After a person has been diagnosed with diabetes, shock and disbelief can sometimes set in. This is understandable when you are given a diagnosis that you have a disease for which there is no cure. The key thing to remember and focus on is this: Are you going to control the disease or is the disease going to control you? A tough question to answer when you have a million questions of your own and feeling overwhelmed as to where to get the answers you need.
While your doctor can provide the medical answers you need, as well as the medications, often it is dealing and coping with the day-to-day is what many diabetics have the most trouble with. A way to help you cope and where you can find kindred spirits is your local hospital. In my community of Brodnax, VA, our local hospital has many programs that provide the information needed to help a diabetic deal with this disease on a day-to-day basis. These programs are free and open to the public and provide answers to questions in a setting that is more like having a friend over than the staunch coldness of a doctor’s office. Most local hospitals also have dieticians, nutritionists, and certified diabetes educators (often one person rolled into all these rolls) that can help you stay on track with your diet, help you lose weight, as needed, and teach you ways to control your sugars so complications do not occur. Their services are also free. Here is an example of the programs that are available in my local hospital and are published in our local newspaper at the beginning of each month:
Living with Diabetes
The class meets the first Tuesday of each month. The class covers topics such as: What is Diabetes? How to Avoid Complications? Skin, foot care, and travel tips.
Caregivers, family members and loved ones of the person diagnosed should attend, as well. The class provides essential information that will help in the support and care of the person that has this disease.
Planning for Eating Success
This class meets the first and third Thursday of each month. The class covers such topics as: Tools for meal planning, serving sizes, and consistent carbohydrates.
The class is not just for those wanting to eat a healthier diet, diabetics can benefit, as well. Since many diabetics have to watch their carbohydrate intake, this class is an essential source of information and a tool that can be used to help you control your weight, which in turn, will help you to control your sugars.
Taking Control of Your Diabetes
This class meets on the third Tuesday of each month. The class covers such topics as: Medications and how to take them, blood glucose monitoring, hypo/hyperglycemia (low and high blood sugar), equipment, exercise, and what to do on sick days. I have attended this class myself and the information I was able to gather there was so helpful and informative. I learned more from this class than I did from my own doctor. I would recommend a class like this to anyone. It is also a helpful class for caregivers, family members and loved ones of the diabetic.
Diabetes Support Group – Sugar Buddies
This class meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month. The support group is named Sugar Buddies and does as the name implies. This class is intended to provide education and support for diabetics, their family members, and caregivers. They enjoy lunch together and encourage everyone to “brown bag” it. This is a fun group, one I’ve enjoyed on some occasions myself.
As you can see there is support out there for each one who is dealing with diabetes, whether it is long term or you’ve just been diagnosed, there is help out there. A lot of the help can be found in your own community, you just have to look for it. Here are some of the classes and support groups around the Richmond area found in local hospitals, as well as the website for my local hospital and some of the programs they provide:
Community Memorial Healthcenter: www.cmh-sh.org the classes listed in this article can be found there. They meet (unless otherwise specified) in the CMH Education Center.
There are so many avenues for a diabetic to use in getting them educated about the disease they have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. I have given you what is available in my geographic area, now here is a list of what is available in the Richmond area, along with a few websites that will assist you even further.
Richmond Area Diabetes Classes and Support Groups
Diabetes Lifestyle Center
2621 Grove Avenue
Richmond, VA 23220
Point of Contact: Michelle Watkins
CJW Medical Center
Diabetes Care Center
500 Hioaks Road, Suite 209
Richmond, VA 23225
Bon Secours Richmond Health System
Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital
5801 Bremo Road
Richmond, VA 23226
Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center
Diabetes Self-Management Education Program
1201 Broad Rock Boulevard
Richmond, VA 23249
Point of Contact: Michelle Bedwell, MS, RD, CDE
Contact them for dates and times, you will be glad you did. These are places where the diabetic, his/her loved ones, family members, and caregivers can go to get educated about diabetes and what needs to be done daily in order for the diabetic to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Websites of Interest
Virginia Diabetes Council – www.virginiadiabetes.org
Defeat Diabetes Foundation, Inc. where their motto is: Awareness + Action = Prevention
American Diabetes Association – www.diabetes.org
These websites provide a wealth of information on the self-management of your diabetes. You can find not only other sources of information, but activities in your community, purchase cookbooks and other informational books and materials, tell your own story and help someone else, as well as calendars of events in your local area. The information is there and waiting for you and your loved ones, family members, and caregivers to find and access it. You CAN control this disease and not let it CONTROL you!