Tag Archives: diabetes and anxiety

The Time I Realized Diabetes Occupies Too Much Head Space

Years ago I suffered from a 9 millimeter kidney stone that had to be laser zapped into pieces. The procedure was deemed “successful” but left me with a torrential avalanche of small kidney stone pieces that sent me right back to the hospital in extreme pain later that same day. It was the type of pain that makes you lose the will to live because in the moment, you need anything to come between you and that pain.

Luckily, after a few hellish hours, my nightmare was over. I was sent home with strong pain medicine to take over the next few weeks while more kidney stone fragments made their way down my ureter.

I kept feeling twinges of pain so each day I took one of my pain pills. I knew that if the pain got too bad before I took medication, that the medication would be almost useless at that point and since I was traumatized from the pain I took my precautions against it.

I took the daily doses for about two weeks before I decided to chuck the remainder of the pills in the garbage.

I did this because those two weeks were among the best of my entire life. Let me explain.

During this time, I was coming out of a period of poor diabetes management so I was healing from some diabetic nerve damage in my feet, healing my depression and was also in the process of working on improving my issues with anxiety surrounding my diabetes.

The strong pain medication didn’t allow me to feel my foot nerve pain and it seemed to completely remove my anxiety about my diabetes. I lived temporarily as someone who, about half of the time, forgot she had diabetes in the first place.

This was wonderful to experience (though I don’t and can’t recommend it to anyone, of course). I became the opposite of my uptight self who was always paying attention to symptoms and was worried about blood sugars. I dare say I was the most pleasant version of myself I’ve ever witnessed. This isn’t to say that people with diabetes are uptight–but some of us are because it is the only way we have come to cope with trying to manage our condition. I truly admire those who can take good care of themselves without becoming a little neurotic. It is true too, that I may have been feeling so great partially due to not being in pain after being in tons of pain and the stark contrast left me in a type of momentary heaven.

My mind felt free to interact fully with those around me because I wasn’t stuck in my internal dialogue regarding my worries about insulin, blood sugar, complications and carb counts.

So how did I manage my diabetes during those two weeks? Really well, actually, because I was in the habit of checking my blood sugar levels and so that still continued like clock-work. I kept giving insulin like before and I kept eating low carb foods as usual. I was aware that I may not feel highs and lows on a strong pain medication so I threw in more blood sugar checks and even these were easier because I didn’t feel apprehension about the results. I am pretty sure I also did less anxiety eating and made better food choices, too.

I realized that my feeling so wonderful about life had everything to do with an illusion however, so I knew that before I became addicted to the pills, I needed to get rid of them for good. It hurt but I threw them in the trash, felt an impulse to rescue them and then threw the trash out in the garbage can.

It was a major bummer but my lesson here was that my goal would be to continue doing what I needed to do to manage my diabetes while somehow managing to turn off the perfectionistic and unhelpful demands and worries I was living with. Those two weeks proved that I didn’t need all that to manage my diabetes well.

It has been 11 years and I don’t think I’ve had a happier consecutive two weeks since. I’m still working on toning down my bouts of negativity and anxiety. I may not have achieved what I would have liked to but I’m hanging in there and am regularly picking myself off the ground and I suppose that counts for something.

I can live with myself as long as I keep trying.

Note to Self: Try New Things

We moved recently and bought a small house on a small triangular shaped property with dozens of trees on it.  Most of the trees are pines and other evergreens, which are my favorite.  The unique shape of the property captivated us and we’ve been dreaming up cool garden ideas.  Even before we moved we saw a lot of work in the yard.  There are several different types of vines growing wild, choking off trees, and beginning to threaten others.  While envisioning the future, I imagined myself making Alex a sandwich while he worked hard to clear the vines and clean up the yard. 

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That’s part of the back yard, a wild and wonderful mess.

