An interesting visit, one I needed....how about you?

I talked with a lady by chance before the holidays. I’ve never met her before, but she is a CDE in Canada, and was here visiting relatives. She happened to see my bracelet (medi-alert) in the coffee shop and sat down to talk. Very pleasant, very nice conversation…actually. We talked about how hard the holidays were on diabetics and parties, and families, and what priorities, limits do you set for yourself and others. I’ve been struggling with the “I hate this diabetic stuff for about a month, and I don’t care anymore” and shared that with her. She had an interesting take on it, and thought I’d share it with you, and with me, so that if and when this mood strikes me again, I can look back on it.

She said, that EVERYONE goes through the "I don’t care’ stage every once in awhile. You can be an alcoholic and not drink, a drug user and not use, but with diabetes, you have to eat, and it does you no good, and let’s face it, it can be a 24/7 ordeal. But she didn’t use the word ordeal, she said it’s like having a child that has a disability, you have to take care of it 24/7 and there are no helpers around to give you a hand. There is no respite, except not to care. Which can cause you and your disabled child problems. So what she does is she gets a respite care person for herself (and her patients)
she gathers tools that will help her to do what needs to be done, and then doesn’t feel guilty about it. She assembles a weeks worth of meals that are diabetic friendly, yet a little different than what she has been eating, and freezes them. I guess there are sites you can order specialty foods for people with diabetes, hmmmm, or you can make them yourself.
She also assembles a care package of treats that might include one or two things that normally she wouldn’t eat at all…maybe a small snicker’s bar, a couple of real cookies…she puts them in plastic bags, marks them with a day of the week, and then puts those in the freezer also. She has a special picnic basket that she puts some magazines that she hasn’t read yet, a book that she’s been meaning to read, a movie, some other special items that she’s been meaning to give herself. She schedules with a friend time to have a meal or coffee with; at the beginning of her week, and then she schedules a massage or a beauty treatment for herself for the end. These are all things that make her feel good, and make her feel what she says not the “person with diabetes”. Yes, she could do all of these things all the times, but she makes these times special for herself. Oh, and being a type II and on meds, she sets her cellphone or watch to buzz for a meter check, and med time…and then doesn’t do it any other time during the day. She is taking care of herself, physically, mentally, and emotionally all week. She is giving herself a respite from her diabetes, all the while taking care of herself.
She’s not fooling anyone, not even herself, but it’s not as demanding as her normal routine of taking care. Instead of the high intensity exercise she normally does, she takes long walks and enjoys the exercise. She told me her numbers maybe a little higher, no more than 10 points, but she and her doc, have figured that this helps her be better to herself and to her patients.

I found it interesting, and plan on adapting some of it to meet my needs and desires.

Please, share any of your “tricks” or changes that help you feel better when you just can’t be diabetic one more minute.

Merry seasons,
Cathy J

Hi Cathy J, The change that has helped me feel better when I just can’t be diabetic one more minute is I’ve connected with some local people with diabetes. These are people that I met through functions organized by my endo’s office. We exchanged phone numbers and reach out to each other with questions and concerns. So someone who knows what I’m going through is just a telephone call away. My family, neighbors and friends are very supportive but I realize how different it was all those months I didn’t know anyone else with diabetes. Today I appreciate the understanding we all share being in this fellowship.

As we find here there is strength and support in numbers. We have a Diabetic Support Group here in town, it is run by the hospital. But they are all older people, first, not real active, filled with false ideas, and then all they talk about is meters and other maladies. It’s very sad. But I have friends who are diabetic, and we meet for coffee about other things, and of course the subject turns to diabetes eventually. We are very proactive about our “D”…and share things that we have learned here, and elsewhere. It’s veryhelpful.

When I met this woman, I was in the midst of a hissy fit about diabetes to begin with. I needed to step back and take a look at what I was doing, what “it” was doing to me, and how I could change things. There is strength in numbers, support from people who care.

Very good outlook and attitude, Bob. It could be worse…I often say that about my arthritis too. Although it hurts like H"H it could be worse…we just have to keep a good outlook and work as we can on keeping our health.

We all need a respite every once in awhile. I don’t have many ways to take a “vacation” from this cycle and I need more so I’m looking forward to this discussion.

In college we had what we called mental health days. Once a group of us got permission and a lot of crate paper and construction paper and decorated the wall in one of the buildings outside the dean’s office. We glued and pasted and cut and laughed and made a real mess but also a great, joyful wall. I guess I need a mental health day once in awhile.

I guess you can count one thing I do. I tap into a strange resource == ok, who else is always on a diet? answer, teenage girls. So I invite some of my 7th grade students for a lunchtime “tea party” every once in awhile. Everyone packs food like ants on a log (yeah, I was a girl scout) and salad and granola – whatever their secret diet food of the week is. They come to my classroom and we giggle and eat and talk about thin thighs and other important stuff. They love it and it is a mental health day for me. Does that count?

I just don’t have much of a support network. (God, look at me tapping into teenage girls!) I need to build one. Our hospital has all sorts of services but I haven’t taken the time to tap into the free programming. Maybe that can be my New Year’s resolution. I guess I don’t consider myself depressed but boy we all have some bad weeks, don’t we?

I had a friend who offered her house as respite to parents with disabled kids and your story really made me think. How can I find that for myself and my situation. Thank you for making me think.

Ohhhhhhhh Cathy J I loved this post!! Some great ideas and I loved her comment “There is no respite, except not to care.” Very well said!!

There are two things I can think of that I do. I’m T1 on a pump and D is my “white noise”…it is constantly playing in my mind. I don’t dwell on it but I do filter all decisions and many thoughts through it.

There are times when the numbers aren’t good despite the positive things I am doing. I get very intent and try to analyze the situation, try to figure out the cause and effect, etc. I view it with my face smashed up against the store front window. It is very frustrating. I have learned to simply step back a few steps.

It is hard to explain…I don’t ignore it, I continue to do the good behaviors, etc…I just don’t look at it so closely. I put a little bit of distance between me and the situation. I’m not sure how it works but it seems to calm down and the numbers even out a little once I do this. (Murphey’s Law???)

The other thing I started as a respite to my husband. Diabetes occupies a lot of my head space and during our normal conversations I’ll verbalize diabetes management techniques or rehash a few diabetes highlights of the day. One day I wondered if he ever got tired of hearing the “diabetes tango” so I decided to not discuss it with him for two days.

It was awesome!! It was actually a respite for me as well. .

What great ideas we get our support from wherever we can, even teen age girls. But you are right it would be better to get that support from people who are also living with the “D”. As far as diet, I am not on a diet…that implies that I am depriving myself of somethings, and I don’t. I just manage them in a different way than others do. If I want a piece of chocolate, I will have it, but then I have to determine a way to make up for it, usually exercise. Do check into the hospital this week and see what you can tap into.

Brenda, I have the same problem , sharing it with my dh far too often, far too much. So I have tried writing it, journaling my feelings and seeing if that helps me sort them out better than boring him with it all the time. And then there are my friends in group…who would see the humor of the thoughts, or the seriousness of what i am doing. I love the idea of stepping back and just not needing to look at everything so seriously. Yes this is serious, but at least there are things we can do for ourselves, that others with other dieseases, can’t do for themselves. All very good ideas. Keep them coming!