Learning to live with diabetes – integrating an illness or objectifying a disease The article was focused on the learning process of patients who had been diagnosed with diabetes and how they worked to modify their lifestyle to cope with their illness. They had to learn how manage their diets, measure their blood sugar and administer insulin injections (some of them did anyway). Some patients placed a heavy reliance on measuring their sugar with a meter and ate and injected based on what the meter said. Others focused on eating based on how they felt, supplementing their planned meals with small snacks when they were feeling hungry or sluggish. They were all well educated by the same program, but each of them dealt with their illness differently as they each experienced, and dealt with, their disease in different ways. I have known many people with diabetes, and I have come to understand the level of change that the disease involves.
People with diabetes have to, in many cases, relearn how to live their life. I have been overweight for years, and despite my efforts towards eating better and exercising more often I have struggled to control my weight. If I have learned nothing else from this struggle, it is that a change in lifestyle is difficult to make and even more difficult to maintain long-term as old habits tend to reassert themselves. I would find the transition of planning my meals, carrying snacks and testing my blood sugar to be a difficult habit to establish. Diabetics are taught to eat roughly the same calories; with the same balance of fats, carbs, and proteins; at the same times each day.
I sometimes go a whole day without eating and then overeat because I am too hungry. My habits put me at risk for developing diabetes, I would be so much healthier if I took these topics to heart in my personal life. As a nurse, I may well be training people how to cope with a new diagnosis of diabetes. While a treatment plan would certainly be developed, it would be part of my job to help a patient implement it. The biggest part of that job, in my opinion, is helping a person make a successful transition in their lifestyle.
They would need education, someone to answer their questions, and provide support (especially when bringing families on board to help with a treatment plan). The most important thing I have taken away from this is that each person will experience their disease differently, and will (naturally) cope with these problems differently. Diabetes affects people of all races, nationalities and social strata; and I will need to be mindful of this as I help people with managing this illness.
KNECK A A ° . , KLANG B. & FAGERBERG I . (2012) Learning to live with diabetes – integrating an illness or objectifying a disease. Journal of Advanced Nursing 68(11), 2486–2495.