Living Well With Diabetes: Gain Knowledge

After my diagnosis I was faced with a whole lot of new information.

Well, it was new to me. Doctors, dietitians, websites, books, co-workers, friends, family… They all had something to say about diabetes, how it works (or doesn’t work, as the case may be), its complications, and what’s the best way to “treat” it.

Being bombarded with information wasn’t helpful. It was confusing. Sometimes one person told me one thing and another person told me exactly the opposite. Which was correct? What was just crackpot? I needed to sort it all out.

In short: “What do I need to know?”

I needed to understand diabetes, Type 2 diabetes in particular. With knowledge I could make better choices each day. With understanding I could make informed choices.

I uncovered three kinds of knowledge that helped me.  

1. Medical Knowledge focuses on the body. It is a mix of science and conventional wisdom. It’s about the disease, what it does to the body, common treatments, and expected prognosis.

2. Lifestyle Knowledge focuses on how to live healthfully. It covers things like exercise, managing stress, and what to eat. It can also be about alternative treatments like herbal supplements or massage therapy.

3. Personal Knowledge focuses on what works for me. This is the point where I applied what I learned. I figured out how I was going to take care of myself and what changes I was going to make.

I worked on integrating all these kinds of knowledge into my day-to-day life. I discussed different medications with my doctor. Tried out different approaches to eating: counting carbs, the healthy diabetic plate, etc. Did different kinds of exercise: yoga, walking, etc. And I tested my blood sugar levels before and after and logged the change. I experimented. I logged everything. I reviewed my logs. And in the process I figured out what works best for me.

No single treatment works for everyone. Only by gaining knowledge could I make informed choices about my best set of treatments.