Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Poorly Timed Vacation

I had my big annual bloodwork done at the beginning of December. Thankfully,, the numbers were all ok, and, as usual, I had been fretting about it for weeks before.

This was on a Thursday, and I decided that as a little reward, I would take a short "vacation" from diabetes - Friday through Sunday - three days. There would be no logging, no middle of the night testing, and no carb counting/dose calculating. I would of course continue with my insulin but lower my testing from 7 to 4 imes per day. BAD IDEA.....................

A month has now gone by and I am not back on the wagon yet. In fact, this slacking has taken on a momentum of its own and the longer it continues the more effort it will take to reverse it. I know that. Yet I continue.

I am now down to testing 2 times per day - at 5 am and 10 pm. I have not logged in over a month. This is my most major lapse in over 6 years and I feel terrible about it - shameful that I, as an adult, can't make the proper choices to support my health. Why am I acting like a fool? I blame it on holiday stress (well, sister, the holidays are now over), the greyness of winter, db burnout and a deeply set sense of apathy. And perhaps a "I am mad as hell and not gonna take this anymore" mindset. I am acting out my passive-aggressive anger toward diabetes by not acknowledging it as an overriding force in my body.

Sure, there are cycles to the depth of our self-care and coping. Some days are better than others.

Here is my grandmother tree, just standing patiently through the endless seige of grey and cold, trusting that the days will get longer and soon the tiny green buds will appear, ready to begin a new growing cycle.

But it is not in my best interest to wait, to keep thinking that I'll simply wake up one morning and be ready to resume "the grind", as Chrissie calls it.

I received a calendar for Christmas. This is the January page.

When I put the calendar up on New Year's Day, I thought this was a lovely phrase to focus on for the New Year. Yet, "dwell" also suggests to me a sense of being stuck - apathetic, complacent, unwilling to initiate movement. This isn't gonna work in my situation. Sure, I can recognize the possibility that a) I have successfully taken good care of the db for long periods of time and I can do it again; b) there is help available to me if I want it and c) I can shift my focus from deprivation to responsiblity. I can't afford to "dwell" anymore - gotta get going in the right direction.

I don't think db vacations are such a good idea for me. I should have gone and had a massage instead.

I hope everyone's New Year is off to a great start, and may it continue


Cara said...

Hey, at least you know you need to do something! The continuatiy of diabetes is why I call my blog every day, every hour, every minute. We never really get a break. Even when we want to pretend like we do.
Good luck with getting back on track. I know you can do it!!!

Anonymous said...

I hope you find getting back on track easy.

Colleen said...

Hi Kathy,
Taking a break is nice, letting the break last too long is not nice. I hope you can find your way back and not "dwell" on it too, too long. I haven't been in this (diabetes) near as long as most of you and your's and other's determination is what helps me so very much when I get discouraged. Thanks for writing about your break and your need to get back on track. You are one of my inspirations.

Zazzy said...

My vacation has lasted far too long, I've just been in denial that I was eating that badly. "I am not eating any worse than usual," I claimed. "So why are my numbers so high?" Like 280 in the morning high.

I've gotten some control back and shockingly, my numbers have come down. Not great but 150 in the morning is better than 280. And strangely, I don't feel like I'm eating that much better.

I think my reality is that if I'm not paying attention, I have no real idea what is going in my mouth. Creepy!

I hope we both get on track. I don't think what system we use matters so long as it works for us. I believe that the best food plan is the one you'll stick with. I just haven't found that yet. ;-)

Kevin said...

One small piece of advice: baby steps. You're already keeping up with your insulin, I'm sure, so just focus for a little while on carb counting or more testing. Then move on to whichever one you missed. Then logging. Don't let the enormity of it all stop you from heading in the right direction.

Easier said than done, I completely realize. Chew it over, and maybe it'll work.

Don't be hard on yourself, though, we've all been there before, and it's only counter-productive.

You've offered so many kind and helpful words to me in the past, but for some reason I feel like these are inadequate.

Hopefully sharing this will help motivate you to get back on track.

MileMasterSarah said...

I think ups and downs in diabetes care are natural. I just had a real down period. I mean, I still tested a ton, but I seemed to always be “correcting”. I think my down period lasted about six months. I am confident that you will be able to get back on the “db wagon.” And please, don’t beat yourself up about this too much. I think it is totally natural, normal, and even though I can’t say it is healthy for your body, it has to be healthy for your mind to let go for only a little while. You CAN get it back though, and I’m confident that when you are ready, you will.

Donna said...

Don't be too hard on yourself about this. I've thought about doing this myself, but after reading your post today, I've decided against it. You saved me!

Good luck getting back into the swing of things. I agree with Kevin - baby steps will get you where you need to be.

MileMasterSarah said...

I won't be going to SCSU, I will be attending American Public University (Or American Military University) which is basically an online university for those in the military. 20% of their students are non-military (like me). They offer basically the same degrees as SCSU. Their degree offerings are very broad, which is unique for an online university.

