I have been a bit quiet on my social channels for the last month or so because I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Commonly called “Juvenile Diabetes” it is often first diagnosed in children and is a result of a broken immune system attacking cells in the pancreas. My version of Type 1 diabetes has a name all of its own, LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults).
The main difference with my version is how quickly it progresses. Typical Type 1 diabetes in children progress very quickly, completely destroying insulin production in weeks. With LADA it could be years before I need to use insulin. There is no cure and the cause for the immune system to go screwy is unknown. It happens to people of all shapes and sizes and my dodgy health and exercise regime have not caused it but did help in revealing it.
The last month has been spent getting educated and making some adjustments such as eating a bit healthier and getting organised to introduce regular exercise in my life. Weight management is a big part of living with diabetes and I have plenty to manage. The good news is my blood sugar levels are now stable and within the healthy range for humans and I am losing the love-handles. While I have an illness, I am not sick and intend to stay that way.
However, this post is not about diabetes so much as about how technology has helped me. Given I will be living with diabetes for the rest of my life, you can expect other posts talking about how technology can help people manage chronic conditions.
Being Diagnosed With a Chronic Disease
In this context chronic just means a disease which persists. If you or someone you are close to gets diagnosed with a chronic disease, such as cancer or diabetes, you get bombarded with a lot of information very quickly. You have to manage multiple appointments with multiple specialists and you have a million questions. You also have to educate your loved ones on what is happening and how they can help. This is on top of all the normal commitments you have in your life such as work and children.
Wunderlist To The Rescue
Over the last few weeks, Wunderlist has been, and continues to be invaluable. If you are not familiar with Wunderlist, it is available as a free download for Apple and Android devices and has its own web site (https://www.wunderlist.com).
Its function is very simple but well executed. In short, Wunderlist allows you to store lists of ‘things’ and store notes on them, as well as set up deadlines.
I have used Wunderlist in a variety of tasks to help manage the ramp-up of my illness.
Wunderlist For Reference Data
One way I am using Wunderlist is to capture information for me and others to refer to. Examples include:
- Procedures such as when I should test my blood glucose levels
- Weight-loss and diabetic-friendly foods at local eating places
- Healthy recipes to cook at home
- Lists for ‘friendly foods’ from the supermarket
Also, because lists can be shared, as my wife usually does the weekly shop, I can share the supermarket list with her.
Wunderlist For Questions
Questions for my ‘Care Team’ come to me at the strangest times. Having Wunderlist a device-reach away means I can record the question and get answers at my next appointment.
To Do Tasks
Finally, and more traditionally, I use Wunderlist to capture ‘to do’ tasks. Whether it is requests to do or buy something from the care team, a web site to visit, or periodic tasks.
As I do the tasks, I cross them off and they disappear.
Why Not Outlook?
I still use Outlook to manage my life but I could not afford to lose the diabetes tasks amongst the general ones. Also, for things like sharing lists, Wunderlist is so much friendlier.
Finally, a couple of other points. Firstly, Wunderlist plays nicely with Flow with a pre-built connector so it is possible to link Wunderlist to Dynamics 365. Also, if, like me, you use a stylus a lot (it is so much easier on my Surface Pro than using the track pad), the browser version of Wunderlist does not play well with styluses. Drag and drop requires your finger or a traditional mouse.
You do not need to be in my position to use Wunderlist but if you are working with a list or a series of tasks and need to have it available on any device and to share it with others, Wunderlist is pretty great and worth a try.
For me, without Wunderlist, the last few weeks would have been a flurry of scrappy notes on paper, a lot of stress and a constant sense of being overwhelmed. Precisely what you do not need at moments like this.
With Wunderlist in my corner, I was prepared and organised for my meetings with the health care professionals, have my life better organised and have a strong sense that I am in control. Wunderlist really has helped both my physical and mental well-being and is now an integral part of my management program.