As a Type 1 Diabetic for nearly 18 years, I am very familiar with doctors offices… and the pharmacy! Luckily, Walgreens has always provided great support for me along the way. I have teamed up with them to talk about the importance of drug adherence and taking your medicine correctly. Taking your medicine correctly includes taking the right dose at the right time and avoided any other factors that might interfere with how your medication is taken. Sometimes the scariest part of taking new medication is the overwhelming amount of information that comes with it. If you ever have any questions about taking your medication properly, it is so important to ask your doctor or pharmacist so that you understand. I can see how it might be embarrassing or you might think that you can figure it out on your own, but trust me- having questions is natural and that’s what your pharmacist is there for, to help! One tool that I’ve found super helpful is the Walgreens app which has a 24/7 pharmacy chat for questions, a medication reminder, and a portal to request refills all from your phone! Its great to have as a security blanket for late at night when your doctors office isn’t open and you have urgent questions. You can download the app here: http://bit.ly/redphone-wakeup.
In discussing the importance of drug adherence with you guys, I have decided to ask some of the questions that you have recently reached out to me asking. The funny thing about questions is, you are probably asking something that lots of people are wondering, but are too afraid to ask. So don’t be shy and let’s help bust the stigma around taking medication together!
Q: My daughter was just diagnosed with T1D and is scared of taking insulin. What do you recommend to make the experience less scary for her?
A: Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that. First of all, I have to say that it does not necessarily get “better”, but it does get easier. I would try to identify with your daughter what is exactly scaring her about taking the insulin. Is she afraid of needles? Is she afraid of how it’s going to make her feel? I think once you’ve pinpointed what the exact issue is, it will be easier to help make her feel better. In this case, I think that meeting another T1D around her age or perhaps who is a little older and has T1D for a while could be really beneficial. I think your daughter knowing that she is not alone and that a lot of people are afraid when they are first diagnosed will help her cope with the disease. Right now, she probably is the only person she knows with the disease and talking to a doctor or pharmacist about taking her meds could be pretty intimidating- it would be for me! I would start by going on Facebook and finding a local support group for other T1Ds or T1D moms and see if anyone is willing to meet with your daughter and talk about their experience. If there’s no one in your area, perhaps a FaceTime call would work. You’d be amazed what a wonderful community we have!
Q: I took my long acting insulin instead of my short acting insulin and now I’m not sure what to do, will my blood sugars be crazy for the next 24 hours?
A: That’s so scary, but trust me I’ve been there! We’ve all had mess ups and it’s bound to happen, so don’t beat yourself up. Everyones medication is so specific to them that I do not advise going on a support group or googling what you should do. This is a situation where you need to immediately speak to your doctor who knows your health care history and can provide you with a plan for the next 24 hours. If your doctor is closed there should be an on call physician that you can speak with.
Q: I don’t like taking my insulin in front of my friends because they say “it’s gross”, what should I do?
A: Well, I don’t want to be too harsh, but you might need some new friends! Taking your insulin is certainly not gross. Do you think that it’s gross when they breathe air or eat food to survive? I don’t think so. I would try having a conversation with them and see what they find to be gross about you taking your medicine. Does the needle make them queasy? Are they squeamish about blood? If so, consider taking your insulin or blood sugar in a more secluded place as opposed to at the dinner table. Some people are sensitive around blood and it’s good to be understanding of that. However, if you feel like they are saying that just to be malicious then they are probably not the right friends to you. I would also suggest making friends with another T1D! Trust me, when there are people you can talk to that understand what you’re going through, it can make being a diabetic a lot easier and less lonely.
Q: No one in my family understands my Type 1 Diabetes, they say it’s a “fat person’s disease” and that I should just exercise and I’ll feel better… help!
A: Woah! It sounds like there might need to be some education in your family. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease and you did absolutely nothing to get this disease. Unfortunately, there are some negative stigmas and misunderstandings around T1D that often exist because of the media and the misconception between Type 1 and Type 2 *which is also not a fat person’s disease and should not be addressed as such*. Is it possible for you to open up a dialogue and educate them? Your endocrinologist or general doctor might have some pamphlets with some information that could help them understand better. Most endocrinologists also have a nurse educator on their team and perhaps he or she could help you talk with your family. I’m sorry you are feeling misunderstood and that you are being told that there is something you can do to fix your T1D.
Thank you guys for reading and remember that I’m always here to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to reach out and help me to continue educating on the importance of drug adherence by spreading awareness! XO
This post is sponsored by Walgreens but all opinions are my own.