My Love/Hate Relationship

Tonight I realized how much my diabetes won’t let me relax.  It was a moment; an epiphany, if you will.

I have always known that I am constantly consumed by the “what’s going on with the diabetes” conversation in my head. I hate that I can’t take a break from it. But tonight, I really realized deep down how it truly won’t let me relax.

I was at a restorative yoga class. I have recently taken up yoga as a means to help me relax, find some clam, and gain some flexibility back into my life. I’m enjoying it, I really am, but that’s another story.

See the whole purpose of the class tonight was to relax, to let go, to calm down and just…be. I followed the diabetic rules. I should have been fine. I checked before I started the class, and the Blood Glucose (BG) was normal. Excellent. I got into my first pose, started to relax……. BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ…LOW PREDICTED flashing on the pump. I cancelled, snuck some Dex into my mouth, and resumed. Just floating off to a lovely place…….BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ…LOW PREDICTED. This continued for about 45 minutes. Every time I got to a lovely place, I was jolted back to my reality. It was like my diabetes was yelling at me, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING RELAXING???? THINK OF ME!!” When it wasn’t telling me that death was imminent, it was reminding me to test or calibrate or sing a fracking Broadway tune.

There’s nothing much I can do about this disease. After 36 years, I should be used to it. But I’m not. I still hate it. I love that I have the pump and my CGM, but I hate my pump and my CGM. I hate the glucometer, but am so thankful that I have it and that my supplies are covered. I am so thankful for the bottles of insulin in my fridge and on my desk, but I am so sick of finding test strips bloody everywhere and medical detritus hidden in the nooks and crannies of my house. I love that I am able to control this disease for the most part, but I hate that I have it.

I hate that it is not cured.

Things

Things have changed. I have avoided this space for a long time because, for reasons that are hard to explain, I just have. I do talk about these changes with people during coffees, lunches, and texts, but putting these things into writing has been a challenge. They are rattling around in my brain and getting louder, like they want to come out and play with the world, but I am just not sure I am ready yet.

There has been a lot of tears. A lot. Some rage at the universe, at my disease, at my immune system for it’s seemingly constant need to try and kill me. But I’ve been told by professionals that it is not out to kill me. I’m waiting to reserve judgement on that one.

My therapist is encouraging me to write. To get these negative thoughts out in the open where they can be banished and destroyed, to rework these twisted beliefs I have about who I am and who I need to be to get approval and love. (Whoa, go back in there thought) I want to try, but nothing flows like it used to. My thoughts sometimes seem so jumbled and so very negative, that I am trying to unwind them and pull them out in a nice way.

I just want you to know that I’m still here. I’m still working on it. Maybe next time, I’ll start with the surface stuff.

It’s Been A Long Time

It’s been quite some time. Things haven’t been bad, exactly, and they haven’t been supremely awesome. Things are okay. Well, mostly okay. Work continues on, the house still needs a good going through to get rid of clutter, and I continue to put one foot in front of the other.

Some things have changed though and these things /events are my reason to return. A couple of months after my last post here (WAY back in May 2016), I had my first panic attack. I thought it was a heart attack. I went to the ER and got tested. I thought I was going to die. Turns out, my body had sending me signal after signal to slow down and take some time. I didn’t listen. I thought I was doing better, but when I went back to work in September, I felt off balanced, dizzy, like the world was travelling at a different speed than I was. I went and got tests done, but there was nothing wrong with me. Then I broke down crying at my massage therapists office. I cried on the shoulder of my ELL teacher. I cried to my friends. I finally realized that things I had tucked away to avoid dealing with, were slowly coming out and turning me into a puddle of worry.

My worry though, isn’t just everyday worry. It is anxiety; Medical anxiety, apparently. I’ve had 35, almost 36, years of doctors telling me that if I eat wrong, drink wrong, dose insulin wrong, don’t exercise, don’t take care of myself, I WILL DIE. Now many of these things are probably true when done to excess, but I don’t do them to excess. And when one has heard this since they were 7 years old, it takes a toll on an already worried mind. See, if I go out for dinner tonight and have a glass of red wine, I starting thinking, “OMG, I shouldn’t have had that. It’ll kill me. Oh god. My left shoulder hurts, Am I having a heart attack? Was that wine the straw that kills me?” I know. It’s a bit extreme, but I have heard this MY WHOLE LIFE. I have developed a fear of death so big, that I think I am worrying myself to death. Add to that, well meaning friends and family who make innocent (and not so innocent) comments. “How can you eat sushi?” or “Won’t having that drink  kill you?” or “If you don’t take better care of yourself, you will die young”or  “My aunt had diabetes and she died after she lost her feet and her eyesight” and my favourite one “You are such a bad diabetic!”. I want to say that I was strong and sassy in my head and yelled “SHUT UP” to that last one, but I didn’t. I internalized each and every statement and allowed it to eat away at me. Seriously, I have had doctors give me advice and then realize that I am a TYPE 1, not Type 2, and that their advice would kill me.

