Helping Patients And Herself

By: Lakshmi S.,
TeamingUp Champion 

Lakshmi shares her tips about living with diabetes

She has diabetes and is a mom. She’s also a doctor and patient advocate who works with patients and caregivers. TeamingUp spoke with her. And she had a lot to share.


TeamingUp: What do you do as a patient advocate?  Champion Lakshmi: I help patients learn more about their diabetes and understand how to live with it.

TeamingUp: What inspired you to become a patient advocate?  Champion Lakshmi: I am inspired by helping others. Since I have diabetes too, I know what patients are going through. Being able to help them manage their diabetes makes me feel good. Their successes become my successes.

TeamingUp: In what ways have you been supporting people with diabetes?  Champion Lakshmi: By helping them understand the disease. It’s important for them to know the difference between the truths and myths. As a doctor, I can also explain what’s out there for people with diabetes, like medications, services, and resources in the community that they might not know about. The emotional support I offer as a person living with the disease can be empowering for my patients.

TeamingUp: How has your Type 2 diabetes changed over the years?  Champion Lakshmi: I’ve been living with diabetes for 26 years. I started with orals and then went to insulin. I keep myself healthy with food choices, staying active, and medications. Diabetes is a part of who I am. I believe it’s helped me live my life in better ways.

TeamingUp: What is the biggest challenge you've faced over the years?  Champion Lakshmi: The finger pricks make me feel like a human pincushion. What helps is to focus on why I am doing this. And understand that it’s helping make a difference in managing my blood sugar and reaching my blood sugar goals.

TeamingUp: You lead a very busy life as a mother, doctor, and patient advocate. What tips would you give diabetes patients with busy schedules?  Champion Lakshmi: It’s taken a while, but I learned that balance is important. I make it a point not to bring work home. I love scrapbooking so I try to do that each day. I’ve also prioritized what’s important in my life. Some of these tips can help when things get too busy:

  • Try not to get upset when things don’t happen as you plan and learn to “go with the flow” more.
  • Take away excuses. Have some extra meters so you are always ready.
  • Take a break when you can. If I have a 15 minute break at work, I try to go outside for a walk, or walk around the office.
  • Plan meals with healthy ingredients. Keep them in the refrigerator ready for dinner when you get home, or to take on the go for lunch.
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TeamingUp: What should every patient know?  Champion Lakshmi: This is a disease that you can have control over, by balancing your life and doing what you need to do to manage your diabetes.

I love that I can share my experiences and medical knowledge with my patients. It makes me happy that I can help my patients live with their diabetes.