Once we moved in I realized that Alex was at work from sun-up to sun-down and the clearing of the property needed to be done and waiting until warm weather would mean watching out for snakes and dealing with pests (and I’m not confident in my ability to do either).  I thought to myself, “I’m going to absolutely hate this, I’m not the gardening type”.  But I went out there and starting pulling up vines, some half an inch thick, others thin and twirled around tree limbs and branches.  They have formed a massive thicket and run up and down many of our trees.  I used to think this look was desperately charming but I started to look up the vines to identify them.  One in particular is a terrible invasive type which takes down trees (oh no, the house!) and covers up plants (how rude!).  It grows really fast and we just so happen to have it all over the property.  I worked for 4 hours one day only to clear about a puny three ft radius of land.  Then I went inside, washed my dirt covered hands and that’s when it hit me.  This was the most fun I’d had in a really long time.  I felt so healthy!  My allergies weren’t acting up because it was late fall.  I felt peaceful and energetic.  All from pulling up vines, uncovering trees and plants, and finding artifacts left behind in the ground such as Twizzler wrappers and lots of old socks (I have questions for the man that used to live here). 

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Doesn’t look like much, but these mounds are massive in person and reflect only a tiny amount of cleared land.

Since then I’ve spent several more afternoons doing the same, enjoying myself so much I only stop when it’s too dark to see and my kids remind me it’s time to do my motherly job and feed them (think of all I’ll be able to accomplish when they can feed themselves!)  Each time I feel a sense of euphoria.  I did recently pull or rip a pelvic floor muscle doing this which makes sense considering I jumped into a new physical activity without any caution and without working myself up to the task.  But, I’m healing and learning not to over strain.  And I’m still loving it.  And I’ve become a nerd to my husband who just shakes his head back and forth as I call myself the “tree whisperer”.  I struggle a lot of with anxiety and depression, something I’ve blogged much about, and this activity is like strong medication for me.  I don’t quite know what it is.  Maybe it’s being out in this time of year with the smell of pine,  the crisp fresh air, birds, squirrels, and deer all around, and no pollen to make me sneeze.  All I know is I’m just going to keep it up.  It’s built in exercise, too so my blood sugars love it.

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See how much there is?  I can’t even find my husband when he’s out there.

I was so sure I would hate doing something I turned out to totally love doing!  So, this is a serious note to self: try new things!  Who knows where it will lead.  And if you have any tips for dealing with invasive vines, I’m all ears.

Confronting My Anxiety

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So we’re continuing the “Sysy Freak Show”!  (I’m trying to laugh as much as I can, forgive me)

My doctor prescribed me something for my anxiety, just to get me back on my feet while I continue to treat my anxiety via healthy lifestyle habits.  Why after so many years of au naturel treatments have I succumbed to medication?  Because right now I think I need a little boost.  I don’t necessarily love sharing this info but I feel like I need to be honest with you all, all the time.  I don’t know most of you out there but I know you’re out there…

My whole life I’ve needed a chill pill.  Only now it’s really affecting my health.  Lately, I get really anxious when I have to go out in public.  Even when I’m excited and happy about something I feel too overwhelmed, like my heart is going to beat out of my chest and I have trouble taking a deep breathe.  I can sleep 10 hours a day if you let me and I have a really hard time getting out of bed.  And my thoughts go to dark places.  For example, I will randomly imagine the worst case scenario for everything imaginable and my thoughts will keep unfolding worse and worse events.  I did that 10 years ago when I was at my lowest.  I conquered those thoughts before and I am working on doing it again.

I think my current place in life is sort of fueling these feelings.

Alex is gone 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for work.  Besides my natural inclination to anxiety, having twin two year olds is pretty stressful.  I have to take them out by myself a few times a week and it’s hard to keep my insides from turning because they like to run into the road and in separate directions and so I physically task myself holding them so they don’t go running out in front of a car.  And in those moments I’m not without worry because I fear a low blood sugar.  I know I shouldn’t worry that one of them will get hit by a car or choke to death on something but the reality is that Henri has scared me by getting away from me in the parking lot and hello? People don’t drive slowly in parking lots near kids anymore and he has run right in front of a car, almost giving me a heart attack.  Henri (why is it always him?) has also choked on a glucose tablet that I accidentally dropped while low and I had to totally pound his little back with my hand to pop it out as he turned blue.  Aurora has peanut and egg allergies and the peanut one is classified as severe.  So everywhere we go I’m obsessing over what she is touching and wiping her tiny hands clean because even though it’s annoying to live this way, I WILL NOT let anything happen to her.  Or her brother.  But these moments of life and death or medical strife are driving me nuts.  This tough time won’t last forever but while it’s here, I’m really on edge.

