How to prepare yourself after being diagnosed

Prepare yourself by getting clarity

« It’s important to understand the information that your doctor is providing you. If you’re unsure of the terms that they’re using ask them what it means. They’re not going to know what you want to know unless you tell them. Things like A1C, blood sugar levels, the medication they’re suggesting, etc.

Once you understand that, then you can begin to discuss the basic tools that you’ll need.

The Basics

The one of the first things your doctor is going to do is prescribe you medication based on your blood test results. Depending on how high your A1C is, a variation of medication or strategies will be discussed. For the most part, you will most likely receive a prescription for metformin if the suggestion is oral medication. Metformin is a common starter prescription more on that later. I’ve personally never experienced or heard of someone getting straight on insulin unless they’re diagnosed with Type 1. Not to say it can’t happen.

The second thing your doctor will discuss is blood sugar meters. This is how you’ll be able to see your exact numbers at any given time. The frequency of how often you’ll check this is something you’ll want to discuss with your doctor. For example, my doctor told me I don’t need to check very often. Once a day in the mornings fasting is fine. She said I could check a few hours after I’ve had dinner if I wanted to. It’s typically best to check about the same time as well if you can. There are a lot of options for meters from very inexpensive to all the bells and whistles.

I personally use One Drop. It has a bluetooth meter that syncs with my phone app. It connects with Apple health and most importantly, it’s decently priced even if you don’t have insurance. At the time when I bought it, if I used my insurance it would’ve been more expensive. I do still have my first meter which was only $15 at Walmart. Technology isn’t perfect and it’s nice to have as a backup. Be sure to talk with your doctor on what range your blood sugar needs to be in once you start your medication. This is vital to determining if it’s working or if adjustments need to be made.

Other tools and tips

So, you’ve got your drugs and your equipment, now what? Since you know what range your blood sugar should be in, you have your prescription instructions (provided by your doctor and the pharmacy when you pick it up) now you can begin to setup a routine for yourself.

This is where you can get creative. To create a solid routine, it’s best to note what you’re trying to accomplish. Then break out how you would accomplish this in small steps. For example:

Goal: lower A1C

Actionable small steps:

  • check blood sugar fasting, after dinner etc (this will vary per person)
    • log blood sugar (app, journal, etc)
      • take medication
        • 2x a day morning after breakfast, evening after dinner (this will vary per person)
        • log
      • log food intake (app, journal, etc)

Create a schedule or routine

Once you know what steps you’ll need to do on a regular basis, think about your schedule and write out how each step fits into it. This is very important because knowing how your body is responding is key to your success. These steps should become normal everyday things like brushing your teeth. Using the above steps, if you work a full time job like myself and you go to the gym.

For example
  • 5:30 AM wake up
    • check blood sugar (the meter is on the nightstand or in the bathroom)
    • log results
    • brush teeth, face routine, shower and get ready for work
  • 6:30 AM
    • walk dogs
    • pack breakfast and lunch
    • leave for work by 7:15 AM
  • 7:45 AM
    • log breakfast- eat
    • Take medication
  • 12:30 PM log lunch – eat
  • 5:30 PM gym
  • 7 PM log dinner – eat
    • take medication
  • 8 PM 0 sugar 0 carb food and drinks only
  • Super important to note! Your body needs hours to break down food and process it. Sugar/Carbs take the longest. So if you load up on them at dinner and then have snacks afterward, your blood sugar is going to go up instead of down in preparation for sleeping. I’m a snacker especially when I’m working late. The later you eat the higher your levels may be in the morning.

I’m sure you get it

Integrate the steps into your day to day. There are a lot of great tools to help you as well! I’m a tech enthusiast so I’m alway trying out new apps and methods to make things easier. Find what works best for you. I use One Drop because it makes logging my levels easier. Since it integrates with Apple health anything else that I log will also be loaded into the One Drop app. Logging my food is still a challenge. On one hand I’d be ok writing things down. I keep a bullet journal (even though I have an iPad pro—trying to get into digital journaling but there’s just something about paper lol) where I jot down my thoughts and use it as a planner too.

At the same time logging what I’m eating in an app like Carb Manager or MyFitnessPal, helps me see what items (if scannable) are going to help my blood sugar stay even or spike it. I’ve set the apps to be keto/low carb focused which helps me see overall how much sugar I’m consuming. I also use fasting apps like Zero and I’m currently trying out Simple. Lastly I have a habit tracking app, Fabulous, to help keep me on course and build a positive mindset as I do go. I struggle with this one too but you get it. Find what works for you. Get your friends and family involved. Figure out what’s going to keep you motivated.

And hey, it’s ok if you go through some trial and error just keep going. I’m still struggling to stay on top of things but I always try to get back at it.

I’d love to know what tools or routines you guys use? I’m always up to try new things so share away!

Until next time

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