The Shock and Awe of Newly Diagnosed with Diabetes (Part 2 of 2)

Like I mentioned, we have an instinct to jump in.  We went to university for this!  We want to talk about treatments or carbs or insulin resistance.  We want to get to the heart of the problem and to fix the issue so our client can live a good life.  We’ve studied and trained to understand this disease on a deep level and we know we can help people live well with diabetes.  We’ve done it hundreds or maybe thousands of times.

Or maybe you have not counselled someone newly diagnosed with diabetes.  Or you have worked with people living with diabetes but the session didn’t feel right.  Maybe you have joined a diabetes practice from another practice area and you aren’t sure what the approach is.

I’ve been working with people living with diabetes for almost 20 years in Canada.  I started back in the 1990’s when Metformin, Gliclazide and Insulin were what we had for treatments.  And those treatments were lousy.  Diabetes educators told people to eat better, exercise more and if they didn’t, we would put them on meds to deal with their shortfalls.  Or we told them everything we knew about diabetes while wearing our white coat and sitting at their bedside.  We talked about hyperglycemia and amputations and dialysis because they needed to know this disease is serious.  No wonder people rarely came back for a second visit!

Back to my client, my friend.  The person in front of me.  The person whose life has been turned upside down.  The person who doesn’t want to believe that all this is true.  The person who deep down knows that there is no turning back but really hopes that they can find the magic pill, magic diet plan, magic practitioner who can make this all go away.

What can you say to your friend/client to help them?  To help reduce the shock and awe of being newly diagnosed with diabetes.  Do you jump in to explain what is happening inside their body and that they may have beta cell failure or insulin resistance?  Or do you use more friendly understandable terms like “Pooped out Pancreas” or “Leaky Liver”?  Do you support what their doctor has recommended and try to kindly say to them that based on your assessment, lifestyle changes and medications are the best options?

I have thoughts on the best approach and it might not be what you think. Stay tuned.