These six tips for living with diabetes, a chronic illness that affects almost every part of a woman’s body, are inspired by Mary Tyler Moore’s experience. She was diagnosed with diabetes thirty years ago, and says that learning to live with this disease is a process – not a one-time event.
“When I speak to those who are newly diagnosed, I encourage them to work with what they have – not against those things,” says Mary Tyler Moore. “You have to give up in order to find acceptance. Moreover, you truly have to make the very best of what you’ve got. We all do.”
I’ve gathered several tips for living with diabetes, and sprinkled them with inspiration from Moore. To learn more about her experience with the disease, click her memoir Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes.
6 Tips for Living With Diabetes for Women – Mary Tyler Moore
1. Say a holy “yes” to your life as it exists. I’ve written about ulcerative colitis, using inspiration from Natalie Goldberg. She encourages us to accept life as it is – not how we wish it was. Moore is saying something similar: don’t rail against or fight your illness. Rather, accept and make the best of it. If you’re coping with a chronic illness, you need to embrace that it’s part of who you are…and fighting it means fighting yourself.
2. Learn about living with diabetes. Do you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes? Do you need to take insulin daily, or will diet and lifestyle control it? Who in your family has diabetes? How do other women manage it? The more you know about diabetes, the better you’ll be able to manage it. Learn what treatments you need to take and what body parts to check daily.
3. Keep doing what you need to do. Ulcerative colitis is a disease of the intestines, and I’ve had to learn several things about my body in order to treat and control it. Since most of these things involve my guts and bottom, they’re definitely not pretty…and it’s been hard. But, I do what I need to do to stay in remission – and if you have diabetes, you need to adopt the same attitude. “You have to accept this disease and adopt the necessary disciplines,” Moore says. “Otherwise, it will start nibbling away at your very being with things like blindness, amputations, and the like. If you don’t control diabetes it will control you.”
4. Learn what affects diabetes. Since diabetes affects so many parts of a woman’s body, it’s important to know what affects it. How does your diet, exercise, lifestyle, and habits affect the progression of this disease? Learn how smoking, alcohol, and over-the-counter medications affect the disease – and avoid things that trigger spikes. Take your prescribed medications faithfully, and follow your doctor’s advice.
5. Monitor the important levels. Women with diabetes need to watch their blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. It’s easier and quicker to check these levels now than it was in the past, and many readings can be checked at home or even on the road.
6. Focus the positive parts of having diabetes. Believe it or not, there is an upside to this disease! Mary Tyler Moore says this about kids with diabetes: “I have great fondness and respect for these kids who, at a very early age, have critical responsibility for handling insulin. Because of the enormous responsibility, diabetic kids tend to grow up to be the most mature, most realistic people who have a natural desire to reach outside of themselves.” These benefits of diabetes are possible for women, too – if they’re willing to see them.
Diabetes doesn’t have to stop you from getting what you want out of life! You can still live up to your own wildest dreams…and even surpass them.
Are you a woman living with diabetes, and can you relate to Mary Tyler Moore’s perspective on this disease? I welcome your thoughts below…
Source of Mary Tyler Moore’s quotations: Success Magazine.com, Mary Tyler Moore: Making a Difference in the Fight Against Type 1 Diabetes.