Check out our virtual edition for coverage on diabetes awareness. Read about Jacquie, who has type 1 diabetes, here and in print this month.
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 12, Jacquie Wojcik says at first she didn’t really have an issue with the shots, the blood sugar testing and all that comes with managing diabetes. Her parents were always helpful and supportive and so were her teachers.
But she did go through a period of letting everything go. “I dealt with a lot of guilt that I will never be able to manage my diabetes as well as my doctor and other people expect me to, so why should I bother,” remembers Wojcik who is now age 33 and believes that coming to terms with the emotional part of having diabetes is a key to getting on board with strong management of it.
Wojcik remembers a session at the annual Children with Diabetes conference in Orlando when she and others chatted with a therapist and certified diabetes educator about life transitions and feeling guilty or bad about diabetes care. “You are told that if you just do everything that you are supposed to do that your diabetes will be a certain way and you will be fine,” says Wojcik. “The truth is that you can do everything perfectly with your care and you will still have random high blood sugars. You need to accept the responsibility for what you can and let go of the rest,” she advises.
She also is an advocate of diabetes blogs. “It is so refreshing to read and recognize what these people are talking about and going through,” she says. “I kept thinking of things that I wanted to say and tell and there was no one in real life that I could have those conversations with so I started writing my own blog.” http://badpancreas.wordpress.com
“The joke in the online diabetes community is that there is always someone who is awake, someone who knows what you are going through and someone who has a tip,” says Wojcik.
Married for five years to Bob, Wojcik says that he has learned a lot about diabetes over the years with her. “I had a low blood sugar when we were first dating and he handed me the car keys and told me to go and buy myself a coke,” she laughs. Now that he understands the risks of having a low blood sugar, he is supportive and knows how and when to help his wife.
“Diabetes is so much easier to manage when you can let go of the guilt,” she says. “Do give yourself credit for the things that you do take care of and let other people into your world a little bit.”