Getting a new diagnosis can bring on complicated emotions. You may be relieved to finally get answers, scared of the future, and overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. If you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes, the good news is that plenty of research and resources are available to guide your journey! To get started, here are some tips we’ve gathered from chatting with our diabetic Friends in the Fight™.
1. Find support in the diabetics community
Living with any chronic illness can feel isolating. The best treatment for isolation is community! Find people who understand what you’re going through, and help educate those already close to you who may not understand.
Support groups can be a great place to start. It’s nice to have an outlet to vent your frustrations or worries, knowing that other people have all been there. It can also be a great sounding board for questions that only someone with your experience can answer. My first question in a support group was how to find bras that didn’t hurt, given my spinal pain. Doctors were baffled by this question, but my fellow patients immediately had a flood of answers. Even if you don’t post in a group, you can read other people’s questions and learn from the sidelines.
Each of the organizations listed in our diabetes resource guide offers a community with local chapters for you to meet people in your area if you find that an in-person community would be helpful. Mighty Well also offers our Friends in the Fight™ group that you are more than welcome to join. It is for all people affected by chronic illness, not just those specifically diagnosed with diabetes.
Depending on your age, diabetes camps can be the best way to build a community of people who get it without having to focus on your illness. You simply have fun together, build friendships, and experience all that summer camps offer with people going through similar experiences. You can find a camp near you here.
For building support with your existing friends and family, understand that it may take time, patience, and work to get people where you need them. Our healthy loved ones have to go through their own process of grief, helplessness, and acceptance and need to witness our struggles before they can fully build empathy for what we go through. It is so worth it when you do reach that point. Check out celebrating the heart of your relationships, our guide to difficult conversations, and maintaining healthy relationships despite chronic illness for tips to get you there faster.
2. Food tips specifically for diabetics
Finding joy in food can feel near-impossible when everything you eat is a math equation with dire consequences. Having some go-to carb-free foods available will give your brain a break. Note: the organizations listed in this resource guide also have ample recipes available (yes, they are awesome, all-encompassing sources of information and healing).
3. Diabetes tech tips
The technology available now for managing diabetes is amazing. Remember that there’s no best way to do this – you can choose what works best for you. Even if you enjoy all the benefits of high-tech pumps and apps, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a break. One Friend in the Fight™ tells us she loves her pump but chooses to take “pump vacations” every now and then to unplug and just use pens for a bit. You do you, whatever style feels right!
As an aside, sometimes the skin at your pump site can get irritated from adhesives. You may try Flonase spray on the area to help soothe allergies and irritation.
4. Staying organized with diabetic supplies
It can be exhausting keeping track of treatments, blood sugar, and all the other complicated factors that come with being diagnosed with diabetes. Find ways to reduce your brain’s load. Use your phone for alarms and diabetes apps. Use organizers to keep all of your gear in order and easily accessible.
5. Take one step at a time
The most important thing to remember when it all gets overwhelming is that you can do this, and you will. Take it one step at a time, look to role models who’ve been doing it longer than you, and just do your best — whatever that looks like each day!
Oh, and remember that you’re not alone. In fact, you’re far from it. 💚
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