we are the main cause/ most important part of our diabetes care team. Essentially, we are our own advocates and in charge of our health (as much as we can control.)
What does it mean to be your own advocate?
Being your own advocate means that you ask for what you need while respecting the needs of others. For example, if you are at a store and a clerk ignores you, ask in a polite way to be served. Self-advocacy is asking for what you need in a direct, respectful manner. Regarding diabetes, it means that while you have a team of health care professionals that give you advice on how to help you with diabetes, ultimately YOU are responsible for making sure the team functions in a way that best benefits you and produces optimal outcomes.
How to be your own diabetes advocate?
There are many ways you can start advocating for yourself to better manage your diabetes, but first, I would recommend you make a commitment for better health. Fellow warriors, will power is not enough to get us life-long results. We need to make a commitment, find our why, and be the change we wish to see in ourselves.
Sadly, our health care system in America fails us sometimes. If you, like many I have talked to, have cruddy doctors, being your own advocate is even more important. Too often people slip through the cracks because of the incompetence often seen in the health care system in America. The best thing you can do to fight this is to start asking questions. Seriously, every time you think of a question, write it down. If it can’t wait, email your doctor with the questions. If it can wait, then wait until your next doctor appointment and ask them the hard questions. If you doctor doesn’t know, ask him or her politely if they can refer you to someone who does knows (maybe an endocrinologist, if you don’t already have one.) Don’t rest until your questions are answered to the extent you like. Take it even a step further and write down the answers your doctor gives you. There is no rule saying you can’t write down what your doctor says, AND it will help you remember their answers.
The last bit of advice I will give to you about being your best advocate it to get educated on diabetes; understand exactly what diabetes is and what it means for you. Stay up to date on the latest treatments and ground-breaking diabetes research. This will help you make good, well-informed decisions regarding your diabetes, help you double-check your doctor’s advice, and give you an idea about what kind of treatment is out there so you can explore new treatment options with your doctor’s consent.
My own personal experience advocating for myself:
I have some personal experience being my own best advocate. I heard about the CGM Dexcom offers, through a diabetes conference I attended, and really wanted to try it out. I’m not really interested in using an insulin pump at this point in my life but not having to prick myself to test my sugars throughout the day was a very nice thought. I asked my doctor about getting a CGM and she initially said “Well, let’s see if you really need one. You can have a 2-week trial of a CGM from Dexcom and well evaluate whether or not you need one.” Sure enough, when the results came back from my trail usage of the CGM from Dexcom, my doctor said I wasn’t qualified to get one with insurance. Do you know how much those things cost without insurance? Let me tell you, it’s not cheap.
I fought for about 8 months to get one. I ended up switching doctors and my new Endocrinologist gave me a prescription for the CGM from Dexcom. While the CGM Dexcom offers isn’t always accurate, it has lowered the amount of times I have to prick my finger to test every day. To me, that is a big win.
Living with diabetes can be challenging to manage every day. Remember that you are the most important member of your diabetes care team, but you don’t have to manage your diabetes alone. Seek support from health care professionals, your family, friends, and community to manage your diabetes. When your ready, learn more about how to better manage your diabetes.
Until next time, Keep up the fight!
LOOKING FOR A COACH TO HELP GUIDE YOU THROUGH YOUR DIETARY AND LIFE CHANGES?
We offer a variety of services specifically for Diabetics which include but are not limited to: Health and wellness coaching, nutrition coaching, diabetic education, fitness training, mindset training, supportive online community of like-minded diabetics, and so much more! Want more info? Check us out here: