I am a huge tennis enthusiast and would like to believe that I am Rafael Nadal’s biggest fan. Now what’s the connection between tennis and diabetes apart from the fact that they rhyme?

When we watch our favourite players in action, what we really see is the outcome, the convergence of the efforts of various people, a team, who tirelessly works hard behind the scenes, 24x7x365, with the man on the screen. These people are the core partnerships behind the athlete’s success. Each one of them individually takes care of different aspects of the game, whether it’s physical, psychological, medical or otherwise. Rafa has always attributed his success to the 12 pillars. Starting with Uncle Toni who is his main coach and mentor, his team consists of a fitness instructor, a physical therapist, his physician to just name a few. His team is further a fair mix of professionals and his family members alike.

Now let me ask you something, where’s your squad? As a diabetic have you surrounded yourself with the right set of people who will be your strength and support you in a sustained and rational manner? And mind you, I am not talking resources that are always dependant on money. Focus on being smart and vigilant and be on the lookout for these individuals. It could be a senior colleague at work, it could be a neighbour. It could be your folks at home. You will be surprised how much they know. Latch on. Don’t let them ever leave.

I have been a diabetic for 10 years. I had 2-member squad – my mother and my doctor. Over the last 4 years my knowledge about this condition grew and so did my realization for a larger support system.

The first thing I did was fire my existing doctor. A senior fellow, but over-treated me like hell and in the process almost managed to make me highly medication-dependant. Don’t be surprised by what I did . If you know your condition well, you will feel the ill-treatment and the misguidance. These will never be overt, but trust me you will get it. (This event calls for a separate blog, so i will not detour here). So all I had left was my mother, who always has played and plays the most important and an irreplaceable role in my fight against diabetes.

The next task was to find a good diabetologist and that finally happened with some networking and friendly references. I love my doctor.

Then began a search, elimination and finalization process for the following:

A gym – Look for a gym that’s close by. Look for a gym that is open on Sundays. Look for a gym that has sensible trainers. And look for a gym that is reasonable. We are not into body-building. The aim is to keep the sugar levels under control. And most importantly look for a gym where they leave you alone if you want to be left alone. If your gym has educated personal trainers, then consult them. A good holistic trainer in these general gyms is a rare species, so be careful.

Simultaneously zero-in on a good, experienced nutritionist who will help you arrive at an optimal meal-plan.. DO NOT consult the so-called dieticians who take 7-day courses and happily certify themselves as qualified.

You will also need a good ophthalmologist for your eyes.

Make friends with at least 2 neighbourhood chemists. They are finally your back bone and the delivery mechanism if you need something at 10pm.

And last but not least, look for and finalize a best-in-class path lab. Please understand that your doctor will rely on your reports to prescribe. So if it’s going to be garbage-in, then expect only garbage-out. A word of caution – there are these mass-operated path labs where sample contamination results in wrong reports leading to wrong diagnosis. You can recognize these by the insane amount of discounts they offer. Yes, it is important to not be cheated financially by the medical ecosystem. But it is equally important to know the difference between a quality service and a not-so-compliant one.

Once you have your squad in place, it’s your turn. The spotlight is on you. Train your body and mind hard, but always with contextual relevance. Make sacrifices a happy way of life. While this network provides you the leverage you need, it is finally up to you to succeed…after every meal, every day, and every quarter and till you manage to grow old without any of the scary complications damaging your body.  If you manage to do that, then one day you can tell your story to the world, because this would be an achievement worth etching in Gold.