Tag Archives: Personal

Change of Plans

My 12 year old sister was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on April 1. Needless to say, my thoughts are centered around helping her to transition to her new life. Therefore, I’m going to put the series of posts that I was planning on hold indefinitely. Doing what I can to help her is more important than this diabetes blog.

With that said, I’m not disappearing from the Diabetes Online Community. The DOC is essential for my well-being.

If you want to stay updated, follow me on twitter @T1DME

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Personal(ity) Problems

Openness is a particularly strong aspect of my personality. My appetite for knowledge knows no bounds. My imagination has been a close companion of mine from an early age. I need intellectual stimulation.

I have my parents to thank for this. Thanks to my dad – who’s a professor – I’ve become a well-spoken, independent-minded, and highly intelligent young man. Thanks to my mom – who exposed me to fine art and classical music from a tender age – I’ve come to have a deep appreciation for and/or interest in art, music, literature, architecture, etc. Despite being somewhat simplistic, this characterization of parental influences upon the development of my personality is, for the purposes of this post, adequately true.

In addition to being a prominent factor of my personality, openness to experience is a pertinent part of my self-identity. I, admittedly, take pride in it. Despite this pride, however, I’ve come to recognize that there’s a downside to it.

Upon defeating my unskilful diabetes management habits I was struck by discontent. Having been seized by such an uncomfortable feeling, I was compelled to introspect. New insight was the result.

This is what I’ve come to realize:

  • My struggles with managing my diabetes adequately engaged my intellect. Setting objectives and developing a general strategy on how I was going to accomplish them was intellectually stimulating;
  • In December, I felt as if this diabetes blog provided me with an adequate outfit for my creativity. Since mid-January, however, I’ve felt less creative. My writing has left me feeling less satisfied.

Looking back at other periods where I’ve felt discontent (there have been quite a few), I’ve observed this universal pattern:

  • I wasn’t engaged in studying anything that I found intellectually stimulating;
  • I lacked a creative outlet.

From my observations, I’ve concluded that being engaged intellectually and having a creative outlet at all times is essential for my happiness.

Even if my memory serves me wrong (a distinct possibility), this conclusion still makes sense due to my extremely high levels of openness.

Going forward, I’m going to make a conscious effort to make sure that I always have a source of intellectual stimulation and an outlet for my creativity.

20 Facts About Me Tag

I forgot to mention that I've had facial hair since 2010
Alsoblood also, high blood sugar gets on my nerves! 

When I woke up this morning I had no clue what I was going to write about for today’s post. Thankfully, Rich the Diabetic saved me from having to come up with something original to write about. Thanks Rich! Without further ado, here are 20 facts about me:

  1. I was born 3 months premature at Maine Medical Center in 1993;
  2. I’m a pile-organizer, not a file-organizer;
  3. I’m a caffeine fiend;
  4. I’ve lived in New England my entire life;
  5. I can speak broken Polish;
  6. Although I’m not Canadian, I love hockey
  7. I’m not a football fan; 😮
  8. I’m afraid of: heights, bees, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets;
  9. Although I’m a voracious reader, I rarely finish reading books;
  10. I’m the eldest of 4 children;
  11. I was an only child until I was 8;
  12. I was diagnosed with diabetes on Christmas;
  13. I used to have wicked bad sensory issues, and I’m still not a fan of big crowds;
  14. When I was in 4th grade I could read at an 11th grade level;
  15. I see myself as being a free-thinker;
  16. I enjoy playing the guitar;
  17. I’ve practiced meditation (on and off) since 6th grade;
  18. I love intellectually stimulating conversations;
  19. Given my life story, I’ve got a passion for my own self-development;
  20. I’ve got a passion for helping others meet their full potential.

Strugglin’ to rebuild

This week hasn’t been the best…all thanks to Mr. D. To be less obscure, I had moments of laxity in how I managed my type 1 diabetes. My testing “pattern” became erratic, and I had a few high blood sugar readings that would have been caught earlier if I hadn’t been so lax.

Previously, the process of recovering from diabetes burnout went swimmingly. All this changed when I got my guitar restrung. In the days that followed, I spent an obsessive amount of time on it. Unfortunately, I became too distracted from diabetes. 

When I play/noodle on the guitar, all my thought’s melt away, and I become completely absorbed in a tumultuous sea of sound (I’m not the best guitar player). For me, this is a much needed stress reliever. Unfortunately, it’s equally adept at “relieving” me of my sense of time which, in turn, screws up how frequently I test.

Luckily, the intense interest in playing my guitar has lost its edge, and no longer poses a threat to my effort to rebuild my skillful diabetes management habits.

This incident was relatively minor. It only caused me to miss testing a handful of times. The period where I was unmindful of having a chronic condition only lasted a handful of days – not long enough to crystallize any unskillful management habits.

Those handful of days earlier this week were an aberration. The journey shall continue…

Not all things are created equal

Got meters?
Got meters?

A month ago I was testing 2-3 time a day. On most days, my numbers remained above 200 all day, and I’d often see at least 1 number over 300. Numbers in the 400s – which had formerly been rare – happened almost every week.

