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Posts from the ‘Diabetes and Emotions’ Category

Diabetes Relics: Accu-Chek II.

Whose pockets were what size now?

[here's a link to a full size photo]

Scanned from the pages of the Fall 1986 issue of “Diabetes Forecast: The newsletter for people who live with diabetes,” this was my first glucose meter.

Next week marks 28 years with type 1 diabetes for me, and looking back at the technology I used upon diagnosis, I see how far things have come.  I wonder if I’ll look back, decades from now, and marvel at the cumbersome technology of 2014.

Maybe I’ll be all making my own insulin and tending to a big, fat glass of Reisling and not giving a shit because research will have finally caught up with hope.

A Human’s Resilient, One Hundred Percent!

Sighed Panky, a lazy panc deep in the gut
“I’m tired and I’m bored
And I’m stuck in a rut
From making, just making insulin every day.
It’s work! How I hate it!
I’d much rather play!
I’d take a vacation, or a long nap
If I could find someone to do all this crap!

If I could find someone, I’d kick back and chill …”

Then Panky thought, “Could Kerri be up for the thrill?”

“Hello!” called the lazy panc, smiling her best,
“You’ve nothing to do.  Does this sound too strange …
Would you like do the work I do for a change?”

Kerri laughed.
“Why of all silly things?
I haven’t islets or enzymes or things.
ME do your job?  Why that doesn’t make sense!
Your job is make insulin!  The thought makes me tense.”

“Tut, tut,” answered Panky.  “I know you’re not me
But I know you can do this.  Won’t you hear my plea?
Just pick up that needle and draw up the dose.
Once insulin’s flowing you won’t feel morose.”

“I can’t,” said the Kerri.
“PL-E-ASE!!” begged her panc.
“It won’t be too hard, kid.  Sorry to pull rank.
But I’m leaving regardless if you raise your voice.”

“You’re a jerkface,” said Kerri.  “Not to give me a choice.

I’m unsure how to do this. Details are the devils!
How do I keep steady my blood sugar levels?
What do I do? Can you leave me instructed?”

“You’ll figure it out,” and the panc self-destructed.

“The first thing to do,” murmured Kerri,
“Let’s see.
The first thing to do is to prop up this Me
And to make ME much stronger.  This has to be done
Because diabetes can weigh an emotional ton.”

So carefully,
Hopefully,
She searched, unimpeded
For the resources, tools, and support that she needed.

“I know that there’s life found after diagnosis.
It’s good and it’s worth it. That’s the prognosis.
I meant what I said
And I said what I meant …
A human’s resilient,
One hundred percent!”

Then Kerri, with peers and insulin by her side,
Well she tried
and she tried
and she tried
and she tried.

She kept at it for decades
Despite feeling perplexed.
It requires work one day,
Again on the next.
It sucks! Then it doesn’t!
But Kerri remained sure,
“My life’s worth this effort,
(Though I’d still love a cure.)
I wish Panky’d come back
‘Cause some days I’m so burnt.
I hope that my body thrives on the things that I’ve learnt.”

But Panky, by this time, was far beyond near,
And was dormant for good now. Diabetes was here
And was staying, so Kerri, for better or worse,
Had a pump on her hip, glucose tabs in her purse.

Diabetes is constant, day after day.
But the life in its wake is still good, plenty yay.
And even on days when the Stuff is Way Blah,
Life with disease is not life without Awe.
“It’s not always easy. Diabetes might test me.
“But I’ll stay on task and I won’t let it best me.
I meant what I said
And I said what I meant …
A human’s resilient
One hundred percent!”

Some days it is simple. Some months are real hard.
Diabetes is something you can’t disregard.
But a panc on vacation doesn’t mean that you’re broken.
“You can still do this.”

Truer words never spoken.

 

[With apologies and thanks to Dr. Seuss,  this is in homage to Horton Hatches the Egg.]

 

BOLUS: Beware Of Loose, Unsupervised Snacks.

I graze.  I’m a grazer.  Visually speaking, my food choices are spread out over a gigantic field and I run through, grabbing bites here and there and never properly taking amounts or serving sizes into account.

“How many grapes did I just eat,” is a common, whispered question.  “Did I bolus for that protein bar?” is another one.  “Hey, I only had eggs and not toast – how many carbs did I bolus for, and what needs to be consumed now so I don’t hit the deck?”

I am good at going through the motions of diabetes management, but I have been slacking on minding the minutiae of late.  I don’t sit down to formal meals throughout the day (schedules are nonexistent at the moment), so keeping track of the food I’m eating has been a challenge.  Grazing makes for dodgy carb counting.

I need to mind my B.O.L.U.S:

Must Beware of Loose, Unsupervised Snacks!  When carbs are roaming around unsupervised and unbolused-for (terrible grammar, worse when spellcheck changes it to “unbloused-for”), blood sugars go high and stay there because I’m chasing my insulin-tail or I go low because I’m over-estimating.  Insulin is potent stuff, and SWAG’ing it makes for Ms and Ws on my Dexcom graph.  If I can just pay-the-fuck-attention to what I’m eating, I’ll have fewer frustrating results.  Right? RIGHT??

The more I mind what I’m eating, the more even my blood sugars will be.

Now let’s see how that theory shakes out, as I attempt it for the 10,000th time since diagnosis.

Itch, Please.

I’m allergic to this poison sumac stuff.  Highly.  While Chris can walk around in the woods out back and pick bouquets of poison sumac without issue, I end up with an itchy plague just thinking about it.  Even if I have a full hazmat suit on, I can’t go near the stuff without catching hell.

So I can’t remove it from our yard, but I can’t entirely avoid it because it’s invaded our way-backyard to the point of no return.

I have to approach it with care.

