I received a very interesting email yesterday and I wanted to share it with you. I was asked; “You write all the time about education being so crucial in the diabetes journey, and crucial to accepting this disease—-what is the best way to educate ourselves?”
What an incredible question.
I will begin this answer from my experience but I also would LOVE for so many others to chime in on this post by hitting reply so everyone can also learn.
In as much as I believe the online community can supply a huge amount of information, I also believe that one must fully understand that what people are sharing (in most cases) is what worked for them. One may love pump XYZ and another may believe that MDI (multiple daily injections) is what is correct for them; one may believe in having a diabetes alert dog, and another may not; one may believe in supporting ABC organization and another may swear by 1-2-3; all of this is fine and it is just important to know that what works for one may (repeat, may) not work for you. There are also a good deal of writers (bloggers) out here who share what they have gone through, are going through, and what is new in the diabetes world. Find a few that you like and you can go to the Diabetes Advocates site to see a list of many of those who write consistently.
I think it’s also important to attend as many presentations as possible. Presentations where experts will be speaking. Your local support groups, organization/foundation sponsored events, hospital sponsored lectures, camps, and organizations like Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Conferences are just some of the places we attended over the years that supplied a huge amount of information. I know your local ADA and JDRF chapters are always organizing events that are chock-full of incredible information–check with them on what will be happening.
Don’t walk by those vendor booths at events. So many organized fund-raising events will allow the opportunity for ‘vendors’ from diabetes supply companies an area where they can show you what is new with their product(s). Don’t just think of it as someone trying to ‘sell you’ something, but rather look at it as an opportunity to learn about what is out there; even if you are already using XYZ product, and not DEF. You just might find something on a device that you did not know existed.
I have also heard people say that they do not have enough time to do what they need to do; much less trying to learn anything else. I would take issue with that for this reason; if you have some place to go and you are late—-and you have a flat tire, you will have no choice but to fix it. You may not have time for a teacher-conference meeting but you’ll have to make time. I could give you a thousand examples of things one does not have to do; but time is made for it when needed.
Education is needed. Period.
I have often stated that I love the line from the Broadway musical Wicked; There are bridges you cross
You didn’t know you crossed
Until you’ve crossed…..
Education is a process……and as you enter this world it seems like there is just so much information coming at you like a fire-hose of water and not a trickle. I assure you that once you start you will look back six months from now and be very surprised just how much you have grown.
I’m not going to tell you what you HAVE TO DO or HOW MUCH time you need to spend, that is up to you. But none of us—–NONE OF US signed up for the lives we are in—-we were thrust into it kicking and screaming just like everyone else.
But we are in it now.
And I can assure you that the more you know, the better you will survive. How do you make a dark room less scary?????—-turn on a light.
Education is the light that is needed; how bright your room can be is up to you. But start by flipping the education switch. You’ll be glad you did.
I am a diabetes dad.
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