Fast forward to this month. I’ve been testing 6-10 times a day. On most days, my numbers remain above 200 for most of the days, but I’m starting to see due some decent numbers. Numbers in the 400s – which been all too common a month ago – are now non-existent. Improvements have been made.

Being a pessimist, I’m adept at seeing the negative aspects of any situation. In my present situation, I could easily choose to focus on the fact that my blood sugars still remain, on average, higher than what I’d like to see.

Although I could choose to see my present situation through tinted glasses, I have decided not to. To interpret my situation in a negative manner would do me no good.

It’s essential that I keep things in perspective. Although my blood glucose readings are important, they’re not what’s most important to me. Of far greater significance to me is  the fact that I’m testing my blood sugar frequently.

My current blood glucose readings are irrelevant to me, so long as I’m in the habit of frequently testing my blood sugar. Although, by itself, it won’t have a major impact on the extent to which I have my diabetes under control, it will form a firm foundation for me as I continue to recover from diabetes burnout.

Discernment is essential.

New Years Resolution

My New Years resolution for 2014 is to fully recover from the diabetes burnout I experience from September-December of 2013, and to be more careful about not wearing myself out in the future.

Going forward, this blog will play an important role in staying faithful to my resolution.

In the coming weeks, I plan on exploring what this resolution entails, and I’ll be setting smaller (and more specific) goals that’ll help me stay faithful to this resolution. More on that later…

Happy New Year!

Mugged by Diabetes Burnout

Diabetes burnout feels like being mugged. It comes up behind you, seemingly out of nowhere, and robs you of any positive (or neutral) feelings towards diabetes that you may have had. In its aftermath, you are left feeling vulnerable and discouraged… temporarily stunned and immobile… And, although there’s nothing wrong with these feelings (in fact, something’s probably wrong with you if you don’t feel them), there come’s a time when you must get up and take action, despite how you’re feeling. You must report the crime to the police, and put your trust in them. You must accept that you’ve done all that you can, for now.

I was recently mugged. It seemingly came out of nowhere. My most recent A1C was the best it had been in 9 years, I was testing as often as I needed to, and I was exercising almost every day. Things were looking up! I was proud. The days (years) of not paying close attention to my type 1 diabetes were behind me…so I thought.

Something happened. My attention became lax, and, gradually, all my progress became unraveled. What once came naturally had turned into a disgusting chore. All of this happened right under my nose.

That’s the thing about diabetes burnout: it seemingly hits you out of nowhere, and it takes time to register what has just happened to you. Although it might be obvious to an outsider that all is not going well for us in dealing with diabetes, it isn’t immediately clear to us. Awareness comes in time. We’re not often immediately cognizant of diabetes burnout. It appears gradually; once it appears, our awareness of it is also gradual.

During my most recent encounter with diabetes burnout, it took me a good month to become aware that I had fallen. Until then, life seemingly went on as it had before.

Self-awareness slowly established itself. Initially, I was only aware that I wasn’t feeling as well as I had when I was testing more, exercising, etc. Then I put two and two together. Being aware of this, however, wasn’t enough lift me out of diabetes burnout.

Then things took a turn for the worse. I ended up – somehow – in the unenviable position of having to live my life while almost constantly being over 200. Numbers in the upper 300s, and even the 400s, had become a regular occurrence. Although, by then, I was painfully aware of my burnout, that awareness wasn’t enough to lift my out of the whole I’d fallen into and spur me to action. If anything, in the short term, my awareness only succeeded at torturing me.

At this point I knew that I had fallen into a deep hole. I was painfully aware that my ever-present hyperglycemia was slowly killing me. None of this helped. It only fueled the flames of negativity that hyperglycemia had started. It only succeeded at increasing my feelings of dread. I dreaded all of the habits I’d have to reestablish. I dreaded the thought of having to experience more hypoglycemia. My self-awareness still left me stuck in inaction. However, there are no eternal nights; this mental state did not remain for long.

What helped me begin the process of lifting myself up out of the hole I had fallen into? Honest self-expression. I didn’t let my pride get in the way of me expressing how I felt on tumblr. I didn’t let fear over what other people might think dictate what I published. I allowed my mask of strength to fall off, and showed my vulnerability by expressing my feelings of disgust, disappointment, and despair. Unlike in the past, I did’t let these feelings fester in me. By being willing to “stare into the abyss,” and express what stared back at me, I opened up the opportunity to take the necessary actions to restore myself to full health.

Where I stand now, I’m taking things one step at a time. Through my experiences of dealing with diabetes burnout,  I’ve been taught the dangers of being over zealous. By rushing to improve things too quickly, we often set ourselves up for failure. Life with diabetes is all about balance. I have yet to find the proper balance, but I have faith that I eventually will, so long as I persevere.

I am doing what I can do, rather than focusing on what is out of my control. I can’t always control what my numbers will be, but I do have the power to get into the habit of doing the things that are necessary to get back on track. In short, my focus will be on the concrete actions that are needed to be healthier, rather than the abstract goal of “better health.” If I stick to this approach, I shall return to my former glory in no time 😉