Over at HealthCentral Network, the theme for 2010 is “This Year, I Get My Condition Under Control.” For January, the bloggers are focused on “Pairs of Tens for Your Condition,” as in 10 Things You Should Know, 10 Myths Busted, etc., etc.
For my part, I’m taking on “10 Things I’ll Do This Year.” To make them actually matter, I’m trying not to think about them as “resolutions” — which are so easily flubbed up and then left in the dust — but rather “notes to self” that I can maybe pin on my refrigerator as a reminder, or on my bathroom mirror, or possibly to my eyeglasses (necessary some days ).
1. Eat more “whole foods” - I don’t eat a lot of packaged, processed stuff. But I don’t eat enough vegetables either. And even though fruit messes with your BG levels, would it kill me to eat an apple every other day? Look, there’s even a Top 10 list for the health benefits of that!
2. Snack better - related, yet different. I find that in the avoidance of BG-spiking snacks, I tend to graze on cheese and salami. Oh-so-fatty! I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that a few days ago, I dug out my South Beach Diet book, made a copy of the “Foods to Enjoy” and “Foods to Avoid” list, and pinned it on my fridge. (The eyeglasses are next.)
3. Test more (and more) – I really need to focus on that span between breakfast and lunch. I’m terribly distracted then. Also between lunch and dinner. Oy. I think about setting the alarms on my meter, but all that beeping just drives me nuts. I think I’ll enter testing times into my Google Calendar. That way at least it’s not my D-gear that’s beeping at me.
4. Carry those backups! – I *finally* got organized about keeping a full set of extra diabetes supplies in my car, complete with a fresh vial of insulin (although I worry how long it will stay fresh, even housed in the Frio). I’m also getting a lot better about sticking extra pump supplies and insulin into my laptop bag, even if I’m just at a local conference for a day. Because you just never know! Once burned, twice shy — and all that crap.
5. Proactively de-stress – OK, I think we’ve established that stress spikes your BG levels, possibly as much as those pesky carbs. Here’s the problem: in 2010 I will be organizing and hosting (and paying for) my oldest daughter’s Bat Mitzvah celebration, followed an extensive home remodel that will require the whole family + mischievous cat to move out of our house, for up to six months. Stress… what stress? Seriously, I NEED to build in some scheduled time for massages and manny-petties!
6. Keep up a PHR – I started a file on Google Health not long ago, and am pleased to report that it’s worth the effort. Having all your medical info in one spot, including lab test dates & results, and the name of that last antibiotic your doctor prescribed, is a good thing! No more digging through piles of paper receipts. (And nevermind that this pro-Health 2.0 gal took so long to get on board. I am busy, mind you!)
7. Pay more attention to the data on my meter – I’d like to blame my lack of data downloading on the OmniPod software, which was traditionally pretty lousy. But I must admit, I just don’t like to download all those numbers. However, I could just spend more time viewing the data stored on the meter itself. The 14, 30, and 60-day averages make a nice “report card.” I just need to look at them more often.
8. Write the definitive list of “Top 10 Things Not to Say to a Diabetes Patient” – blogger Karen Lee Richards just did a great job of this for fibromyalgia, and I bet it would be even more fun for diabetes. Although we could probably share several line-items. I almost choked on my morning coffee when I read her No. 4: “At least it’s not fatal.” Her note: “Maybe I should start actually saying what I’m thinking when someone makes this comment.” You go, Karen Lee!
9. See my Diabetes Educator – I hardly ever do this. There. I said it. I’m just pretty independent, and well… busy. But I keep reminding myself that a session with a diabetes educator doesn’t necessarily have to have some world-altering takeaway. Just talking over all of my D-do’s and don’ts with someone in-the-know is good therapy — even if it’s only twice a year.
10. Try to keep it fresh in the online world - that doesn’t mean just writing a lot of blog posts (although God knows I do that). It means continually looking to make new contacts online, and exploring new ways to use social media to bring patients together. I think the best example this year was Manny’s BigBlueTest on World Diabetes Day, which ran on eight different diabetes communities plus Twitter. For me it might also mean actually building out a new site, like the StupidDiabetes.com URL I’m trying to figure out what to do with now. (Hey – you have one more day to submit and idea and win a book, btw!)
So there. That is 10. Probably about seven more than I have time to focus on in the coming months. But it is good to make lists. And when all else fails, I’ll revert to No. 5.