Something that has made a great negative impact on me is I’ve started reading the news again.  I had stopped completely because let’s face it, I’m not really going to do anything about all those small crimes out there and when it comes to the big news, friends and family will be talking about it, so there is no need to feed my very sensitive self all the cruel and sad news of the world each day.  I can stay properly informed without reading everything.

You know what?  As soon as I started the medicine my mysterious nausea and body aches disappeared and now I’m wondering if that was all related to anxiety/depression.  I thought that was interesting to note.

So anyway here’s the plan: (because I don’t want the side effects of this anxiety medicine, forever, though it is excellent birth control)

-Daily exercise

-Positive affirmations

-Healthy diet

-Media fast

-Give back and be grateful

Anything else I should do that might help?  Suggestions are welcome!

Oh and if YOU are dealing with anything similar, do try and get help, there is no shame in it.  Just work your way back, you, um, we can do it :)

How to Manage Anxiety Caused by Diabetes

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Guest post by Ryan Rivera.

Anxiety as a whole is a natural response to stress. It’s your body’s way of telling you that you are concerned, as it activates your fight/flight mechanism and feeds your body with nervous energy. But for most people, that anxiety quickly goes away when the stressor goes away.

But when you suffer from diabetes, the stressor doesn’t go away. Like diabetes, your anxiety needs to be managed. It’s common for those with diabetes to suffer from some degree of anxiety, and unless you are able to keep it under control it can become a considerable mental health problem.

Starting at What Not to Do

There are plenty of drugs available for those living with anxiety, but ideally you do not want to be stuck on one of these powerful medications the rest of your life, along with all of your other health concerns you deal with on a regular basis. You can and should seek therapy if you need help coping, but you never want therapy to be your only long term solution. So what you need to do is find fun and interesting coping strategies so that you can manage your anxiety more easily during your daily life, and suffer from less stress in the long term.

But before you can even start exploring new coping strategies, you need to start the process of avoiding things that cause anxiety. Anxiety is additive, so the anxiety you feel because of your chronic health condition is exacerbated by the little things in life that fuel natural anxiety. It’s not just major things either, like dealing with a stressful job or getting out of a stressful relationship. The little things are important as well, which means:

  • No speeding on the freeway.
  • No watching horror movies.
  • No playing poker.

Any small, relatively minor activity that may cause some degree of anxiety should be avoided, because it will only increase the amount of anxiety that you are already feeling, and could potentially lead to panic attacks. Like diabetes, anxiety does require some life changes, and while none of them are substantial, they will make a big difference in your day to day life.

Finding Your Strategies for Coping

Your next step is to find strategies for coping that work for you. There are numerous creative and interesting coping strategies that you can implement, and the reality is that if you find something that works for you then you should do it, provided it conforms to the following principles:

  • It’s Healthy – Gambling, smoking, drinking, shopping for expensive clothes, or getting into various shenanigans are all not acceptable long term solutions for managing your diabetes. On the other hand, jogging, sitting outside by the lake, or playing the game “Go” with strangers – these are all healthy and productive coping strategies.
  • It’s a Useful Long Term Solution – Anything that helps you cope is worthwhile, but you should especially be looking for strategies that you can employ at any time, whenever you feel the anxiety or panic coming on. The easier the coping strategy, the better.
  • You Enjoy It – No coping strategy is going to help you for very long if you aren’t enjoying it. So you also need to find an activity that you can enjoy regularly.

With that in mind, there are a variety of avenues that you can choose. Most people choose one of the following ways of coping:

  • Art – Art, poetry, and other forms of create expression are arguably the most popular, and potentially the most useful. They’re a healthy way to express emotion, an enjoyable activity, and one that you can continue to enjoy while you’re living with diabetes. It’s also a skill that you can work on over time, giving you something to look forward to every day as you continue your chosen craft.
  • Sports – If you’re feeling up to it, you can also engage in sports leagues. Try to stay away from sports you get too competitive about (since that may lead to a bit of anxiety), but if there is a sport that you have fun playing win or lose, it can be a healthy way to release energy and spend time with interesting people.
  • Relaxation Exercises – There are several relaxation exercises that you can also use to calm your mind and body when you’re feeling stressed. With deep breathing or visualization, you can quickly relax when you’re feeling stressed and use it as long as you have a few moments to yourself.
  • Small Gatherings – Social support is a big part of dealing with both diabetes and anxiety. Having friends over for conversation helps as a distraction from the day’s events and gives you a chance to bond more with those that are important to you.
  • Thought Journals – When you live with chronic illness, one of the primary causes of anxiety is simply the worries and thoughts you have about the day. Thought journals help with that a great deal. It’s been found that part of the reason your mind obsesses over worries is because it doesn’t want to forget them. By writing it down, your mind is less concerned with remembering it, and you can relax your mind a little.

