Welcome to the first post in our T1D Journey blog series!
Did you know that 40,000 people are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes each year? If you or someone you love has recently become part of that statistic, this may be feeling like the most overwhelming year of your life. From the simplest human needs like eating, moving, and sleeping, to the aspects of your life that make you unique, diabetes has flipped it all upside-down, inside out, and backwards.
We often hear from our coaching clients that when they first left the hospital, they felt confused, unprepared, and lacking support. Even if you felt equipped to take on your diagnosis and diabetes management, the truth about thriving with T1D likely wasn’t shared with you at your doctor’s office. Press pause on everything related to diet, exercise, and A1C…and read on to learn why the top 3 resources for newly diagnosed T1Ds are your instincts, your wisdom, and your curiosity.
T1D Truth: Your endo doesn’t know everything. And no one knows your body better than you do.
Embrace that mindset so that you don’t get stuck relying on a doctor you see 2-4 times a year to lead the management of a condition that you live with every day. Whether it’s what you eat, how you exercise, or how much insulin you need, listen to your body and sit in the driver’s seat.
What can you do without your endo?
- As you start to recognize patterns in your blood sugars around activity, food, and hormones, you can change your own insulin rates.
- If you want to do something that T1D makes challenging, whether that’s running a marathon or eating pizza, you can experiment with strategies on your own.
- You can get mental + emotional support from other resources, people in your life, or professionals.
T1D Truth: Technology can’t operate without your wisdom.
Insulin pumps and CGMs are tools that make diabetes so much more manageable, but they still aren’t intuitive the way the human brain is. In order to get the most from your technology, you need to understand what’s going on beneath the surface. Relying on your pump or CGM to manage your blood sugars for you won’t help you feel in control.
What can you learn without your tech?
- Spend a little more time in manual mode. When you go out of range, use this information to identify patterns, and make adjustments as needed. It’s a great way for someone who is newly diagnosed to get really intimate with their patterns.
- Switch to glucose meter checks (instead of a CGM) for a while to get to know your body’s signs and signals for when you are high or low. In the event that your CGM is ever inaccurate, you will be able to rely on your own natural alarm system.
T1D Truth: Logging is your new BFF.
When diabetes is new, you might feel like you are in survival mode. How can you switch to learning mode? We recommend that you track your food, activity, insulin, and blood sugars. Pick a number of days per week that feels manageable and commit to logging whatever happens. You might be surprised at how the confusion of each day starts to come together like puzzle pieces when it’s all written out.
What should you look for in your logs?
- What are your blood sugars like overnight? That 8-10 hour period of time that you are sleeping is the easiest to nail down because there aren’t any additional variables of food or activity. Look for trends based on where your blood sugar is when you go to sleep and where it is when you wake up or study your overnight CGM graph.
- What’s happening after meals? Are your numbers going up and then coming back down, or going up and staying up? These patterns can indicate that your insulin to carb ratio or insulin timing are off.
- How does activity impact your blood sugars? You will start to notice that different types of exercise affect your blood sugars differently. Based on your body’s response, you can strategize accordingly with temp basals or snacks.
If you are one of the 40,000 people who were diagnosed with diabetes this year, welcome. We hope that reading this has made you feel empowered and supported as you set off on your T1D journey. Share this post with someone who may need it and for community connection, join our Together T1D Facebook group and be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date!