Susan B. Sloane, BS, RPh, CDE, has been a registered pharmacist for more than 20 years and a Certified Diabetes Educator for more than 15 years. Her two sons were diagnosed with diabetes, and since then, she has been dedicated to promoting wellness and optimal outcomes as a patient advocate, information expert, educator, and corporate partner.

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and perhaps a time for a bit of reflection. You may be new to the diabetes world or be someone who has lived with diabetes for many years. Whatever the case may be, you will always have more to learn. 

So what did you learn this year, and how has it made an impact on your life? I cannot stress enough the importance of learning to take good care of yourself. Ultimately, a person with diabetes becomes his or her own healthcare provider. You may have instructions about testing your blood sugars and how to take your medications, but no one can enforce the rules of self-care but you. You are, in fact, the master of your own destiny. Not many other conditions allow you that much control, so choose your course wisely!

10 simple rules you can follow:

1. Learn or change one new behavior at a time. Rome was not built in a day, so go easy on yourself.  

2. Ask questions. If you don’t understand your medications, for example, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

3. Don’t miss appointments! If you need to see your dietitian or diabetes educator, make sure you take time out to be at your appointment and pay attention to what they say.

4. Read everything you can! There is a lot of information available about diabetes. If you have a particular area of interest, such as ways to relieve stress, read books on it and find your own best answers.

5. Keep a journal/diary. Write things down that seem important, even little things like “Avoid General Tso’s chicken!”

6. Learning is for friends and family as well. It’s important that those closest to you learn with you.

7. Like snowflakes, no two people are alike. Just because my friend uses a certain medication that controls her diabetes doesn’t mean it will work the same on me. If you’ve seen one person with diabetes, you’ve seen ONE person with diabetes; everyone is very different.

8. You choose your attitude, so choose wisely!

9. Surround yourself with positive people. Find your passion and go after it!

10. Keep in mind that healthy habits are not only for people with diabetes. Should that be our little secret?

Check out our awareness page which includes many resources that you can use to raise awareness this month.