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May Your Own Force Be With You

Jan 1, 2008

M. Teresa Volpone, Pharm D, CDE, Rph-BC-ADM is the AADE 2007 Diabetes Educator of the year and is a new writer for us. This week she talks about the challenges of the new year for both us and our patients. May Your Own Force Be With You helps start the new year right.

May Your Own Force Be With You
M. Teresa Volpone, Pharm D, CDE, Rph-BC-ADM

It is the New Year. My “club” has sent out an email stating that it is resolution time and that there will probably be a lot of new people in the gym after the beginning of the year. The implication and truth is, unfortunately, that this will last about two to three months and then – back to the usual, they will stop coming so just endure.  

Why does this happen? We want to do what is right for ourselves but it is too easy to lose momentum, to forget why we are trying to change. This is true for just about everyone –those with diabetes and those without.  The stakes are high for everyone but not so immediate that we can gain impetus from the threat.

A diabetes educator is not different that any other individual.  Each year I think about what I ask those who come to see me to work on eating in a more healthy way and to add scheduled exercise to their calendar. Each year I ask myself, can “I” do that? Can I be an example? Do  I  put in my 30 minutes five times per week? Do I make the best nutritional choices?  I am a hypocrite to ask others to do so?

Well, as it turns out I am pretty good at the exercise part. For me, paying a gym fee adds some impetus for actually using the facilities and on days that I do not have access to the gym a spouse who likes to get a “good walk in” helps the situation. And, over the years, I have developed a new policy – some exercise IS better than none. So parking farther away, going to the gym for 30 minutes vs one hour, even, occasionally walking the whole way to work (4 miles).

Oh, but don’t ask me about eating. Each meal, each snack, I ask myself: how much carb is this? Could I decide how much insulin to take for this? Would I check my blood sugar later and give more insulin to correct my blood sugar? Would I correct too soon? Pay for trying to improve my control with multiple hypoglycemic episodes?  Would I do as I say? Don’t even ask my husband his opinion of my eating patterns! 

As an educator each year I resolve to do a better job at trying to be an example of what I “preach”, to facilitate the best possible self care. Every time I meet with a patient I meet with myself. I ask them to meet with their best friend, to think of what advice they might give to them and embrace their recommendations for themselves. To look for the driving force that helps them help themselves. That is, isn’t it.  what we all have to do for individual success. .

My wish for the New Year is that each of us finds our “force”, our inspiration and courage for success. That we all take the first steps to new habits for health. Like in that old movie “Network” we have to shout we “aren’t going to take it anymore” and use that power within ourselves to change.  May the power be with you.


Theresa has been interested in diabetes since 1977, and has been involved in education and assistance to persons with diabetes since that time. For the last 17 years she has worked with the Department of Endocrinology at Virginia Mason Medical Center. This group has been educating people with diabetes since 1923…and in 1990 they thought having a knowledgeable pharmacist involved would enrich the care of their patients.  She is also clinical associate professor of Pharmacy at University of Washington in Seattle and often precepts clinical rotations for students pursuing their Pharm D.