Learning is a very individual process. We all learn differently. One of my sons was struggling in 3rd grade even though he was (is) a very smart young man. It was discovered that he was more of a visual learner. Once he “got the picture” he excelled. I greatly admire good teachers because they are able to take a classroom full of young people and figure out how to make each of them understand a concept that is foreign to them. There’s the alphabet in preschool, addition in 1st grade, division in 3rd and reading comprehension at some point. If you think about each of those areas, language, reading and math, you realize that each concept is learned by practicing. A concept is introduced, it’s practiced and then….there’s a review.
Learning about diabetes and how to deal with it is no different. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have a classroom to sit in with a good teacher up front walking us through this new and confusing concept. Most of us have to learn it on our own. We figure out what we’re supposed to eat and then practice doing that. We are shown how to test our blood and then we practice that (over, and over, and over and OVER again.) We’re introduced to a new medication that our doctor thinks will help us control our glucose and we practice taking that. The list of things that we, as PWD, are expected to learn is endless! It sometimes seems that new information is being flung at us on a regular basis. Either some new idea is being researched to control diabetes or maybe the doctor wants to try a new treatment/regimen. Maybe something we’ve been eating all along suddenly spikes our blood sugar. We’re always learning.
It occurred to me recently that I’ve been missing a very important step in my education with diabetes….the review. I’ve spent over 6 years learning about diabetes and the best way to deal with it in my life. I try new things and tweak what I’m doing. I test and eat and test again. I fall off the wagon and then I’m reminded of how crappy I feel when I don’t follow my plan. But have I been doing a good job of reviewing what I’ve learned? Nope. I recently blogged about learning and how it felt at the beginning of my diagnosis….whether or not I had received brochures or information from my doctor. Writing that post pushed me to go back and read some of the books I bought at the beginning of this journey. I was surprised when I actually learned something! It may have been something I had known at one time but it got lost in the vast sea of information I have taken in over the years. Maybe it was just a reminder of how/why to do a certain thing. Possibly it was something I had never even realized! The point is that regardless of whether or not I had read the material before, it was a good exercise to re-read it now. I was reminded of some important aspects of this disease and that there are ways to fight it.
Another thing I have done recently is to read through my old blog posts. It was enlightening! It was interesting to go back, for instance, and see how down I was in the early spring. I relived how it felt in the beginning of my diagnoses. I read my words of advice to others. I learned something all over again. You see, the original reason that I started this blog was to help myself. I had hoped that writing about my life with diabetes would help keep me on track. (I think it’s working.) I had also hoped that someone else might get something out of all these words. (Is there anyone out there? Hellooooooo!)
Review. It’s a very important step in our diabetes education. We should all do it now and then. Don’t assume that you know it all. It’s too easy to forget information that we’ve received in the myriad of things we learn and hear each day. Educate yourself! Practice, practice, practice….then review.