I start with my own story, I lived in denial of my diabetes for almost fifteen years, I didn't test my blood sugar, took insulin when I felt it was needed and never told anyone about my disease. Today I share my story with as many people as I can, I have spoken at schools, businesses and at local hospitals. I leave nothing out when i share my story, I talk about everything and how bad it really was. I tell of how I feel I shouldn't be alive and how I have been told that numerous times by doctors and nurses. Each time I share my story with groups I get at least one person that stays after to talk to me. After trading pleasantries the people will open up and tell me that what I spoke about is what they are going through right now. They want to know more, they want to know how I turned my diabetes around. I hear about the testing three times a day for a week or so and then it is back to not testing and not caring.
My dream is to one day have diabetes rehabilitation centers across the United States. We have facilities for drug, alcohol, and behavioral disorders, why not diabetes? In doing research for this post I did find a number of diabetes outpatient programs. Here is the link to the program that Joslin Diabetes Center has. This program is great and I encourage people to look at what it does offer. You learn about the newest advancements and how to mange diabetes, one example is how to respond to high blood sugar levels. That is great but what if you're not testing and don't know what your blood sugar is. What if you don't want to test, what if you don't want to have a healthy diet because you want to be like your friends and eat ice cream. We know that is possible with diabetes but you need to know how to cover that ice cream with insulin.
By no means would the diabetes rehabilitation center that I'm dreaming of be a place for everyone, it will be like being having Bob Knight taking care of you. I know that it would work but it would break people down and that isn't for everyone. For example I wish I had someone in my face telling me that I was killing myself when I was 20, if someone had laid it all out and broke me down I would have responded. I needed to hear that I would be an amputee if I continued my ways. I would have cried for days if a person living with diabetes amputee had spoken to me. That may sound like putting a guilt trip on someone but I strongly believe that you have to understand the patients psyche to understand how to get them to take care of themselves.
How is this different than hearing information from your endocrinologist, parents or significant other? Like any rehabilitation the time spent at a facility is not predetermined. It may take me 45 days and it might take others two weeks or a year. Just like drug rehab each patient is different. The key would be to understand the patient, why aren't they taking care of themselves, that would be found out at classes and meetings. The rehabilitation centers would be families, and patients would live together in hopes of forming relationships and having someone to talk to once they leave the facility.
For far to long i have heard about people not taking care of their diabetes and not caring about their diabetes. It is very tough to hear, many have all of the resources that they need but still refuse to care for themselves. My dream is to one day start a diabetes rehabilitation center to start helping those that are suffering from diabetes denial.