I would tell newly diagnosed patients to get involved in the diabetes online community (DOC). You can learn a lot by talking to other people. I have seen a lot of newly diagnosed patients come to a message board and talk about something going on with their diabetes. They will say that their doctor never heard of that before when it is something very common with diabetics. One big misconception with diabetes is when someone is honeymooning – their body starts producing more insulin for a short period of time. That is pretty common, but sadly, a lot of doctors out there don’t seem to realize that or even know the term.
A doctor only has a short amount of time to spend with you and there are a lot of little things you might not realize. Things that a lot of us take for granted that they think “everyone” knows, a newly diagnosed person won’t necessarily know that. In one of the groups I belong to, there was a grandmother that read someone’s comment and asked a question. Her daughter had been told to throw her grandchild’s insulin pens away after 30 days. They did not realize that meant the pen they were using and they literally threw away the whole box of pens! She said the child was only using a small amount of insulin so they were literally throwing 4 unused pens away each month.
I am going to make one of the same recommendations that I made in my article, Advice to New Doctors and Nurses – get the books Using Insulin by John Walsh, Think Like a Pancreas by Gary Scheiner and The Diabetes Solution by Richard K. Bernstein, MD. Learn as much about diabetes as you can. Those books will give you a lot of tips that you will never hear from a doctor.
Your doctor should be a doctor that is willing to work with you as a team, not a dictatorship. I have seen people want to try a different insulin and their doctor refused. Or they wanted a pump and their doctor refused. They wanted a certain brand of pump and their doctor would not prescribe that brand of pump. Obviously, your doctor should make recommendations and there might be legitimate reasons why what you want would not work, but those reasons should be discussed with you and the final decision should be yours. When I wanted to switch to Apidra, my doctor did not think it would work and had concerns, but he let me try it. He gave me a sample pen to try and when I said I liked it and wanted a script, there was no problem.
Do the best you can. If you fall down, tomorrow is a new day.
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