Reminded that, even with support, diabetes management is our responsibility.
By Deanna Glick
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
February 2009 — It seems most moms relish rare time alone. I'm no different. Even though I'm an extremely social person, I crave time to clear my head, quiet my mind, think without interruption, calm my nerves, get something done. I am a person who loves to finish things. And yet, I don't think I've finished a book, project or thought that isn't work-related since my daughter was born. Yes, precious and few are the moments we don't share.
There are times, however, when being alone isn't so good. When life is tough – and when is it not? – our friends and family remind us that we're not alone. When we are sick, we have doctors and nurses. We are not alone. When you have diabetes, you have more than that. You have web sites and forums and books and magazines and health care teams and, if you're lucky, friends and family, all reminding you that you are not alone.
I've written before about the support showered upon me by my husband and neighbors, who have stepped in and more than filled voids left when we moved from our native California three years ago where our families still live. My neighbors have become my friends and my salvation. They are there to free up space in my schedule and in my brain to accomplish necessary tasks or empathy toward that end. They pick up where I left off amid a game with my daughter or pushing her on a swing when my blood sugar plummets. I have never been alone when it comes to taking care of myself.
And yet, I am.
My endo reminded me of this a couple of weeks ago. No one can test my blood sugar for me. No one can compile a food diary or analyze the day's blood sugars as they relate to my trips to the park or sharing a cookie with my little girl. No one besides me is going to measure my morning cereal or calculate the carbs in my oatmeal. No one is going to change my pump site or fill my insulin cartridges. No one besides me is going to know when I need a blood sugar boost. No one is going to order my prescriptions and supplies. My disease is mine, and mine alone. To live with and take care of. To experience and to loathe. To accept and to comprehend.
How I manage all of it is up to me. And this requires a lot of brain power. I realize that when folks remind us that we're not alone, they don't mean they can shoulder our burdens or our disease, but they can free us up to do it on our own my taking on the extraneous. Or the things that they can do, whether that involves cooking, cleaning, yard work, child care or some combination of everything. And we need to let them do it. For me, there is no other way I'm going to find those five minutes at the end of every day my doctor says will allow me to more effectively manage my diabetes.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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I'm sitting waiting for a table at the cafe' for me and a friend who is running a bit late. Feeling a little off, I grab my test kit and poke my finger, getting a little blood droplet. "Does that hurt?" Asks the man sitting next to me. He's an older guy, with some pretty profound ear hair. I note the ear hair as I say "Sort of... I think I'm kind of used to it now. I've been doing it a long time." My sugar is a little elevated...