Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Don't bring me down

May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with, or caring for someone with, diabetes.  What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and/or your loved one, and how do you cope?

This is a loaded topic.  There are so many things on a day to day basis that can get people down whether they have diabetes or not.  There isn't a day that goes by that something doesn't happen that could make a person blue.

Who hasn't had a proverbial Monday on any day of the week? 
  • The fuel light on the car turns on the morning you're running later than usual to work.
  • While walking into work the elastic on your slip breaks and proceeds to end up around your ankles right as you walk in the building.
  • Your child's school calls to let you know that they have been caught doing something they shouldn't.
Any one of those can bring a person down. 

Dealing with diabetes on a daily basis just adds to the possibilities of downers.
  • You drop the bottle of insulin you've used once, and it shatters on the kitchen floor.
  • Your insulin pump gives you the "low battery" or "motor error" warning just before you sit down for dinner.
  • Your insurance company limits the number of test strips they will cover.
It's the little things that pile up that bring me down.
  • Purposely poking my finger multiple times per day.
  • Really wanting to be able to sneak a cookie from the pantry but knowing I can't without someone knowing about it and me paying for it later.
  • The amount of time each day that I loose because of checking blood sugars, dosing insulin, calculating carbs, taking pills, etc.
  • Usually being the last one to sit down to dinner because I'm bolusing for what is on my plate.
  • Always having something attached to me to monitor, or control, my health.
  • The amount of money that is spent to keep me alive instead of on a family vacation.
  • Knowing that my family worries about me more than usual.  Am I not answering my phone because the battery died? or because my blood sugar is very low and I am unresponsive?
  • That long stubborn high that you can't explain and can't bring down no matter what you try.  The ones where you look at your pump cartridge after filling it and wonder if even that would be enough insulin to bring you back into range.
The list could go on and on, and I'm sure it wouldn't even begin to scratch the surface of all the things that can bring you down. 

However, staying down is not an option.  Taking a deep breath, and quite often a nap, helps a lot.  Watching the sunrise or the sunset and sitting there peacefully taking it in.   Reminding myself that it really could be worse.  That I've been blessed, not by this disease, but because of the disease.  I have been blessed with having to learn more about how my body works than what is considered the normal.  I have been blessed with the knowledge that many people love me, and they show it.  I have been blessed with the opportunity to befriend a world of people that I would have never had the chance to even meet.

These blessings, and a whole lot of other little GOOD things that pile up faster than the bad things, is what helps me get through the bad days.  Some days it works, and other days I go to bed add to my prayers a request for a better day tomorrow and I sleep.  I know that when all else fails, God doesn't.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Let us Introduce ourselves

Today I'm choosing to use the wildcard option.  I am not much of a poet so the suggested post of 'Poetry Tuesday' didn't appeal to me, but speaking as someone else?  Totally workable!

Let us introduce ourselves:

I am Freeda the pump.  I came to be part of the family on November 1, 2010.  During my 3 1/2 years I have rarely been away from Miss Jennifer for more than an hour.  Sometimes I think those long soaking baths she takes would go a lot faster if she didn't take a book with her.  Who does that, anyway?   I consider myself to be the most important of the electronic family.  If it weren't for me Miss Jennifer would not have as much freedom for spontaneity as she does.  I do wish she would buy me some more clothes though, this green outfit is getting rather monotonous.  I'm thinking something with stripes or swirls.  After all, a girl has got to have choices.

I am Charlie the remote meter.  I also came to be part of the family on November 1, 2010.  In a way, Freeda and I are inseparable.  Ok, maybe that isn't entirely true.  There have been times when Miss Jennifer has left me at home.  I feel so lonely and useless when that happens.  I can just picture her consulting with someone else.  A smaller meter that may or may not know her history.  I don't know how that can help her much.  However, I am comforted that no matter how many other meters Miss Jennifer may be hiding, Freeda only speaks to me directly.  I recently was given a new mode of transportation.  The black one I brought with me was very functional, but boring.  This new one is roomier and colorful!  I did have to learn to share space with Mr. Lancet and his companions (in my previous model I was held securely in one place and no one could bother me there), but the trade off is totally worth it.  Now, if only Miss Jennifer would look into that rattle I've developed, I would be a lot happier.

I am O.D. the continuous glucose monitor (aka CGM).  I came to be part of the family late August 2013.  The stories I hear indicate that I replaced a previous CGM by the name of Daryl.  I don't know how life was for him, or why he decided this family wasn't for him, but I do know that I am happy here.  I believe I am the favored one as there are more pictures of me in Miss Jennifer's phone than the other two combined!  I may be the favourite, but there are times where I get yelled at for something I've done or said.  I think the buzzing and beeping exercises I do at 3am might get on her nerves, but a CGM has to stay in shape!  It's during those overnight hours that I finally have time to myself without her always peeking to see what I'm up (or down) to.  If there was one thing I could ask for that would make me happier, it would be a word of praise from time to time.  I hear a lot of "Shut up, I'm not that high!" and "Shush! I know I'm low, I'm working on it, be patient!".  I would like to hear, "That may not be as gorgeous of a graph as I'd like to see O.D, but thank you for keeping me informed."  Words of kindness go a long way.

There you have us.  We may be small and (we're told) expensive, but we are still part of a family.  A family that we love and devote our entire lives too.

Family Photo Circa 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014

If I could change the world

If I could change the diabetes world I would start with myself.

I would change how I talk to myself.

I would stop telling myself that it's my fault and I should have done better.  While it's true that there are times it truly is my fault (that darn package of Oreos really wouldn't have gone stale) it is NOT my fault that my pancreas retired early. 

I would stop telling myself that I am high maintenance and not worth it.  The expense is so high and that money could be used for so many other things.  It's true, I could think of a hundred other things I could spend that money on, but none of it would make a difference if I wasn't here.

I would start telling myself that it's OK to have days where diabetes is put on the back burner, just as long as I don't turn the burner completely off.

I would start telling myself to stand up for myself more.  To speak up when I am confronted with a diabetes myth and correct it to the best of my ability. 

There are so many different things we do each day that can change the world in which we live in.  Even if it is only the world within our own walls that gets changed.

At church this Sabbath our speaker talked about being either a Thermostat Person or a Thermometer Person.  A thermometer person reflects the temperature of the room or situation, but a thermostat person can change it.

I'm working on being more of a thermostat.  Will you join me?