While the above list represents some potential ideas for coping with chronic illness, anything you enjoy and can do easily is useful. Some people find skipping stones to be extremely relaxing, while others simply need to curl up with an interesting book and scented candles. These are all perfectly acceptable long term strategies, and perfect ways to reduce your anxiety.

Living with Diabetes and Anxiety

When you suffer from anxiety because of a chronic illness, you want to ideally stay away from powerful medicines, and while talk therapy is always a great solution, time and budget may get in the way. But the reality is that when you have diabetes, or any chronic illness, the key is simply finding productive coping strategies to manage it, and cutting out those things that lead to an increase in stress in your life. Do that, and you can focus on living a happy life and simply managing your diabetes.

 

About the Author: Ryan Rivera has long been victim to a number of anxiety related conditions and panic attacks. He shares information on these issues and more at www.calmclinic.com.

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Thanks, Ryan, I’m going to start on some of these tips right away!

100 Year Old Marathon Runner Renews My Perspective

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I just read about Fauja Singh, 100 years old, who just completed a full marathon.  By the time I lifted my jaw off the floor I had read all I could on the man.  He’s a vegetarian, eats a low fat diet, won’t consume rice or caffeine, and runs 10 miles a day in training.  He strives to be positive, doesn’t get offended or angry, focuses on charity work, and advises that to be happy and live long we must do what we love, give back, live stress free, and eat to live, rather than live to eat.

It occurred to me this man is an example of someone who eats what fuels him properly and doesn’t eat what doesn’t fuel him properly.  I think we all need a different diet and discovering what that diet consists of is no easy feat but it sounds like he’s done it.  It’s clear he also knows how to live a stress free life, something I have always seen as impossible.  Yet, here is someone who has endured stress.  He lost his wife a long time ago.  His son died prematurely.  He used running as a way to get busy and focus on something, as a way to cope.  He doesn’t have much education, was a farmer in India before he came to live in England, but he seems to know all the secrets to happiness and health and actually practices them.

For some reason his story provides me with a lightening bolt of a paradigm shift.  I feel renewed energy to eat only when I’m hungry, not paying attention to people who say one should eat often in order to avoid feeling hungry and then binging.  Hunger doesn’t make me want to binge, it makes my food taste better.  I’ve heard people say that we shouldn’t compare ourselves to the Kenyans who run amazing races or people who stay active into their 90’s like this man.  Yet, why not?  We’re human just like them and what these people do with their bodies is inspiring.  I know that I am at my current level of fitness in part because I grew up thinking that a mile was a long distance on foot.  Whereas people who grow up walking several miles to and from work or school each day don’t see a mile as a long way at all.  Their knowledge of a mile is so different and as a result, what they see as possible is very different from what I see as possible.

This man’s story provides me with a renewed perspective in how I think about our bodies and what is possible.  Surely I can run more if a 100 year old man can complete a full marathon.  Perception is key.  If I believe a 10 mile run is doable, does that make it more doable?  I once thought that keeping my blood sugar below 250 most of the time was impossible.  Then I looked at it different.  I believed keeping it around 100 was doable.  It’s not easy, and like running each day, it takes discipline and preparation, but I did it.  When I stopped the discipline surrounding what I ate and when I did or didn’t do something, that level of glucose management fell away.  However, I know it’s within my reach again.  All I have to do is firmly know it’s possible and act on that belief, ignoring all others.

Getting to the Bottom of This

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Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.

Glenn Turner

 

“This” is whatever issue(s) I have going on which have been causing me to feel a lot less than great the last few months.  In the last few weeks I’ve been dealing with some stronger symptoms like frequent headaches and nausea and water retention.  I visited an allergist and we have ruled out Celiac disease but I’m still going to omit gluten to see if it helps in any way.  (Omitting gluten is a small price to pay if I just so happen to feel better!)  I had lots of other allergy testing done and we found I’m not allergic to any new things so that’s a plus.   Although I am allergic to about 30 different things.  No, my immune system is not confused at all. (Dry humor helps, try it!)