Minnesota Nice said...

Cara, Rachel, Colleen, Zaz, Kev, Sarah and Donna - the sincerity in each of your comments made me cry at work! Big thanks to you all.

Actually, I did okay today, and I think it was putting my current situation down in words that made me start to come to grips with it. Otherwise, I would have denied that I'd been doing this for more than a month and denied that my logging/testing/carb counting is down to zilch.1

I did not come home today with that toxic, stuffed feeling and now have more energy this evening and am thinking a little more clearly. I need to write this down and build on that baby step.

Carol said...

Kathy, I have been in a "not logging" funk for a couple of years. Testing? -- yes, Carb counting? -- loosely, Bolusing? -- yes, Logging? -- nada, Adjusting ratios? -- nada. I'm currently on week 2 of logging again. I agree with you that it's a form of denial or passive aggressive rebellion. Congrats for recognizing that much sooner that I did.

Molly said...

Ah, the dreaded diabetes holidays.
We all take them in one way or another. For me it's lack of logging that happens so frequently. I make such better decisions for my management when I log, but it's just so hard for me to be consistent.
I like Kevin's thoughts. Take it one task at a time. Baby steps.
Think about all the positive things that you're doing, and just slowly add on!
You can do it!

PS. The tree looks amazing! Don't you love the winter look that big trees get?

Minnesota Nice said...

Carol & Molly - yes, logging is essential for the way I manage my db. Although I like the slickness of some of the online programs, it's helpful for me to write down the numbers - somehow, that physical act makes the data more "mine" rather than just a bunch of numbers that I can distance myself from.

Today (Tue) I had a day off and when I went to the movies I did not get any popcorn or milkduds - the first time in weeks. I will build on that.

Yes, the tree is awesome. I was hoping to get a pic when the background sky was that piercing blue, but hasn't happened lately.

in search of balance said...

I've never even entertained the idea of a diabetes vacation. Frankly, right now, that sounds quite nice. It's interesting how hard it is to reverse harmful patterns. I wish you luck in getting back to a full level of self care, and I'm glad that you did get a little break.

I'm sorry to hear you're struggling with the first steps. I know you know it, but you sure do have a big fan base here on the OC cheering you on your way. :)

Minnesota Nice said...

Thank you Beth. And yes, this entire week has been much better so I may be headed upward (not the temperature here, though)........

Chrissie in Belgium said...

Hi Kathy, I am out here reading a few blogs. I thought and thought and thought about yur blog entry. Why, since I got my pump do I suceed better at sticking to "the grind"? And diabetes management is a daily never ending grind! We all know it, at least us "veterans" do! First of all we have to belive that we can suceed. If we feel that we always fail, then why bother trying? So Kevin's message in taking small steps is absolutely correct. If our goals are impossible to succeed with we will definitely fail! Then we give up. However you say that you do know that you have suceeded in the past and that you do know you can do it, but just cannot face the "grind". So you don't feel that failure is inevitable. Failure is what killed my motivation for years and years and years. So how can we face the "grind"? I kind of think humans need immediate gratification. Something that is pleasant now is much more important than success in the future. We tend to not think about future complications - they are in the future....... Maybe I will not have to face them. Maybe I will be lucky. Maybe in fact a cure will be found - yeah, that is good joke! Sorry for my cynical tone here, but maybe rather than cynical it is realistic! So I have been asking myself what motivates me to stick to the grind? Immediate benefits. I pay attention to the immediate results of my behavior. Sometimes I am STARVING and I think - please can I just have another piece of bread! I don't even consider any more bolusing for ice cream b/c I KNOW that I will NEVER manage to control it just right and I will feel like SHIT! I force myself to remember what will be the consequences of little side steps..... It is hard to remember those consequences when all you can think of is "please, I want that extra piece of bread!" I know it is hard! I have forced myself to be really honest and look carefully at the consequences of side-steps. I honerstly know that if I eat one more piece of bread,I will not be full! I will want another piece of bread and another and another..... The first piece of bread is easier to say no to than the second and so on. Maybe b/c I know I am terribly weak, maybe b/c I force myself to pay attention to the consequences. So I ask myself - I am starving. What will really remove my hunger? Isn't it the hunger that is pissing me off?! Actually getting exercise will usually remove my hunger faster than eating another piece of bread. Look, I continue to make side steps, but maybe I make a few less when I force myself to pay attention to what is happening in my body. I have to think very, very clearly. What is the problem here? What is pissing me off? What have past experiences taught me? I tell myself - look, if I am hungry, don't eat you will just get hungrier. This was just one example. Not logging and not testing can be treated in the same way! Why should I test or log, what will I get for IMMEDIATE gratification. If I don't test my bg I will not be able to correctly figure out how much insulin to take, and I am going to feel TERRIBLE. I say, pay attention Chrissie, you are going to feel like SHIT! Maybe I am lucky that I do feel like shit when I missbehave?! So what I am trying to say here is try to figure out how to give yourself immediate gratification and pay attention to how YOUR body reacts. Maybe what works for me will not work for you, we are all so individual, but I care and I want to help b/c we are in this boat together. What doctors help us with this stuff? We have to help each other!

