Tag Archives: managing diabetes

Denial

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We’re so good at it.  All of us.  Or most of us, anyway.

I just read an article in Oprah’s magazine about a woman who has worked as a teacher and a life coach.  She mentioned that she witnessed art students being instructed to draw straight lines and circles for the longest time.  And even though they felt frustrated about such a beginner task, she noticed they rarely saw the imperfection of their circles and straight lines.

Now that she works as a life coach, she helps clients accept the flaws in their life.

I was reminded how denial is our way of procrastinating on the fear and discomfort and shame we feel when we confront the truth about ourselves and our situations in life.

The thing is, those unpleasant feelings dissipate really quickly once we see truth, accept it, and act on it.

The most healing thing I’ve ever experienced is acting on the truth.  Only, the first thing to do before acting on truth is realizing it and accepting it.  Doing that made the right actions possible in the first place.

And the right actions bring the right results.

I have always noticed how people will genuinely believe in a false truth and will act on that and then wonder why they aren’t getting the results or outcome they want.  And the trust is we can put 110% of effort into the wrong actions and get nowhere.  This feels unfair but it’s just the way the world works.

It’s absolutely crucial to be brutally honest with ourselves about why we’ve gained weight, about why we’re lonely, about why we are financially tight, and about why our blood sugars aren’t where we want them.

Only then can we take the correct steps towards improving our situation.  And only then do we experienced the sense of peace that brings a full acceptance of our reality.  Our reality really isn’t that bad when we look at it.  It’s more the thought of it that’s scary.

Look at an area of your life you want to improve and sit by yourself for a few minutes.  Be really honest with yourself about why things are the way they are.  Cry, scream, let out your feelings.  And then meet them with a plan that’s full of clarity and hope.  Be really specific about your plan and layout steps for the next month, week, and day.  You’ll feel better when you’ve done this, I promise.

This is something I help clients with in my health coaching.  Because sometimes we just need some support.  Nothing wrong with that.

Whatever You Think About You Attract

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I’ve written along this subject line before but wanted to do it again because it’s so powerful.  So again, “whatever you think about you attract”.  Does that make sense?  Math is a weakness of mine and so I can fully respect that for some people abstract thinking is not a strong point.  To understand that statement, one needs to think a little deeply for a moment.  This has nothing to do with intelligence because we all have preferences in the way we think about things.

I just wanted to make sure I didn’t poke or sting anyone’s feelings.

Now, let’s get into the meaning of this statement, for those who are interested.  Basically, our thoughts are powerful.  They influence our feelings.  We act very heavily upon our feelings and so our thoughts influence our actions.

Let’s say someone is having some cash flow issues and they hear that “whatever you think about you attract” bit.  They might spend much of the day thinking about how they don’t want to be broke or how they don’t want to have a money problem anymore.  Interestingly though, because these thoughts imply the mind is focusing on being broke and that there IS a money problem, one’s feelings can’t help but be affected negatively because the focus is still ON the problem.  And our feelings are so majorly influential that we will struggle to withhold our negative feelings from leading to negative actions.  For example, how many of us have quit a workout or diet goal because something in our life made us upset and we justified quitting because of said upsetting thing?  It happens all the time.

Feelings are important.  That’s why it’s recommended that people learn to manage stress.  Being emotionally upset messes up the equilibrium in the body.  It shoves you right out of your groove.

So what should a broke person do?  First of all, logic is not thrown out the window.  A person should absolutely make good decisions about how they are spending their money if their money is tight.  Now that’s out of the way, this person could keep positive thoughts in his head and think about what he does have.  Focusing on being grateful for the things he does have will give his body some positive feelings which will combat any negative ones and help support this person to have the strength required for the right decisions.  Relentlessly making the right decisions carries a person to their goal much faster than if they are so weighed down by being upset and depressed that half of their decisions do not lead to their ultimate goal.  Something is always going well in our lives, so that needs to be drawn out and made a top thought priority.

If you struggle thinking of something that’s going well, pick a body part of yours that works and be thankful it’s there and serving you.  Imagine what you’d do without it.  Yikes, right?

