“My biggest problem with diabetes” answered by 86 persons with diabetes

Earlier this year I was asked to have a lecture about diabetes. Normally I would have just shared my own views, but this time I wanted to include the views of many diabetics. I made a quick survey and posted it in a diabetes-related discussion group. A day later I had almost a hundred responses. One of the questions in the survey was “What is your biggest problem with diabetes?”.

The list of five familiar to most of us

Eighty-six type 1 diabetics answered the question. Here’s the list of five things people consider their biggest problem with diabetes is:

  1. My BG levels often go up and down like a rollercoaster
  2. I am tired of taking care of my diabetes
  3. I am not receiving enough medical supplies to take care of my diabetes properly
  4. My diabetes and exercise don’t go well together
  5. The dawn phenomenon is messing up my bg levels

I personally have suffered from all of those problems with diabetes at some point of my 15-year-long “diabetes career”. In my country, the public healthcare covers the price of supplies, but most often you don’t get enough of them. My double diabetes diagnosis makes sure the my BG levels are never steady. Every day my diabetes seems to act differently depending on a seemingly endless list of affecting factors. Before I got an insulin pump, my BG levels would go through the roof before waking up in early morning. Pump also made combining exercise and diabetes much more easier. Many of those listed problems have a very real solution, we just have to find a solution that works for us.

“What can help you counter these problems?” x 86

What did the diabetics hope to have as a solution to their diabetes problems?

  • “I would like to have CGM”
  • “If someone could share my woes and support me mentally”
  • “I wish there would be some technical aid for me”
  • “I wish my endo would face me as a person instead of a series of values”

If I could relate to all the problems, I sure as well can relate to these glimmers of hope! CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) helps A LOT, for sure. Too bad CGM is really expensive and out of reach for many. But when it comes to receiving support, things are often better. National diabetes associations have all kinds of peer support activities available world-wide and online discussion groups are also a great way to share your worries and receive support. Sharing things with an understanding soul can really help with diabetes burnout.

Talking about online support, there is our very own Dottli app, which can help you with peer support and technical aid aspects. You can invite your diabetic (or non diabetic) friends to your Dottli channel and share your logged values automatically. On the chat channel, you can comment on each others’ every value or none at all. You decide what you share and comment. It can feel great and motivating to have your best diabetic friend give you comfort when you are struggling with high bg levels.

A good diabetes doctor can make a huge difference. It is funny how a person you meet maybe two hours each year, can have such a profound effect on your well-being. Supporting and understanding doctor loaded with great advice can truly change your life. I used to struggle a lot with doctors, but finally I found a great one and I hope to keep her for a long time! 🙂

We all have our biggest problem with diabetes but we can try to search different solutions that work for us. It is important to reach out and try to find fellow persons with diabetes who can really understand what you are going through. Facebook is a great tool for finding online peer groups!

Miika

– The writer is one of Dottli’s diabetics and social media guy.