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Mike Schurig, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.D.E.
Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist | AdventHealth
For the past 25 years, Mike Schurig has seen young children and grown adults faced with the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Schurig is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist with AdventHealth, working with people diagnosed with diabetes. He knows exactly what it's like to be told you have it. He was diagnosed when he was 12-years-old. "I was sick as a dog. I couldn't keep anything down. I was drinking water all the time," remembers Schurig. By the time he got to the hospital, his glucose levels were over 600. Normal is less than 140.
Schurig was the first in his family to be diagnosed with diabetes, so it was a huge learning curve for the entire family. Back then it was an all-or-nothing approach. "We met with a dietician who immediately told me, no cake, no candy, no ice cream, no nothing. That was rough."
Schurig didn't completely accept his diagnosis for several years. It wasn't until he went off to college that he took charge of it. "That was the wake-up moment that I needed to take care of this. I'm going off to be by myself, and I'm not going to have my parents helping me out."
He learned portion control, to practice a healthy lifestyle, and to take it one day at a time. It's that philosophy he passes on to his patients today. "It's hard to stick with a meal plan. It's hard to stick with a routine. It's hard to make it an everyday occurrence. You have to make sure you take care of yourself every single day."
Schurig says there are three things he would like people to remember when managing their diabetes. Most importantly, Schurig wants patients to understand diet, exercise, medication, and monitoring need to work together. ‘You have to do it all, all the time, to stay healthy.”
The second piece of advice is to realize that to manage diabetes, you need to accept that not every day will be perfect. "There will be days that are challenging, days that you want diabetes not to be around but don't give up. Keep working on it. And as time goes on, you'll thank yourself down the road that you take care of yourself now."
The third piece of advice, technology is your friend. Use it. "We've got great medications. We've got insulin pumps. We've got continuous glucose monitors. We've got a lot of great tools and technology for people to do well with their diabetes."
That's why Schurig feels it's critical to work closely with the Translational Research Institute to educate his patients about current clinical trials. "I think it's crucial they hear such promising things about what's coming up concerning diabetes and living with a chronic disease. You always want to have that hope that something is coming down the road, either new medications or new technology."
Ultimately, Schurig hopes today's trials will lead to a cure in his lifetime. But until then, he stresses management is vital. "Manage your diabetes, or diabetes eventually will manage you. Every day with diabetes is not going to be perfect. It's not going to be easy. It's not going be rainbows and unicorns everyday. There will be hard days, but you work on it day-to-day and do the best you can. With knowledge and motivation, you'll do well with it.