The whole idea of having to test my blood twice everyday was a huge challenge to me…just the idea of lancing my finger to get a drop of blood kind of made me a bit scared. Looking back on it, I don’t know why it was like that, but it was. I just did not want to prick my finger. Why make yourself bleed?
Why indeed? Well, first, I have to tell you that pricking my finger was no big deal. Yes, there is a bit of pain, but if you read the directions on how to use your glucose meter (which I strongly suggest you do), you will learn where to use the lancet so it really isn’t painful. I won’t kid you, there is just the tiniest bit of discomfort once in awhile. But, if you prick the side of your finger – yes, the side, and not the tip, you may not feel a thing.
Wait, that’s important enough to repeat – prick the side of your finger! Somewhere between no pain and very, very, very little pain. Got it?
And, while I am at it – you only need a little drop of blood. The scientists have figured out how much you need to give up and it varies from meter to meter. For me, it’s just a bit bigger than the head of a pin. I’m serious.
Meanwhile back at glucose testing – which is what you do at home with your meter – it’s suggested that most Type 2 Diabetics test twice a day. Once in the morning just after you get up and then once at night before bed. That’s it. Twice a day. Now, when I was just figuring things out in the beginning, I was fortunate because my doctor prescribed enough strips and lances so I could test three times a day. The truth is sometimes I tested three times, other days two times and sometimes even four times a day as I was learning how to manage diabetes. I got so much good information from doing this.
I tested in the morning, before lunch, two hours after lunch or dinner began, and at night. I knew what my body was doing when; I knew about what my glucose reading would be within 10 points after a few months even as it was going down and stabilizing.
What did I do with this information? I wrote it down in my food log. Learning what I ate and seeing my reading gave me invaluable information and immediate feedback. I very quickly learned what I could and could not eat.
For example, some folks can eat wild brown rice. Not me. Any rice no matter the color or type causes my readings to go up. And, I loved rice! But, I learned that if I wanted to control diabetes, rice did not love me and became a ‘has been’ in my diet.
then, again, I learned that a basic (stressing the word BASIC) hamburger really didn’t hurt me. You know the kind – a basic hamburger from In N’ Out. Not a lot of dressing and the bun is not huge. Although, I found that any number of french fires – any number – were off my menu.
How did I learn this? By frequent testing and comparing the results to what I ate. Recording everything – food and test results in the food diary helped me so very, very much to begin to gain some sense of control.
The message here is clear, I hope. Test. Test often Keep a food diary. And, use the results to learn how to best manage diabetes. That is the first step to gaining control.
Remember, to manage diabetes you have to give yourself a glucose test at least twice a day; more often during the first few months if possible. It’s a test you cannot fail, but you will fail to manage diabetes if you don’t test.