Scott K. Johnson said...

Hey Kathy,

I don't really know what to say, as I'm in a little funk too.

I knocked myself out of the routine over the holidays, and it's been a real bitch (pardon the french) to get back to it.

I played basketball a little bit this week, and it felt good. It felt good to be making steps to get back into the routine.

Too bad it's so damn cold out (-7 currently, and that's without windchill), or I could escort you down to your spot on the river for some "you" time.

I do sincerely hope that you will introduce me (and my fam?) to your spot on the river when it is warmer.

Minnesota Nice said...

Hello sister -
Okay - yes, if I apply myself, I can get reasonably good bg results. But that means a) taking a premeal reading; b) calculating the carbs in my upcoming meal and figuring out a correct dose; and c)eating a moderate amount and not stuffing myself. Some people can eat whatever amount of carbs they want and cover it accurately. I cannot. It has to be about 50 grams or less per meal.
Testing is not a problem; I just have to get back into the habit of 7X per day. I can do that. But, it's the food I get immediate gratification from - or, maybe 10 seconds worth. I hear you when you say that the extra piece of bread makes you want another. It's that way with me too. I'm just having trouble putting on the breaks.
I think I spent so many years in denial of the db that I was also in denial of what I was feeling in my body. I would have sworn then that walking around every day with a bg of 300 had no effect on how I was feeling. I think I just got used to feeling poorly and I considered it the norm.
But, for the last month, I have come home from work feeling tired, bloated and in a fog. I used to call it a "food fog".
I blamed it on stress. But walking around with high bg creates a big stress in itself, which then hinders your ability to handle all the outside stress.
George said to just yell back to myself, "vacation's over", and I think that has to happen.
I did have a vastly improved week. Since I feel that no effort, however small, is wasted, I have to build on that, and I think I've got a good chance of doing so.

Minnesota Nice said...

Hi Scott - ha! not much warmer today either. I did a lot of errands on foot, but was dressed well so it wasn't a problem. Just feeling a bit vulnerable vs nature's grand opposing forces.
I think the "post holiday" period affects people very negatively on several different levels. But, it is a reason, not an excuse, and we ust all deal with it.
Glad you enjoyed your basketball. Let's both try to make more room for things that are health enhancing but FUN!!
(Yes, ths river is calling....)
Stay warm.

Chrissie in Belgium said...

Sister,I hear you across the big blue....I think the immediate pleasure one gets from eating is very strong, probably caused by dopamine! It is important to know what we are fighting against, who the enemy is! One other little thing, I do NOT think you were in denial when you didn't feel what high bg values were doing to you. I didn't feel them either. There are two simple explanations for this, and neither are psychological. First of all I would guess that our body gets use to high bg values and we do not feel that this is wrong. Secondly, I think the longer one has had the disease the more fragile our body becomes. We have done just so much damage that we are probably pushing it to the breaking point! If we look on the light side, maybe you feel it more now because you have been treating your body better and it does knows that high bg value are NOT the norm. Lets hope for that! Wouldn't it be nice if we could award our small successes with a little dopamine. Since that is not an alternative, here is a warm hug sent across the big blue to praise and encourage last week's progress! ((((HUG)))) I know you CAN do it. I am rooting for you! I did my lab tests just last week - and that was AFTER Christmas. Why do we always feel that lab results are a test of our abilities, that we are going to be graded? So stupid, stupid, stupid.... After 45 years of D, I still feel this way!

Minnesota Nice said...

Thanks Chrissie. I agree with everything you said. Have a good week ahead.

Major Bedhead said...

Good luck with getting back on track. I've been beating myself up for, um, months now about not logging O's numbers and not checking her pump or meter often enough. Beating myself up isn't making me do it any more frequently, though. I think it's going to have to be one of those things I just HAVE to do, like taking a shower or doing laundry.

That Dwell In Possibility page on your calendar - to me, it was more of a gaze around in wonder, explore all your possibilities before moving on, relish each chance to take on those possibilities and enjoy the exploration. For me, dwell is a positive word, denoting contemplation and thoroughness rather than apathy and stagnation.

good grief. Pretty soon I'm going to sound like Dr. Phil. Somebody slap me. ;)

Minnesota Nice said...

Julia - I'm quite certain that's what the quote intends to convey. Who would make a calendar page that says "stay stuck in the mud, you bump on the log, while possibility is all around you......"
I agree that it's probably a JUST DO IT! situation. (I think Dr. Phil has some ok ideas - I have his weight loss book, although it's temporarily lost in the clutter.)

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