It’s not a huge deal unless I forget it’s there.  When I ignore it or forget about it, I end up covered in the oozing, itchy hives that last for days and cause significant discomfort.  If I go into the woods without thinking ahead, I don’t regret it right away, but a few hours later, I’m riddled with a rash of regret.

… kind of like diabetes.

Which would make my endocrinologist or certified diabetes educator kind of like a landscaper.  They’ve really grown on me, though.  They do so mulch for me, especially when diabetes burnout is in full bloom.  I really dig them.

 

Tuning Back In.

Feeling crummy is a slippery slope for me, in that acknowledging it is a healthy move, but if I cater to it, I’ll get sucked down the rabbit hole of feeling overwhelmingly crummy.  I’m not even sure that makes sense when you read it, but it does to me, so there it stays.

Three years ago, I went through a pronounced emotional slump and it was not my favorite time in life.  I am not interested in going back to that place, emotionally or physically, so I’m attempting to head it off at the pass.

Things That Help Immediately:

Exercising.  Sounds so simple, because it is, but it helps.  Being outside, either walking or running, helps my brain.  It makes me feel better.  Sitting around all day long and staring at my computer trying to make the writing thing happen doesn’t do much for me, but going for a run jogs my brain (ha – weak pun but a pun all the same) back into gear.  It’s like I physically require 10,000 steps in the day before my mind decides to get creative again.  Which is fine by me.

Paying Attention to Food.  When I’m in a crappy mood, I will drink coffee all day and maybe have a protein bar, but that’s it.  And that sucks, because my body needs more diversity/nutrients/how about a hard-boiled egg, motherfucker.  Cooking hasn’t ever been something I’ve enjoyed, but I’ve always liked eating well, and looking back at a day’s worth of food that isn’t dominated by iced coffee and the random Luna bar is a plus.  The better the food, the better I feel.

Engaging in the Moment.  I have a tendency to get tangled up in the to do lists in my mind, and the things I haven’t done yet eat away at me.  To the point of anxiety, which is ridiculous, because so many of those to dos are fun and things I like, yet they’re still stressing me out?  No, no, no.  When I’m on the slippery slope towards Crumbdom, I don’t enjoy the moments I’m in, but instead I fret about the shit I haven’t accomplished yet.  Again: no, no, no.  It helps if I make the conscious decision to ease up a little, like going to the zoo with Birdy instead of staying home and freaking out.  It also helps to hug my kid, and my husband, and the cats.  They are all warm and snuggly creatures, and they make me feel good.

I’m glad there are things I can do to help feel better, to shake off the ennui.  I feel better when I’m doing something, and best when that something involves my family.  I can’t change all of the things that are weighing heavily, but I can refocus on the things that bring me joy, damn it.

You Take the Good, You Take the Bad.

… you take it all and then you have Life With Diabetes (LWD?).  (This is all sung to the tune of The Facts of Life theme song, which is the earworm to end all earworms, as far as I’m concerned.)

I can’t remember where I first read this sentiment – I think it was on a #dsma Twitter chat – but it stuck with me.  To paraphrase: someone was feeling down about their diabetes management and couldn’t find solace in the Diabetes Online Community because everything they saw online was way too upbeat and it made them feel strange/sad/isolated because they thought they might be the only ones bummed out by the daily duties.  (Only they managed to say all of that in less than 140 characters.)

I’m kind of in those kinds of moments these days.  Even though I have 100 mg/dLs that I could take pictures of and post to Instagram, I don’t feel like it.  Can I just post a picture of my Dexcom graph and spell “BLARGH” in yellow, white, and red letters?  I’m not in diabetes burnout mode (numbers-wise, my rotten old diabetes is fine and dandy), but I might be in social media burnout and sort of over the diabetes thing and am also working through quite a few non-diabetes-related moments that aren’t causing any harm but are eating up a lot of my brain space.

That sentence was a disaster.  But I don’t particularly care.

Yeah, it sounds like vagueposting but it’s not. Not intentionally, anyway.  It’s more that it’s not that interesting and I don’t feel like talking about the bulk of it.   (Do you really want to hear about how I spent four hours boxing up clothes that my daughter had outgrown?  No, you don’t.  It would make you the mayor of Yawn Town, and me the Town Crier.)

I am a little eh about diabetes these days.  My meter average is fine and my insurance company continues to cover the same shit it has always covered, but I’m so meh and blah and YAWN about the whole thing.  It’s a whole lot of work with the payoff being to do a whole lot of work again tomorrow (and the next day, and the next) and it’s giving me run-on sentences.

It feels counterproductive to post Tweets that say, “Sometimes I have nothing positive to say.”  Or “I don’t like the way that focusing on diabetes makes me feel some days.”  I like playing the positivity card because it is usually how I feel and also because it feels better than throwing down the “diabetes can go screw” card, but – being honest – the positivity thing feels better because it doesn’t feed into itself.  If someone posts a “Hey, check out my no-hitter!” graph, the kneejerk response of, “Way to go, you!!” is easy to send out.  But someone posts:


… finding the right response can be a challenge and the silence can feed into the negativity. But it’s not all happy moments. There are some downer moments mixed into the flow of things, and not acknowledging them alongside the happiness feels disingenuous.

I don’t know. Diabetes can be an overwhelming little mess at times, and more often than not this week, I’d rather throw my meter after checking my blood sugar. And not because the result itself is crap, but because I’m low on the positivity thing as of late. I need a reboot. This morning, after doing some prep work for this week’s AADE conference, I didn’t feel like posting anything so my kid and I went to the zoo. Maybe I need more of that.

There’s no succinct end to this post. It sort of trails off because I don’t know what else to say. Other than hey. And blah.

Snapshots: Fell Off.

Until next time.

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