I was reminded that I have an asthma diagnosis from about 15 years ago.  It seems I have mild exercise induced asthma and have forgotten over all these years OR was initially misdiagnosed.  Perhaps when I’ve had my “panic attacks” I’m really just panicking over my breathing?  Could be.  I will get a breathing test soon.  In the meantime I’m just glad those symptoms are mild and I don’t require an inhaler.  Although I do get laryngeal spasms from time to time but although those can cause a person to pass out, the good thing there is that if I do, my throat will relax and air will pass once again.  Phew, what a relief.

Next I go get my hormones and ovaries checked.  Before having my kids, when my PCOS was causing more pain and ovarian cysts were growing all over the place, I remember having nausea and water retention-like I am now.  So hormonal imbalance issues may be the root of this.  It wouldn’t surprise me you know?  Lately, my blood sugars have been higher than they have been in a long time and that definitely affects hormones in the body.  My worry about that is how do I fix the problem?  I don’t feel well on birth control.  What else can I do?  Keep perfect blood sugars?  What else can I do?  Sometimes I dislike being a girl.

I also go to the eye doctor soon.  I’m sure my prescription has changed (everything is a tiny bit blurry) and although that is a bad sign of something diabetes eye related…I’m used to my prescription increasing every single year since age 14, so maybe that’s what the headaches are about.

Some of my symptoms could be tied to anxiety so I’m seeing a psychiatrist soon.  I know I said I would do this over a month ago but I have procrastinated.  But no more, I’ve just made an appointment.

I don’t necessarily want to share all of this with the world (Hello! Look at me! I’m broken!) but here is why I do:  Many of you out there are going through similar scenarios where you have multiple health issues going on and you can’t figure out what’s the cause of what and you feel really overwhelmed and as a result don’t do anything about it.

My advice is to just stop.  Breathe.  Write down your symptoms.  Make doctor appointments.  Visit one doctor at a time.  Get tests done.  Get to the bottom of this.  Ruling out different things will be strangely comforting as you move closer to what is making you feel ill.  Symptoms are our body’s way of saying “help!”   We need to listen and play detective and then tweak our lifestyle until we feel better.   We deserve it.

I should not have waited so long.  I’m already feeling better knowing I’m being proactive.

Any of you out there go through something similar?  Did it help?

The Girl Who Bites Her Nails

Pic courtesy of Salvatore Vuono

 

I’ve been the anxious type for as long as I can remember.  Elementary School was rough.  Just speaking in front of the class felt like a heart attack.  The anxiety would come and go depending on what went on in school and in life.  It definitely shot up in social situations.  And yet I still put myself out there and overcame the anxiety and “shyness”.  I’m proud of myself for that.  I have spoken in public numerous times and enjoyed it so much, despite the intense underlying nervousness.

11 Years ago I started suffering panic attacks.  I got rid of the imbalance with changes in my life such as more exercise, less coffee, healthier relationships, better blood sugar control, and more positive thinking.  Granted it took years, a job change, and a change of a significant other…The funny thing is I’m fine. I mean, I think and feel happy only I’m physically feeling the overwhelming symptoms of anxiety. It’s a strange thing, it’s as if my body isn’t communicating with my brain or something.

Since the birth of my twins, I have gone into worry mode much more.  I also haven’t left the house much in two years.  As a result I find I’m going backwards in my social comforts.  For example, when I went to the Diabetes Sisters Conference in April, I suddenly experienced extreme anxiety.  My blood sugars shot up to 300 and stayed there the entire weekend.  I have been 300 a handful of times in the past year so to stay there for two days meant something was up.  I realized the second day of the conference that it was due to my anxiety.  My heart was racing, I couldn’t sleep, I was nauseated, and I spoke to everyone awfully fast.  I wasn’t miserable at the conference, I was thoroughly enjoying myself!  And yet I still felt this way.

