Diabetes: Evoking Emotions much like those of a Romantic Comedy

Disclaimer: This is a longer post, but stick with it! You may understand me a bit better after.

Last week I went to a routine diabetes education appointment. First off, let me say how awesome my CDE (certified diabetes educator) is. I’m ultra hard on myself when it comes to diabetes and Janice always brings me back to reality with some perspective.

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My A1C was 8.3. For those of you who don’t know, that is higher than the recommended range for blood glucose control. As I mentioned before, the A1C is a measure of your blood glucose control over the past 3 months. The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends an A1C less than 7. Honestly, I haven’t been less than 7 since high school. Let me tell you, this is not for any lack of trying.

I find it hard as a health care professional myself to divulge that my A1C is not picture perfect. It’s hard to reveal to anyone who reads this blog that my A1C is not stellar. I’m laying it all out in the open! Janice reiterated the importance in not worrying so much about what others think of me in relation to my diabetes. I’m pretty sure I could use this advice in other aspects of my life, not just in relation to the diabetes.

Our convo went from serious to funny, and back again. Man! a diabetic appointment is a bit like a cheesy romantic comedy; I laughed…..I cried. Honestly, I come close to tears in a lot of my diabetic appointments, but this one was the first that the river flowed freely. I was a bit embarrassed, but couldn’t really help myself. Thank god for Janice though. She calmly reminded me:

  • “Ciara it’s just a number.”
  • “There are so many factors.”
  • “It’s obvious how much effort you put into this.”

Hmmm.. could she be referring to the 10-14 somewhat obsessive blood glucose checks a day Disappointed smile

Janice empathized with my frustration about high and low blood glucose levels after exercise. All I’m trying to do is workout to be healthy and in turn my sugars are out of whack! Ugh. We are trying a few new things and hopefully these will help with my control during workout sessions.

I also declared that maybe I really just don’t eat healthy enough? Maybe I have too many little indulgences here and there? Maybe my carb counting sucks?

She offered up the point that really,as long as I can count the carbs in the food, I can eat it. Technically speaking, I don’t need to be eating any differently than a non-diabetic, but I need to be more careful. Both types of people should be following Canada’s Food guide. Next time you want to ask a diabetic “oh I see your eating ______, are you cheating?” think to yourself “am I following the recommended guidelines myself?”

Janice stated “Ciara, the difference is that your pancreas is on your hip and more difficult to control.” Good point Janice Smile But I still think I could do better Embarrassed smile.

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Exhibit A and B-  A Pancreas located on hip. B Pancreas located within, somewhere around the posterior abdominal wall.

If I wake up at night, I check my sugar. It’s a security thing. If it’s a bit up I treat it. I have had nights where I wake up 3 or 4 times checking and treating. These nights involve little sleep. Again, Janice pointed out the necessity of quality of life: “It’s ok if your sugars are 10 or 9 sometimes at night, you need to sleep too.” She makes many a good point. Reggie also needs to sleep instead of hearing the constant robot beep from my pump!!

This post could go on for a while, but I think I will summarize with some of the things I am taking away from this appointment.

  1. Diabetes IS a disease, there IS a reason why glycemic control is difficult for me compared to people with regular functioning pancreai . Damn you ! Winking smile(not sure about the plural form of pancreas).
  2. I am trying to do better. Maybe too much sometimes.
  3. I am doing a good job.
  4. Quality of life is important too.
  5. Sleep is important. Do it!
  6. Shift work does influence my glycemic control. I don’t want to accept the fact, and I won’t let it stop me. I do need to acknowledge it though.
  7. I will figure out how to exercise and avoid the ups and downs.
  8. I have too many low blood sugars. I don’t worry as much about them as I do my highs. This is bad. Lows can go south a lot faster than a high can take you there.

On positive notes, there is no sign of diabetes related damage to my eyes and kidneys. Although I think my psyche has taken a hit.

It has been 12 years that I have had the ‘betes. It’s difficult to stave off complications forever. I’m going to fight hard against it though. Always.

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9 thoughts on “Diabetes: Evoking Emotions much like those of a Romantic Comedy

  1. Ciara-
    You are a diabetes and life champion! I will remind you of the summary points as much as possible because they are all true! You take care of yourself better than anyone I know- you should be proud:)

  2. Love this post cc! It’s a really good explanation for people without the ‘betes and even for myself! Although, you don’t have to explain yourself over an A1C number to me.. I know that you’re dedicated to your “illness” and if there were a way to beat it you would fit the formula perfectly! 🙂 xxoo

  3. one, i love your blogs, i love talking about the betes and i love hearing about it too! i think you should listen to your CDE! your description of your self management seems to be huge and more than i know anyone to do. i know its frustrating when you work so hard at control and you don’t see improvements. just in the last year i took my self back into control, stupid teenaged years ruined my a1c. but ive been working hard, pre and post meal testings, trying over night, ya right i cant wake up for that! and writing the numbers down to look for patterns, which is annoying but it actually works. I’ve dropped by a1c by 2% in the last year, 8.4 right now, id been as high as 11.
    watch your lows tho, I’ve found being tighter i have a lot more and now and because of the frequency I’m starting to lose my first warning signs, not all the time, but I’m not sweaty and shaky like i used to be, more just stupid, which is a moderate low symptom not just mild. hypoglycemia unawareness is scary to me but if the lows lessen so does the unawareness!
    i also know what you mean when your not perfectly controlled and being a nurse, but i take this as a good thing when i deal with patients. most of the time the people who are admitted aren’t perfect either. this makes it easier for me to empathize with them about diabetes self management.
    that’s also why I’m studying to be a CDE i write my exam in 2 weeks! i think it has helped my control and will help with my patients! and its the type of nursing i want to do!
    i guess what I’m trying to say is don’t be so hard on yourself, i think your doing awesome with the testing and the tight control! i do know its frustrating not having the numbers say what you want! but don’t get stressed out by it! that just drives those bgs up!!!!!

    xxoo

    • Thanks so much for your support and awesome comment Josie! It’s great to hear from a fellow person with the ‘betes 🙂 That is so awesome that you are becoming a CDE. I would love to do that sometime in future. Having a CDE who really “gets it” will be amazing for your patients. I need to talk to you about your course sometime!

      Thanks for sharing a bit of your story too. A lot of the time I find myself making comparisons to people who have ridiculously good A1Cs, and I forget about the majority of us out there really working on bringing them down.

      Also, congrats on the 2% a1c drop within a year. That obviously takes a lot of work!

      Thanks again for your perspective. It’s been enlightening, and in turn I’m really working on easing up on myself. Like you said, stress is no help 🙂 I don’t think I’ve really taken stress into account as much as I should. I think I thought of it as “an excuse”… so weird. I know it’s not though. Totally makes sense.

  4. Ciara, this is a great post! I think it’s super helpful for me to read this as a doc in training – it explains a lot about the challenges you face everyday! I obviously don’t know much about it, but when we learned about DM last year we were told glycemic control is very difficult regardless of counting carbs and taking your insulin properly. Like you said, it’s a disease, and diseases can be hard to treat! I think you’re doing a great job! Listen to your Janice. 🙂 Haha.

    • I’m glad to be of help in your journey to becoming a great Doc :).I appreciate the empathy. If you ever have a chance of coming and doing any work at the Valley Regional you totally should!

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