In Which We Talk About Consistency
Establishing a diabetes routine takes more than just planning.
By Kathryn Foss
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!
October 2008 — Ugh, consistency in my diabetes routine - my arch nemesis. If you want dedication and focus short term, I am your gal. However, if long-term results are what you are looking for, I think it's best for both us if you keep looking. Now, I'm not saying I'm flaky, because I'm not, but the further I get from beginning something new, the less shiny and exciting it becomes. You can forget New Year's resolutions with me! Ditto that with diet and exercise plans. This is especially true when it comes to big projects. I like to start and finish something in the same day. I do best when I can see both the beginning and the end, but as we know, most responsibilities in life don't offer themselves in neat little packages. So, I adapt. I always meet my deadlines and fulfill commitments with work and friends; however, inconsistency rears its ugly head in my personal life. And as we have talked about before, diabetes is one disease where inconsistency can be debilitating and in worse cases, deadly.
I find it incredibly frustrating. Last month I wrote about how, in an effort to gain the upper hand in the blood sugar wars, I had increased my amount of testing. I was doing great and my A1C, at 5.9, was the lowest it has been since I was diagnosed. I had a diabetes routine and I had made it part of my lifestyle. It was great and I was seeing positive results. So what happens when an international business trip comes up?
Chaos, my friends. Chaos.
I had to go to the states last week for work. No problem, right? Wrong.
Was the problem preparation? No! I did everything right! I packed my meter, my strips, my journal, a box of extra strips, my oral medication, and low carb snacks.
But, in the end, I don't know what happened. I just couldn't get it together.
Let's try to break it down and see where things went wrong.
Testing. It was inconvenient to test on the airplane, my kit was in the overhead compartment and I was really just too lazy to get up and dig through my carry on to find it. Plus, I hate the sidelong glances I get from other travelers when I go through the whole testing routine. Honestly, I could have gone to the bathroom and done it. Once I arrived at my destination, I just couldn't get a grip on my diabetes routine again. I would forget to test in the morning and after meals, or I would remember when it was simply too late to test for fasting glucose, like two hours after I woke up, and for my after meal numbers, like three hours after I had eaten.
Inconsistency 1. Kathryn 0.
Exercise. Oops. I said above that I had good preparation. Clearly I spaced out on this one because there was no trace of running shoes and nary a sports bra in my bag. This hotel had a gym and an Olympic sized swimming pool. Total waste.
Inconsistency 2, Kathryn 0.
Diet. Here is where I am most disappointed in myself. Going to America is always a culinary challenge for me. There are so many things available there that I simply cannot get here in Norway, that I tend to be overindulgent. I promised myself that this time, I would exercise moderation. Again, it simply didn't happen. Be it at the buffet at breakfast, ordering off the menu at lunch or the one night we went to The Cheesecake Factory. I did discover that The Cheesecake Factory has a low carb cheesecake on the menu and I did order that, however, by that point, my blood sugar was so jacked up from the taquitos that my effort at discipline was a bit laughable.
Inconsistency 3, Kathryn 0.
So what is the moral of this sad tale? If one is to be found, I suppose it would be, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again." Now that I am back home, I have slipped effortlessly back into my established diabetes routine, testing, and eating well. (Yea, I know I didn't mention the gym there!) Will my one week of debauchery set me back too far? I doubt it, but I long for the day when I am consistent at ALL times with this disease, for the day where I don't forget something as simple as testing my fasting bloodsugar. It's a process and one that is formed out of discipline and consistency.
I just wish it was a process that could happen in ONE day!
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.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...