Monday, 11 February 2013

Think Like A Pancreas.

Time to 'Think Like a Pancreas'.
It's time to go back to basics; time to re-educate myself on diabetes care and everything else. How? With my new Kindle-read Think Like A Pancreas by Gary Scheiner. I downloaded this this morning and have been reading it all day. It's actually quite refreshing to read a book about diabetes written by a type one diabetic. I remember doing a lot of reading when I was first diagnosed, but I don't think I actually read anything written by another type one.

For the moment, I have just been reading the chapters that are going to give me the knowledge I need just to get back on track. When I'm back on track, I'll then read the more detailled stuff. It is often said that knowledge is power, and this is very much the case right now. The more I read Scheiner's book, the more in control I feel about everything. And, like I've said, it definitely helps that he writes from his own experiences. 

So, I've been taking notes as I read (knowledge is power, remember!) and this is what I've taken from the book so far (N.B. All information is below is a summary of what I took from the book "Think Like A Pancreas". I'm also going to take the time to mention here that I have not been paid to advertise this book; it's just my opinion of it. And whilst I'm mentioning stuff, I'm also gonna point you in the direction of my disclaimer --> click here!):

  • First off, Scheiner was diagnosed in his hometown Sugarland, Texas. Not relevant to  my diabetes care, but hilariously ironic!
  • That crappy blood sugars affect your body a lot. I'm not just talking the lack of energy and ability to concentrate, but it also affects your skin and gums, your mood and actually helps to reduce your appetite. 
  • Something that I found particularly interesting was that "high glucose levels can make us impatient, irritable and generally negative" - I've had a very negative attitude towards my diabetes care recently, and it turns out my crappy blood sugars have just heightened that sentiment.
  • That although my diabetes is autoimmune and there's nothing I could have done to prevent it from happening, chances are there was still a trigger. Scheiner states that "viruses, major stress, environmental toxins, exposure to certain foods at a young age and genetic markers have been proposed as potential triggers."
  • There are actually six types of diabetes! Six! Type 1, type 2, gestational, LADA, MODY, neonatal.
  • Diabetes management relies upon three interlinked criteria: tools, skills and attitude. And you need to have all three. The best tools and the expertise to use it just isn't going to cut it if you don't have the right attitude. 
  • Record keeping is essential. At the start, it needs to be daily, but once control has been fine-tuned, written record keeping can be done periodically, like one week a month or when levels start slipping.
  • Linking in with record keeping, it's important to know what to look for when you have your results written out. Scheiner suggests focusing on overall average glucose, standard deviations (the amount of variability in your readings - yes, I did have to look up what it was, and apparently lower is better!), and the percentage of readings that are above, below and within your target range. 
But the most important nugget of information I took from my reading so far is the following:

"Over the course of your life with diabetes, there will be countless setback. When they occur, do not give up. It really helps to live your diabetes life one day at a time. You can't change the past, so don't worry about what you did - or didn't do - yesterday. And you certainly can't live tomorrow until tomorrow. Every day represents an opportunity for a fresh start."

This is something I can very much relate to, and it is going to be what I keep on coming back to as I get back on track with everything, and I look forward to learning more about my diabetes care. 

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