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Insulin made a world of difference!

Overcoming her fear of insulin helped Joanne Callahan resume a happy, healthy life.

Health Monitor Staff

Provided by HealthMonitor

When Joanne Callahan conquered her fear of insulin, she received a huge reward: stable blood sugar levels for the first time in years—and the freedom to focus her energy on iving a full and active life. But before that life-changing decision, Joanne was a tough nut to crack. She had decided she was not going to take insulin. Ever. It was 1995 and she was newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. “I believed once you started medication, it goes downhill from there,” says the Southern California native from the desert community of La Quinta. “My family has a high incidence of diabetes, and my grandmother died from it. I was determined not to become insulin dependent and end up the same way,” she recalls.

ºHow diet and exercise helped...to a point. With the help of her longtime doctor, Joanne managed her diabetes by eating a mostly vegetarian diet and doing regular exercise, a strategy that worked until three years ago, when her blood sugar levels started the upward creep. “I tried everything,” says Joanne, including a raw-food program. But when her A1C test climbed to nearly 9% (a healthy level is between 6% and 7%), “I knew I had to get past my fear of insulin,” says Joanne. “And once I did, it was amazing! My numbers dropped.”

ºHow starting insulin resets your priorities. Today, Joanne checks her blood sugar levels every single morning. “It helps to check—especially if you are out of your routine and traveling—to know you are still keeping your numbers down.” If you take insulin, testing regularly will help you avoid low blood sugar. (Ask your doctor how often you should test yourself.) Joanne also walks 40 minutes a day with her dog and she does rebounding exercises on a trampoline four days a week.

ºA new lease on life. Despite the early misgivings, Joanne has discovered a newfound peace with her routine. “Starting insulin took away some of the stress and constant juggling!”

Need to start insulin? Don’t let these myths stand in the way

1 Myth: “Insulin injections will hurt” Actually, there’s little pain involved, says Beverly (“Dr. Bev”) Adler, PhD, CDE, author of Successful Women with Diabetes. That’s because insulin is administered just below the skin in fatty tissue with few nerve endings. Plus, “the needle tips are very short and fine.” If you’re still anxious, however, try using a numbing cream, or place an ice pack directly on the site for 10 to 20 seconds prior to beginning. Some people who fear needles prefer an insulin pen, which doesn’t contain a syringe and can help you avoid having to watch the injection.

2 Myth: “I failed at controlling my diabetes” It’s common to feel guilty, anxious and even reluctant to take insulin, a phenomenon known as “psychological insulin resistance.” Yet
it’s not your fault you need insulin. “You can’t
control your body’s inability to supply the insulin it needs,” says Dr. Bev. Even if you followed your healthcare provider’s advice to the letter, odds are you’d still need insulin.

3Myth: “Uh-oh, if I need insulin, I’m really sick” No, it just means your pancreas isn’t able to meet your body’s demand for insulin. Luckily, insulin can make up the shortfall and help you head off the complications of diabetes,
including blindness, kidney damage, heart disease and amputation—and that’s a blessing!

Web Extra! Read more real-life stories at HealthMonitor.com/YourStories
Diabetes Mellitis (Type II) Renal Failure Anxiety Blindness Pain Stress Humalog Heart Disease Diabetes Lose Weight Exercise More sick

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