Diabetes Blog Week 2014 (Thanks Karen!). 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? (Thanks go out to Scott of Strangely Diabetic for coordinating this topic.)
I'm a bit late posting on today's topic which has given me a chance to browse around a few posts on the link list. One of the strengths of the Diabetes Online Community is the sense of shared experience. Shared struggle. I have read some heartbreaking posts today, but I've also read many that have just made me think, "Yup! Me too." What might have been a difficult topic has actually been hugely encouraging.
The emotional effort of living with a long term condition cannot be underestimated. It is really great to see its importance increasingly recognised in recent years both by clinics, HCPs and by patients themselves.
Like many people I am mostly fine most of the time. But I think everyone who lives with diabetes for any length of time will be familiar with those days when it just seems too much to carry. The weight of it unbearable. The prospect of managing another day with it almost impossible.
So what drags me down? What is my particular trigger?
Well you don't have to read many posts or tweets of mine before I'm moaning about chasing the moving goalposts.
Here's an example. Three consecutive Wednesdays. Each start with a breakfast of 30-35g carbs (2 slices of the same brand of bread, toasted). Then a trip to the gym - 25 minute medium pace run and 10 minutes light weights/core. Lunch is two more slices of the same bread as a sandwich and a medium-sized apple. Evening meal will contain around 50-60g carbs and is likely to be one of 5-10 tried and tested family faves. There is just enough variation to keep me sane, but a clear attempt to reduce the huge number of variables involved so that doses/approaches that have been carefully tweaked *should* give reasonable results. Should being the operative word. Here's what happened:
The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted that the second Wednesday didn't quite go to plan. The first was not too shabby at all, while the third was just bewilderingly level.
And yet did pretty much the same things, in the same way.
I put just the same amount of effort in. I played my part. But for no discernible reason my basal requirement altered dramatically around Wednesday #2. So then it's back to basal tweaking for the next 5-6 days (often much longer) with all the 'out of range' results and uncertainty that entails until yesterday when it began to fall back into place.
Tomorrow? Who knows!
I've been chasing these changes back and forth for months. For years actually. Some times I get some stability for several weeks on the trot. But not often. And I recognise that I am incredibly lucky to have it so good.
But this is the grind for me. The thing that can wear me down. The actual doing of the routine is not so bad. Some routine, occasional special occasions/treats/holidays, then back to routine. That always seems doable.
But putting in all the effort and getting a BG roller coaster back seems less than fair. Not exactly a reward for any self-control I may have mustered. And every time the goalposts chase off into the distance it's more effort, more tweaking, more testing. And all the while, more out of range results and the spectre of diabetes-related nasties prowling around the edges of my consciousness.
But... And it's a BIG but...
Every time I rant about the frustration of having to fix something I haven't broken - EVERY time - someone will be there, day or night, from one corner of the world or another, to offer support, sympathy, smiles.
This is the beauty of the DOC. We are stronger together.