A dedicated diabetes support team can play a critical role in the successful management and control of your diabetes. The diabetes support team should consist of a primary care physician, endocrinologist, a certified diabetes educator, an opthalmologist, and a podiatrist. I have been extremely fortunate to have assembled a dynamic team who deserve a lot of the credit for the success I have had in controlling my diabetes.
My primary care physician is the greatest doctor in the world and is the anchor of my diabetes support team. He has referred most of the other members of my diabetes support team to me including my endocrinologist, my opthalmologist, and my podiatrist. What I like most about him is that he never talks down to me. He acknowledges and appreciates that I have a background in technology and science so he assumes (correctly) that I can understand and keep pace with all of his medical banter. I love this about him. He challenges me and I challenge him in turn. He knows and has come to expect that I will have done my homework and will come prepared with a battery of questions for him to answer.
He respects my level of intelligence and my ability to understand complex medical terminology. He does not dumb down the information for me. In fact, he assumes that I will be able to grasp whatever he is trying to impart to me and that is alright with me.
I also appreciate that he knows his limits. After my initial diagnosis, he recommended a few endocrinologist who specialized in diabetes care. I realize that may diabetes patients are probably followed by their primary care physician and not someone who specializes in diabetes. I appreciate the fact that he had the werewithal to understand that I preferred an intensive management approach to my diabetes which likely require working with a specialist. I also appreciate the fact that he wanted to ensure that I receive the highest and best level of care for my diabetes and recommended that I seek out some of the top specialist in my area.
While I have been with the same primary care physician for more than 20 years, I have gone through a number of diabetes specialist. Nevertheless, my experiences with my physicians have caused me to set very high standards for the members of my diabetes support team as this story will show.
My first endocrinologist was fantastic. She had a gentle quiet manner about her but that did not stop her from being very forceful in her commitment to her patients. She, in fact, introduced me to intensive management therapy where I tried to keep my diabetes fairly tightly controlled from the outset. My first endocrinologist also recommended that I switch to the pump. I appreciate the fact that she saw me as a viable candidate for the pump and of course, I was completely enthiusiastic in converting from injections to the pump. This made it much easier for me to have my second child as a diabetic because I was already used to having to maintain fairly tight control.
Unfortunately, my first endocrinologist elected to leave her medical practice for industry. This was a big lost to all of her diabetic patients but I trust that she is now doing great things in industry for diabetes. I went back to my physician and he recommended another endocrinologist in the area. This guy was intense. He really knew his stuff and expected that all of his patients were on top of their game. I always felt like I was going in to take an exam during my scheduled visits and that I was never fully prepared to ace the exam. However, this was completely okay with me. I was becoming a bit "settled" in my diabetes routine and while my numbers were still good, this endocrinologist challenged me to do more and better.
Unfortunately, my second endocrinologist left his practice to take on a position in academia. Again, this was a big lost to all of his diabetic patients but I trust that he is now doing great things in academia for diabetes. I won't dwell on why two top notch physicians made the decision to leave their medical practice for greener pastures but it does make you wonder a bit. I went back to my physician and he recommended another endocrinologist in the area. She was horrible. She had the worse bedside manner of any physician I had ever encountered. She made no attempt to engage me in any conversation and begrudgingly answered any questions that I posed to her. It was hard to accept this after my other doctors had set the bar so high. After my second visit to her office, I went back to my primary care physician and asked for a reset. He graciously went back to the drawing board and recommended my current endocrinologist.
Like the others before my last disaster , she is fantastic. She is rigorous in her approach and demands a lot of her patients and I love it. Although she doesn't make me sweat before my visits, like the professor did, she also keeps me on my toes and constantly pushes me to do more and better. She also works with a great team of certified diabetes educators and will not hesitate to recommend that I take a refresher course if she feels that I can use it. I recently started using the Continuous Glucose Monitor ( CGM ) as a result of the recommendation of my endocrinologist. This has opened up a whole new universe around diabetes control which just reconfirms and validates my thoughts around beating type 1 diabetes. I have my endocrinologist to thank for that.