The feeling of anxiety has lingered since.  In the past two weeks I’ve had a few panic attacks.  Mild ones, but ugly none the less.  Usually the anxiety builds up when my twin two year olds are crying at the same time.  My skin feels tingly and I go into this “make it stop, make it stop, make it stop” mode.  I’ve felt this a lot during the past two years because I’ve been around my kids about 98% of their waking moments and I’m hyper sensitive to their crying.  Or maybe it’s just that their crying is so loud when they’re in sync.  I know it’s natural for babies to whine and cry but it drives me bananas after a while.  You’d think motherhood would come naturally to mothers and yet I feel clueless lol!  I might even feel like an utterly inadequate mom, which I know is silly but while vulnerable the thought does enter my mind.

I feel like someone is stepping on my chest, not letting me breathe.  I feel like I’m not able to exercise efficiently because of that, too.  I’ve been here before and the diabetes certainly aggravates it but at least I know it’s not a permanent situation.  I don’t go out around people much and so when I do I internally freak out.  If you met me in person you probably wouldn’t notice anything abnormal.  I am friendly and chatty and I don’t appear anxious-au contraire, I seem relaxed.  The thing is, on the inside I feel completely frazzled and my nails are bitten down to the bare minimum. 

Soon, the kids will grow out of the difficult stage they’re in where we feel we can’t take them anywhere and where all the fun activities out there seem to be for ages 3+.  We go to parks and more parks and I’m allergic to the outdoors so that’s rather tiring.  Eventually we’ll be able to leave the house during the day and be out about in the world more.  I’ll find it easier to trust others to watch my kids.  (I’m paranoid because of my daughter’s severe peanut and egg allergies and the way she puts everything in her mouth) 

In the meantime I’m debating seeking help over doing what I’ve always done which is hold on for the ride a little longer and work to maintain blood sugars, exercise, and diet so that I can come back to a healthy place again. 

It’s hard feeling this way but I’m not ashamed (and neither should you if this sounds familiar).  It’s hard to have type 1!  And have little twins and one of them not be able to touch surfaces or eat foods without fear of exposure.  It’s hard to be “shy” and to be stuck at home all day and to do it all while living paycheck to paycheck.  We’ve never fully recovered from my quitting my job to stay home with the kids and my husband being laid off for 8 months.  That swallows up a just married and honeymooned couple’s little bank account real fast.

I’ve overcome this many times before and will just have to dust myself off and do it again.  And laugh.  I laugh a lot.  Sometimes like the joker but never the less Winking smile

Got any anxiety busting tips for me?

What I Do When I Want A Diabetes Break

 

All of us diabetics need a break, sometimes.  Some of us break a piece off a Kit Kat bar (I’m unable to stop after many pieces), some skip insulin (very dangerous and not recommended) and others try to escape by taking afternoon naps (I am not an efficient napper).  I’ve crashed and burned doing all of the above and found a more reliable way (for me) to at least semi-relax from the everlasting marathon that is managing diabetes.

It sounds miserable, but every now and then when I need a diabetes break, I just don’t eat.  This break often coincides with the PMS season of the month.

This is really not as barbaric as it seems.  There are times, the way I take a day off is to eat what I want with little regard to my health.  It’s usually done in binging fashion.  Because I’m an all or nothing person the problem is I overdo it and the next day I’ve got ketones, I’ve had a bad night’s sleep, and I’m unable to be happy or well amongst my family and if you have any idea what taking care of two toddlers of the same age is like while having high blood sugars, then you’ll know how troublesome that truly is.  And how in the end, how not worthwhile it is. 

So, what I do when I want to relax a little is just skip a few meals.  “But, isn’t that unhealthy?”  It’s no more unhealthy than letting blood sugars out of range.  I’m not going to starve.  I’ve got a few extra pounds to ensure that.  I try to start the day off with some protein and fat (examples are almonds, chicken, egg) and some vegetable juice (read: no tomato) consisting of vegetables and herbs such as celery, fennel, spinach, lettuce, collard greens, parsley so I don’t go without some nutrition.  But, later in the day, I’ll just have coffee and water.  My Lantus is set at the right dose for me where If I don’t eat, my blood sugars will stay pretty stable all day.  My stomach being so empty throughout the day will let my blood sugars drop ever so slightly-just enough to allow me some to snack on cheese, or have fresh squeezed lemon or orange in my water, or cream in my coffee.  If I get low, I have some juice.