So after crying and crying and realizing I was actually killing myself with worry, I took a deep breath and asked for help. I’m seeing a counsellor or therapist or someone who is trying to give me ideas on dealing with my anxiety. The first visit was “meh” and I was not impressed. But I went back. I realized I had to really give this a chance. So I went back. It was better. I’m still an anxious mess when it comes to my health, but I’m taking steps. I’ve created a “Wellness” group on FB to help support me as I search for emotional, mental and physical health. I’m making a sticker chart to help me realize all the stuff I do actually do to keep my diabetes at a 7.5 A1C with no kidney disease (although I do have proliferative retinopathy now). I’m looking for some books she suggested I read about facing death, and considering some of her other suggestions to face the fear I have of dying. I’m reorganizing the kitchen and trying to cook more (once the reorganization is done) and to eliminate the foods that I know bother me (bye bye gluten and dairy). I even purchased a new Fitbit, planning calendar, and Jamie Oliver cookbook. And, I am going to make an effort to write daily. Maybe not always here, maybe it’ll be in my journal, maybe it’ll be on my school site. But I need to write it out. I need to vomit my feelings and worries somewhere so that they are out of my head.

There you go. Done for today.

road-to-wellness

A Good Day

I haven’t felt much like blogging lately. I think I wearied of the medium while finishing course work, but today was a good day.
Today marked 5 months since I had my incident at Christmas in Las Vegas. I still feel a wheelbarrow load of anger and guilt over that trip and what occured, and I am still dealing with insurance and payment for the many bills (Seriously, America, you have a bat crap crazy billing system), but that’s for a different blog post. Like I said, today was a good day.
For 5 months, I have been worrying that I royally screwed up, diabetic-wise. I had people who should have been comforting and supporting me tell me that I caused this problem with a lack of diabetic control. I’ve been told by people that I need to get a grip on my reality, and that I need to stop all of my committees and meetings to focus on me. I’ve felt the judgement when I show up to meet these folks with a Starbucks in hand or A&W wrappers in the car (Chicken Buddy Burger=awesome quick lunch once in a while). I have felt like a “bad” diabetic every time I look in the mirror and see the weight I’ve put back on; have felt panic attacks with each blood sugar reading over 10. I hear the recording of “you are killing yourself” each time my sugars go up. 
But today? Today was a good day.
I saw my retinal doctor (after 2 A1C results of 7.9 and 7.8) for my 3 month check in after a crap load of laser surgery to deal with the proliferative retinopathy. Guess what he said? NO new leaks. I talked to him about my panics over one day of high sugars, and he told me that as long as it isn’t weeks of highs, I’m okay. I told him about the panic I have every sunny day when I think I see a new black spot, and he reassured me, again, that the vessels look good, that my sight is good, and that the eye pressure is good. 
So, today was a good day. I got a frappucino. I bolussed correctly and had sugars under 10 for the evening, and I had another reminder that I AM a “good” diabetic. I have eye issues, yes, but I have healthy kidneys, kick ass cholesterol and good bllod pressure readings. I can remind my naysayers of this till I am out of breath, but today, a medical professional confirmed that I know what I am doing. I needed that. I’m back on six month check ups now, and I am looking forward to uploading my sensor data. I think it’ll reflect someone who actually can handle her disease. It still hurts when the people who are supposed to champion me make me feel guilt, but I will continue to look for help with that. 
Today was a good day.

Here I Go Again…

The past few months have been a roller coaster. 

I finished the Masters degree. I went to Las Vegas. I ended up in a Vegas hospital on Christmas Eve due to some problems in my eye, which they thought was a stroke. It turns out it wasn’t a stroke. I came home early from Vegas to see doctors in the land of free healthcare, and I am still angry about my trip beig ruined. I am trying to let that go, but I struggle. I am still in the process of figuring out one of the issues I was hospitalized for.  I have had several eye procedures done to correct the proliferative retinopathy

I went back to work full time. I facilitated a day on the new curriculum. I am slowly moiving stuff back into my classroom. My students are finally starting to fell like “my” students. I participated in a health and wellness day which opened my eyes to issues I need to resolve. I am figuring that out. 

As a part of this commitment to myself, I am restarting the Whole 30 tomorrow. I am nervous as stink about it. Last time I did this, I was succesful, but I was on leave. This time I am at work full time and I am scared that I will slip into my bad habits. I have gone back to so many of the bad habits I tried to break last time. I allowed my emotions to guide my eating and I am terrified that I will allow that happen again. 

