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We all know about the myriad of complications diabetes can cause.

There’s no need to go over the details. You fight hard every single

day to avoid those negative consequences. You choose the right

foods, you check your blood sugar, you make sure you exercise

regularly, and you take your insulin and/or medications. It sounds

like a huge amount of responsibility. It sounds lonely. The truth is

that it should not be that way. Diabetes management, whether type 1

or type 2, is a team sport. So my question is, “Who’s on your team?”

I’ve been a type 1 diabetic for over 38 years. No matter how hard I

tried and how many doctors tried to help, I was never able to create

a winning team until about 6 or so years ago. I’m not even sure I knew

that I needed or wanted a team. In any case, there was always some

part of the lineup that wasn’t quite working - many times that part

was me. So the first person I drafted for the team was yours truly. I

got motivated and decided I was going to play to win. For me, this

meant also getting the right equipment. By some miracle, I was able

to get an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM). That

in itself was a real game changer - pun intended. Several years later,

I made the difficult decision to trade in that equipment for a

different brand that worked better for me. It was scary, but the rest

of my team helped make the transition easier.

The next team members to come on board were harder to find.

There were more “tryouts” than I would have liked, but I feel as

though I managed to find the best of the best. My primary care

physician and endocrinologist are spectacular teammates. Many

people have their primary manage their diabetes and it works well

for them; however, my suggestion is that you have one of each.

Think of it this way: two heads are better than one. My amazing

primary checks in with me about the diabetes, but is free to focus

more closely on my overall health because I also see an

endocrinologist. I find that endos are often better versed in available

technology, trends in the field, and management techniques. If your

insurance will allow you to have both, give it a try. Don’t be

discouraged if you have to try out different endos or pcp’s. Finding

the right fit makes all the difference. In addition to being on your

team, these people need to be cheerleaders and your biggest fans.

The encouragement, honesty, and solid advice mine provide are

priceless. If your physicians sound negative and put you down, find

new ones. Negativity is not a winning formula, and who wants to play

under adverse conditions. The stakes are too high.

Now that you’ve got that triumphant trio together, there’s one more

medical professional that you need to add: a dietician/nutritionist. I

thought I knew everything about carbs, portions, and nutrition for

diabetics. I fought my endo tooth and nail, and finally agreed to see

a dietitian. He was the perfect addition to my team. He met me on my

level and we were able to work together for my benefit. When I

developed a diabetes-related digestive disorder, I had to completely

change everything I had always known about healthy eating for

diabetes. I had to practically erase 30+ years of information and

rewire my thinking. I could not have done it without my dietitian. His

mix of encouragement and tough love, along with the collaborative

efforts of my endo, have helped keep the disorder in a more than

manageable state. Having the three medical professionals I’ve

discussed so far in the same network (and on the same portal) has

influenced my health journey in an incredibly positive way. At the

click of a button, they all have access to my health records, visit

reports, med lists, appointments, etc. This is priceless as it allows us

to all read from the same playbook.

The last can’t do without, gotta have, absolutely essential team

member is your “person”. What do I mean by that? I’m asking who is it

that understands you and your diabetes? Who in your life

encourages you, doesn't make ignorant comments, and is

comfortable enough to tease you about diabetes? Who is genuinely

concerned about your health but lets you be you? Who listens

without judgment? The one that does all of that is your person. You

may be blessed enough to have several of those people, but you

unequivocally need to have at least one. Everyone needs one. I’m

blessed enough to have many caring, understanding people in my

life. My person though, is my husband. He is unshakably invested in

my health; he is undeniably on my team. When he asks, “What’s our

sugar, sugar?” I know that I am not alone on this journey. He helps

me keep my eye on the ball and realizes when I’m just not on my

game and need a break. All diabetics need someone like that. In my

opinion, your person plays no less essential a role on your team than

the medical professionals.

In closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the other

team members you might collect along the way. Here are a few:

podiatrist, eye/retina specialist, cardiologist, gastroenterologist,

diabetes counselor or support group, psychologist/psychiatrist,

dermatologist, dentist, orthopedist, nephrologist. Don’t be afraid to

do your research and ask for recommendations. You do it when

you’re looking for a plumber, so you should definitely be picky when

looking for a doctor. There’s no embarrassment in switching to find

the right fit for you.

Good luck assembling your team. Play to win, but be kind to yourself!

For questions, comments, or more information on diabetes

education and management at CMAG Health Solutions, LLC, please

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