I only skip one or two meals at a time.  I don’t go 24 hours without food.  I’m not suggesting this to you, either.  Some people feel hunger every two hours.  Some people rebound after skipping a meal and eat a meal that is the equivalent of two.  But I feel hunger every six hours.  So it works for me for that reason but also because I don’t feel inclined to do it too often.  Doing it too often would be a problem.

On these breaks I see almost perfect blood sugars (which do me wonders, psychologically) and I love that I don’t have to mess around with giving insulin (unless needed, of course) or counting carbs or planning meals or dealing with post meal blood sugars.  At the end of the day, I feel like I got a much needed break.  And when I think I’m hardcore for skipping a meal or two, I wake up by remembering much of the world’s people eat one or two meals a day, max.  Like, every day of every year. So when I do go back to my three meal a day plus snacks routine, I think about how good I’ve got it, despite having to inject life-saving insulin. 

Basically a “break” is what works to give you some kind of benefit, be it mental or physical and doesn’t risk your health.  Any other “break” ideas?

Diabetes and Parenting, Anxiety in the Making

 

We know what can make a person anxious.  An unfamiliar social setting, an upcoming doctor visit, a college graduation resulting in a fear of the unknown, being the first to say the words, “I love you”.  Anxiety is a normal thing in life.  What’s not normal is feeling too much anxiety.

Having diabetes may mean fighting a constant thread of anxiety 100% of the time.  Having children, I’ve learned, produces more anxiety than I could have ever imagined.  Many of us find it can be worrisome to spend all day alone as a diabetic.  Never mind spending all day alone with diabetes and two little ones to look after. 

My mother stopped by the other day around lunchtime and worried when I didn’t answer the incessant door knocking and phone rings.  She finally got management to open up my apartment door.  Turns out the kids and I were sound asleep at nap time (I don’t normally nap).  It made me realize however, the anxiety for her as a parent, doesn’t go away just because I’m 27.

When you combine diabetes and children, such as in the case of my parents, who raised two kids with type 1 diabetes (plus three others), or in my case, a type 1 diabetic raising two children, you get…ANXIETY!  Before my day has hardly begun, I’m already feeling a little wigged out.

For example, when I wake up in the morning there is this feeling of urgency to get out the meter and (fingers crossed!) hope for a good number.  If I’m low, I “run, run, run” to the kitchen for some juice because “I’m alone with the kids and they depend on me”.  If I’m high, “oh no, how am I gonna deal with this and the kids this morning?” is what goes through my head.  Let’s say my blood sugar is good and I know that in 10 minutes I’m going to make breakfast for everyone.  I give insulin and wash up.  Next, I change the kid’s diapers (a major challenge nowadays), their clothes (yet, another struggle), give them a bottle, clean up the couch (they like to pour milk on it), and make their breakfast.  I think, “When did I give insulin? Ah yes, 10 minutes ago.  Ok, so in about 5 minutes I have to be eating something”.  I put the kids in their high chairs and give them their meal.  I’m about to take a bite when, “No! Please don’t take your brother’s food!  And please sit down! Thank you!”  I’m about to try that bite again but, “No throwing food on the floor guys!  Eat your food, please.”  I walk over to pick up the food on the floor and get the kids to sit properly.  Then, “Uh oh, I think I’m getting low”.  I guzzle some juice, forgetting about breakfast, entirely.  My heart races.  Back to the kids, “No no, don’t run your dirty fingers through your hair, please!”  I pick up the kids, take them to the sink to get their hands and faces washed up.  Man they’re heavy when I’m a little low.  I struggle to get them out of the bathroom because they love to flush the toilet and always try to lean into the tub.  I stumble back to the kitchen and finish my juice only to see the kids jumping on the couch.  I run over to prevent the little monkeys from falling.  They don’t want down.  I say, “Ok, let’s read some books!”  We read “Goodnight Moon” 20 times.  “Uh oh, I feel low again.  Run back to the kitchen and grab some juice.  Mental note: “Sysy, just don’t give insulin tomorrow morning, just don’t eat, it’s easier”.  <SIGHHH>  (Now you all see why I’m better off eating lower carbs= less insulin!)

This is just my first hour of the day.  The 10 hours that follow are very similar.  If the mix of parenting and diabetes doesn’t cause a person anxiety, I don’t know what does. 

God Bless you if you live with some combination of diabetes and parenting. :)

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