How Do You Advocate When You Feel Like a Schlepper?
(Post title edited, thanks to input from @kelsse. :) ) I had a conversation with a fellow PWD a few weeks ago. She was leading a support group for younger girls with diabetes, but she was having some trouble feeling in control of her own diabetes.
"I've been like 260 all day long. It's hard to feel like a good role model when you're in such crap control. I don't feel like a very good advocate these days."
And her comment stuck in my head and rolled around in there like a bingo ball for about two months. This morning, as I was testing my blood sugar before heading downstairs to make a bottle for the BSparl biscuit, it dawned on me that her question is probably one that every patient blogger struggles with at any given time. How do you put on a brave face when you feel like your disease management is in a tough spot? How do you tell people to take control of their own diabetes when yours is roaming around unsupervised? How do you advocate when you feel like a schlep?
For the last week and a half, I have been a walking diabetes disaster. I'm still wearing the pump and the Dexcom and I'm aware of my disease, but I'm not managing it. It's managing the hell out of me, though. I'm not proactively nailing down any blood sugar trends, but instead am chasing random highs and lows that I KNOW have a pattern somehow, but I haven't motivated myself to really plot the numbers and find their rhythm. I can count my daily finger sticks on one hand (pun sort of intended). Overall, I'm treading water instead of making real progress towards actually making changes.
How many times can I say "Tomorrow is a new day"? I feel like I've been singing the same tune for weeks now. Is this a patch of diabetes burnout, brought on by diabetes obsessiveness in pursuit of the healthy pregnancy? Whatever it is, I'm definitely in it and having a very hard time getting myself out. The problem is priorities. I have myself fooled into thinking that taking care of the baby, unpacking the house, and continuing my consulting work is more important than diabetes management. What I fail to forget, as I make my to do lists every night, is that without good health, all the other stuff isn't ever as well done as it should be. My health needs to come first. Not last. Or second to last. Or finishing somewhere in the bottom five.
It's hard to come online and admit these things. I wish I could say that I had the baby and then bounced right back into fantastic control and excellent health. But I'm struggling. A lot. It's frustrating and I'm overwhelmed. I don't make a habit of lying to you guys. So even though I am trying to make changes, I'm feeling challenged.
"I don't feel like a very good advocate these days," my friend had said that day. But what makes her a good advocate is that she tries. Every day. And that's what makes the entire diabetes online community such a strong and honest source of support. It's not comprised of a bunch of people with "104 mg/dl" winking back at them on their meters and a plate of chicken breast and baby spinach leaves smiling in low-carb contentment. We're a bunch of real people writing about our real experiences with this disease. And I'm so glad for that because I'm looking at string of several rotten diabetes days in a row, all lending themselves to settling in my brain and making me feel defeated.
You guys make it easier to dust myself off and get back on the wagon. (Even though it is speeding by like the Acela.) It's hard to advocate when you feel like a schlep, but it does feel good to be honest. Honesty helps fuel advocacy. And it also helps to be supported by people who really get it. When this community helps lift us out of our respective diabetes burnout phases, it makes all the difference.
... coffee helps, too. ;)