So there.  “Whatever you think about you attract” isn’t magic, it’s real.  It’s much like karma, which is also not magic.  People all over the world find their own way to describe things that don’t have a name and so the “law of attraction” and “karma” are just that.

I encourage you to try this in your life in some way or other.  Try it with your self esteem, your diabetes, your financial situation, your relationships, etc.  Just try it.

It’s completely changed my life for the better.  I mean it.  And I want awesome things for all of you.  You deserve it.  If you want some support with this and other health issues consider checking out my website, sysymorales.com.

Do share your thoughts in the comments!  I really appreciate the feedback.

One For Every Year

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My most memorable thoughts about diabetes for each year with diabetes, starting with the first year as an 11 year old:

1994  “I can do this.  No, I won’t go to diabetes camp, I’m just like everyone else, I’ll go to regular camp.”  “Ok, regular camp was fun but I thought I was going to die”.

1995  “Alright, I don’t like this at all.  I’m not sure I can do this.”

1996  “I can’t do this!  But I don’t want anyone to know…”  “I just want to be normal”.

1997  “Recovering from a gum grafting surgery.  So this is what happens when I try to be normal.  Not fair.”

1998  “I wonder what boys think about my diabetes?”

1999  “I hate diabetes.”

2000  “Feeling out of control.  Help!”

2001  “The way things are going, I might as well give up.”

2002  “I can’t do college while panicking like this.  I can’t even pick up a pencil.”

2003  “Can I turn my life around?  Is it possible?  I can’t live like this anymore.”

2004  “Ooooh…alcohol…what a nice way to forget my problems!”

2005  “Alcohol is useless.  Trying to do better.  Trying to do better.  Trying to do better.”

2006  “Eat this not that.  Do this not that.  Change is hard.  Super hard.”

2007  “Wow, I’m doing better…Just keep going.”

2008  “A1c is down.  Weight is down.  I can run a 5k every day.  Getting married this year.  Happiness is totally up.  I can’t believe this is my life now.”

2009  “TWINS!  Must. Have. Sleep.”

2010 “We’re not poor, we’re just struggling. (Can I borrow a $5 for groceries?)”

2011 “Hello DOC!”

2012  “I can do this!  Wait a minute…I am doing this.”

Life ebbs and flows.  When you’re on the up, enjoy it and take steps to safeguard your future.  When you’re down, know that you will be back up again.  Just don’t give up hope.  Giving up hope prolongs the process between going from down to up and we don’t want that.  Don’t give up hope.

Logging for Rebels (Guest post)

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Please go to Chris Scully’s wonderful diabetes blog here and check out my guest post for her.  It’s about my lazy way of tracking my glucose trends in order to make the right adjustments.  Let me know what you think!  Suggestions are welcome!

Happy Wednesday to you.

Wednesday Revisit: The Biggest Threat to your Diabetes Control

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This post outlines the toughest thing I’ve ever dealt with aside from the diabetes itself.  I know I’m not alone and I am happy to report I’ve discovered that it’s possible to treat this and feel better.  I’m talking about depression and I’m sure I’m not alone in my experience…

Originally posted on October 12, 2009

The Biggest Threat to your Diabetes Control

DSMA June: Troubleshooting Diabetes

 

Photo courtesy of Renjith Krishnan

 

 

The June DSMA Blog Carnival Topic: When it comes to diabetes, sometimes it seems things change more than they stay the same. Every so often, we may start to notice things going a bit out of whack and some new blood sugar patterns emerging. Part of being an informed and educated patient is learning to identify these problems. So this month we’d love to hear:

What are the best resources you have used to help trouble shoot?

I don’t believe in just counting carbs and then reacting to the subsequent highs and lows.

My philosophy

Well…after 16 years of diabetes and lots of note-taking and troubleshooting and learning about how insulin works and what factors can influence insulin resistance, insulin absorption, and blood sugars….I don’t usually get confused about my blood sugars.  I know that sounds like an arrogant lie but I’m being honest.  I mostly get confused about why I couldn’t muster up the motivation or energy to do what I know I needed to do.  The overwhelming majority of my out of range blood sugars are due to my own self-discipline issues-which are impossible to always avoid because, duh, I’m human.  I try not to kick myself when I choose incorrectly, I just move on.  I believe in accepting full responsibility for my actions but showing guilt the door.  Anyway, here is how I have arrived to this point.  I certainly didn’t get to this place quickly or easily.

