Jeanette Terry was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 11 years old, and she has since lived with diabetes through difficult life transitions, including the teenage years, college, and having children. She addresses the day-to-day struggles of living with diabetes—going beyond medical advice—to improve overall adherence and management.

I feel that life with diabetes is a lot like a circus. Everyone is trained and technically everything should run smoothly, and it usually does. But there is just so much going on, and with all of the tricky acrobatics you are just waiting for something to go wrong. No one is perfect so sometimes things will go wrong, but the show must go on.

Juggling illnesses and complications with diabetes

Having diabetes puts you at risk for a slew of other medical conditions and illnesses. Over time you may feel like your life is turning into a medical circus with all of the different medical problems that can arise as a result of complications from diabetes and comorbidities. Or perhaps you have a weak immune system when trying to fight other illness—weakened by diabetes. Whatever the problem is, it will most likely require a visit to the doctor and often a specialist. It can be extremely frustrating to try to juggle all of the different appointments and specialists as your health management goes on. After a while you are bound to drop the ball somewhere.

Make diabetes your top priority

Because diabetes can be managed and controlled, immediate medical assistance isn’t as necessary as regular scheduled visits and regimen consistency. This makes it easy to let things slip on the priority list when compared to medical issues that may need more immediate attention. But it is essential to keep diabetes the top priority because poor diabetes control can lead to or make other medical problems worse. That is much easier said than done. When you don’t feel well, the last thing you want to do is eat right, exercise, and check your blood sugar. But when trying to get healthy, it helps to keep in mind that diabetes comes first.

Communicate with your doctor

The next thing that you can do to keep everything organized is to take notes during your doctors’ visits and share those notes with your other doctors when relevant. If at all possible ask your doctors to communicate with each other so that instead of you facing your health alone, it will be you and your medical team all working together for your health.

Evaluate your progress

The last thing I would suggest is to sit down and evaluate your progress. Are you getting healthier as you visit all of these specialists? If you aren’t starting to feel better, make some changes, go to a different doctor and do some more research on what can be done for your particular problem. It is silly to waste your time and money by continuing to see a doctor that doesn’t seem to help you improve. As you do start to feel better you may be able to start checking things off of your long list of medical issues. Hopefully with this improvement you can find a rhythm so that your life doesn’t feel so much like a circus anymore.

To learn more about juggling diabetes and complications:

Avoiding Diabetes Complications
Finding the Big Picture in Diabetes Management
9 Steps to Get Your Diabetes Management Back On Track