So I bought a puzzle. I have cleared off the piano bench. Please do not suggest walking to me, not yet. I’m not ready for that as a stress relief. After putting in 10,000 steps a day in my Kindergarten class, I am often too tired to go for a walk at the end of the day. So I thought I would try doing a puzzle, and maybe learning a Mozart piece. At the very least, the Hanon book of finger exercises is sure to relieve some stress. I am considering a “restorative” yoga class twice a week.  

I’ll be documenting my journey again, but this time, I will not stop writing at the end of it. I realize I am onlyu doing 20 days of Whole 30 before I go away at Spring Break, but I will begin again when I get home. So, here I go again. I can do this. 

Sniffles

I have been struck down by the cold. Two days of sore throat, achy body and stuffy nose have turned into the glorious cold that marks the beginning of cold and flu season. Alas, it has arrived.

I feel like I was in denial with the nice weather we had. I wanted to hold onto summer for as long as I could, but suddenly, the nights grew colder, and I had to take out the warm socks and pajamas. Interestingly (and I really don’t know if there is a connection here) when I started eating “bad” foods again, I suddenly got a cold. My immune system is pretty fragile anyway, so I shouldn’t be surprised that the cold hit. Thankfully, I was able to sleep the first day, and that always helps me to kick the virus. Sleep really does work for me.

I got on the scale for the first time in a week, and I have reached a 15 lb weight loss. I am pretty happy with that. I’m hoping it’s not just from the day of soup and frozen berry eating. I prefer to believe that going back to my new dietary habits has had an effect. However, I am not going 100% Whole 30 right now. I have added honey back into my life for the duration of the cold. I like it in my ginger tea, and as I’m trying turmeric in my tea as well, I feel like honey will get me used to the taste. My little sister swears by turmeric for cold help. I’m also allowing myself 10g of dark chocolate every couple of days. I enjoy that little burst of sweet at the end of dinner, and I measure it out. If I get to a point where I crave the bar, I will have to cut myself off. The chocolate is 80% dark, and the sugar is pretty small. I love the bitterness of dark chocolate.

I can’t believe Halloween is almost here. Where has my time off gone? Enjoy your week. I’ll check back in later.

Needed: Inspiration

I finished my first Whole 30 almost a week ago, and had an opportunity to look at my actions over the past few days. I haven’t been a horrible consumer of food, but I certainly haven’t been at my best either. I started to reintroduce, on Thursday, with a corner of chocolate from these bars called Nakid and I thought I managed pretty well with a small amount. I made sure to savor it and not just gulp it down.  Friday was harder. I went into a friend’s workplace for the day to work on university stuff, and there was pizza and cake there. I brought a piece of my frittata and an avocado for brunch but ended up staying there longer than I had intended, and snacked on a small piece of cake.  I was starting down a slippery slope. Saturday, I lost it. I downed a slated nut roll and finished the chocolate bar (there was half left). It was as if the emotional eating came back with a fiery vengeance. Sunday and Monday were Thanksgiving meals, and let’s just say the door was open to eating all the foods that bothered me, and I walked right in.

I really thought I would be okay after the Whole 30 was done and that I wouldn’t want to eat everything, but it’s like my brain screamed at me “You Did It! Now EAT EVERYTHING!!” I felt horrible after eating all that stuff, but knowing that didn’t stop me from having just one more glass of wine. I slipped right back into my old habits of sleeping in (most likely from the food hangover) and laying on the couch (also attributing that to food hangover). I haven’t been back on the bike, and haven’t reached 10,000 steps in over a week. It shocks me how  I am letting food rule my life again, and how quickly I succumbed.

I haven’t given up though. I just need to rethink my “Whole 30” attitude into a “Whole Life” attitude. One of my jobs this weekend is to look through the kitchen cupboards and throw out or donate stuff that I know I can’t handle. The past 6 days have shown me that I can’t handle it. I am back to taking a 15 minute break every 2 hours at the desk to get some walking in. I know that I will not eat 100% “Whole Life” when I go away to Rep Assembly or on holidays, but I also know that the day I come back from one of these trips, is the day I go back to eating for my life 100%. I can’t let the food war with my head anymore.

I also received the best inspiration today in the form of a phone call from my endocrinologist. He wanted to check in on my lab results. My thyroid test was great and I don’t have to up my medications at all. He wanted to know how I got my A1C to 7.2. He was away when I started the Whole 30 and although I left him a message, he never really check in with me. I told him that I had cut out processed sugar and dairy. He wanted to know about my lows and I was honest with him about my morning lows, and that I was cutting the basal rate back. We chatted about exercise and he said I was doing all the right things to monitor and adjust. I felt incredibly proud of myself, and it may have been the kick in the butt I needed. It was a needed reminder that I did do a great job, and that I need to continue. I may need to read this post again several times when I want to reach for a candy bar or a slice of cake. Life. Not food.