Low blood sugars

When my blood sugar is low, the first thing I do is to recall the last time I gave an insulin shot and how much I gave.  (I take mental note of the time every time I inject)  If it was within the past two hours then I know this low is going down fast.  Especially if I’m low and my last insulin shot was within the past hour.  So by remembering this insulin info I know whether or not I need more than 15 grams of carbs or not.  I really stay on top of these lows since they tend to feel more dramatic and are more dramatic.  

If my blood sugar is low and I haven’t given insulin in the past two hours I take my 15 grams of carbs and relax, the low shouldn’t be too harsh. 

Usually, when I’m low, I realize it’s because I didn’t eat as much as I thought I might or I forgot to finish something I was drinking which contained carbs.  This morning for example, I woke up low and right away knew that it was because I gave too much lantus (basal insulin) last night and yesterday morning I worked out 30 minutes longer than I normally do.  I had a light dinner and woke up really hungry and of course, low.  I should have known (and usually know) to have a light snack before bed or to give a little less lantus.  Either one usually does the trick for me.

High blood sugars

When my blood sugar is high, the first thing I do is to go through a mental check-list that looks like this:

-Am I PMS-ing?

-Did I give enough insulin last time I ate?

-Have I been abnormally stressed during the past few hours?

-Did I exercise within the past 48 hours?

-Did I snack on anything without giving insulin for it? (Even a bite of something turns into a high hours later)

-This is a TMI but, when was the last time I had a BM? (Believe it or not, going regularly reallyyy helps keep blood sugars regular, too)

-How much lantus did I give last night?

-Do I have any active/on board insulin?  If so, how much?

-Do I possibly have any infections?

-Am I in any pain?/ Does anything hurt? (Because that can do it, too!)

-Did I overeat during my last meal?

-Have I had any processed foods in the past 24 hours? (this makes it impossible for me personally, to avoid highs at some point in the 24 hours following processed food- and I do mean impossible)

-There are probably more but that’s what I tend to go through when I am high.

99% of the time for me, one or more of these reasons is the culprit.  So I don’t usually change my routine or my insulin doses, I just make a mental note for next time and often, I have to work on my discipline.  Lately, when I’m high it’s usually because I make a conscious decision to do something I know I shouldn’t do-or I don’t do something I know I should do.  Either way, the blood sugar is on me, not on some mysterious phenomenon.  But like I said before, and I really want to reiterate, guilt or shame have no place here.  We’re human.

Along with plenty of blood sugar checks, this is how I have avoided many lows under 50 and many highs over 250. 

After having many of the above scenarios play out, I’ve learned to see them coming and therefore prevent them instead of reacting to them when they happen. Reacting to highs and lows is exhausting and doing it for years really wore me out-much more so than using extra discipline or simply sticking to certain habits that guarantee me better chances. 

Taking notes or the journaling trouble shooting method

I really advocate for note-taking.  Not just blood sugars but activity and physical and emotional stuff, too. 

It’s so important to narrow down the cause for out of range blood sugars.  For example, when I’m nervous, I will quickly go from 100 to 300 and then have a hard time going down (and this is without food being involved!).  Lately, I’ve been dealing with more anxiety and will soon get evaluated for that because I know I can’t ignore something that is messing with my blood sugars.  I wouldn’t be so sure this was a problem without my note taking though. 

Sidenote:  This really is a challenging area for parents of children with diabetes for all sorts of obvious reasons.  The troubleshooting on my blood sugars truly got easier for me as an adult (not to mention I often relayed inaccurate info to my parents and hid emotions from them).  So parents, hang in there and never beat yourselves up.  You’re in a super hard, outside position for troubleshooting because you can’t feel what your kid is feeling and they aren’t always going to be able to articulate certain feelings and symptoms.  Please do not be discouraged.  Keep up the amazing work!

Also, I hope no one feels that I’m pushing advice on them.  I am compelled to share this info because it helped me SO much and I wish someone had shared it with me long ago.  So take it or leave it, it’s brought to you with the most sincere of intentions  :)

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