If you’re a diabetic on Medicare, then this news is for you!
This story just popped up on my Facebook newsfeed and I’ve decided to do a quick blog post about the announcement. I will discuss this further next week! The following comes directly from the Center of Medicare Services:
“Medicare has permanently eliminated the 4 times-a-day testing requirement to qualify for a CGM. This long-time barrier to CGM access will be permanently removed on July 18, 2021! The removal of this criterion has been an effort long-led by the ADA, on which we have been actively engaged with CMS.
PWD on Medicare will now be able to more easily access this critical piece of technology, leading to better diabetes management and better health outcomes. A big win for the diabetes community!”
It’s been said that once we are in remission from type 2 diabetes, or if you’re a pre-diabetic who has reversed their chances of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes means that the journey is over. Most of us are unaware that a dose of reality is about to hit us head on.
Remission and reversal doesn’t mean dismissal.
It doesn’t mean that we return to our prior health and nutrition habits before our diagnosis. Diabetes is considered progressive for a reason. The more that we indulge in foods that we know are not healthy and stop the habits that helped us get to the point of remission or reversal, the faster Diabetes will further progress in our bodies, causing us to regress and erase all of the strides we’ve made. This is why type 2 diabetes is a lifelong chronic illness that we will always have to keep in check.
Friends, this is reality.
There are many of us who will continue these habits because we know that it works and we know the consequences when we don’t do it. This is the attitude that we need to adopt and live by EVERYDAY!
But for those who have backslidden and stopped implementing the very habits that have helped achieve remission and reversal in the first place: there’s no turning back!
There are no U-turns on this diabetes journey.
The constant grazing of unhealthy foods throughout the day, late eating patterns, the lack of sleep, the lack of intentional exercise and remaining in stressful and toxic environments are no longer options for us and should not be accepted as our normal. We have to ask ourselves, “Why do we even want to return to this life in the first place?”
Is it because we get to eat all of the foods that we’ve missed?
I get it. There are plenty of days when I have to battle those same feelings, especially while on a strict way of eating where you can’t eat a banana. Not all foods are bad, but for some, something like a banana can do more harm than good. Are you willing to risk eating something that you know will harm you just because you miss it?
Or is it because you just want to feel normal again…
I completely understand. I’ve mentioned this on several occasions on this blog and on some of the diabetes community platforms that the day I was diagnosed was the day that life that I knew it ended. Changing my eating habits, becoming more active, setting boundaries and staying consistent was the new normal for me. Even though there are difficult days, I know that this new normal is better in the long run. I’ve witnessed the benefits from the daily sacrifice of dying to self and taking a risk that many would find extremely difficult to do. If it wasn’t for diabetes, I would not have the knowledge of what I’ve gleaned from this journey. Why return to a chaotic life filled with inconsistent habits and ignorance?
Is it just something you had to do and now that you’re done, you don’t have to deal with this again.
“Yes”, I’ve said to myself five years after having my last child.
Dealing with a second bout of gestational diabetes really took a toll on me, causing me to give birth three weeks early. My final A1c check after delivery was 5.3. I was done. I was finally able to get on with my life and not have to deal with anything that had the word diabetes in it and if that was the case then it was not God’s will for my life. Even though I thought I was doing well because I was eating what I believed was a low carb diet (AKA: not eating much, but eating foods that caused insulin resistance.) and being active (AKA: staying busy, team no sleep, no intentional exercise), diabetes still found its way into my life. I did what I was instructed to do just to be free. That attitude brought me here.
Take a page from my book: if you return on the path that you were on prior to diagnosis, then you will find yourself head to head with diabetes at a high rate of speed and inevitably crashing.
Do you know the difference between a trip and a journey? A trip is an act of traveling to another place for a short time and then returning. A journey is when you travel a long distance from one place to another.
Diabetes is not a short trip where you can just make a U-turn, return and revert back to your old ways. Instead, think of diabetes as a long and continuous journey, discovering new ways of becoming healthier, feeling so much better than you ever had that you’ll never want to return to the way things were. Instead you’ll return with a new outlook and mindset, an unrecognizable you, who’s been inspired and forever impacted by this experience called diabetes.
Taking care of your mental health after a diabetes diagnosis by implementing a mental health management plan.
The day my doctor informed me that my blood sugar was very high and that additional testing was needed was a total blur. I can only remember going to the lab, holding my husband’s hand, sobbing as the phlebotomist drew blood from my arm. I remember crying all throughout the day in my room and my youngest son coming in giving me some wild violet weed flowers because he knew that I wasn’t feeling well.
When I received the official diagnosis from the doctor over the phone, it was just as if life stood still. Similar to someone telling you of a death of someone you know.
I was shocked.
All I can remember is setting up a follow-up appointment to plan my next steps, which would eventually become the start of my diabetes journey.
For the next several weeks, I’ve battled anger and depression. Anger because I knew that diabetes ran on both sides of my family, including my dad and older sister. Why me? I’m 99 lbs, ate what I believed was liberal low-carb. I stayed active despite anemia, kicking my behind. I became depressed because I knew that this was a lifelong condition and I’ve witnessed so many of my family members suffer from complications. Now this would be my life.
After a month of changing my diet and exercise routine, I felt like I was mentally able to accept my reality and began taking control of my new lifestyle. I’ve started relying on online diabetes support groups on Facebook and started this blog, “The Genetic Diabetic”. Even though I was (and still) doing well, I periodically experienced depressive thoughts about my diagnosis. However, I have been able to combat those thoughts by cooking new dishes and/or blogging.
A diabetes diagnosis permanently changes your life in so many ways physically and mentally. It’s normal to feel scared, isolated and even angry. I want to share with you a few tips I’ve discovered and currently use in my own journey. Consider this as mental health management plan for managing diabetes.
Take Time Off
If you’ve read my previous post, “Don’t Press Snooze on Your Health,” I’ve mentioned what happened immediately after I received the diagnosis. Proceeding to go along with my day after receiving life altering news was a very poor choice on my part. I was more concerned about not wanting to cancel at the last minute and establish a poor rapport with my client.
This is when you have to put your mental health first. Take time off to process what is happening. Do whatever you can to make that happen. Once you’ve had time to process and think, then you’ll be able to think clearly and will be able to mentally function
Gather Your Support System
I probably would not be able to get this far mentally on my journey without a strong support system. A strong support system can take form of just one person or a group. It can be a spouse, parent, trusted friend or an online support group that you can reach out for encouragement, advice and accountability.
Find Your Outlet
Whenever I become overwhelmed with diabetes and all of the issues that come with it, I take some time out of my day to do something that takes my mind off of diabetes. I enjoy cooking new foods, reading the bible, watching a good comedy or romcom or just spending time with my family. What types of things do you enjoy? Use those hobbies regularly as your outlet whenever you need to take your mind off of diabetes.
Seek Counseling When Needed
There will be times when even the previous tips that I’ve mentioned might not work. You might feel that you’re in a really dark place and you’re beginning to experience extreme emotional distress or suicidal thoughts. If this is currently where you are, then I strongly advise that you immediately seek professional help. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or chat on their website at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Battling a chronic illness like diabetes is definitely not for the weak. There will be many great strides, but there will also be many challenges and disappointments. However, with a solid mental health plan, you will be able to overcome these challenges with grace, endurance and tenacity.