Ever consider how much you DON’T think about consciously? The things that just take place all day long in the body without our awareness or thought to make it work…the body amazes me, honestly. The heart beats, lungs breath, our cells do all the amazing things they are meant to do, our digestive system breaks up the food we put in and sends it to the right place to get absorbed and then distributed to the right places in the body for use….and we don’t think about this AT ALL. Completely automated the way it was meant to be.
Enter a dysfunctional, broken, cellularly challenged pancreas and this system shifts.
When I consider all that I have to put conscious thought into on a daily basis – work, cooking, planning a schedule with kids, laundry or cleaning, exercise, making sure the car is charged and making sure I let the dog back in the house, it makes me pause and realize that diabetes is something that occupies a lot of my waking thoughts. And, in the early morning with a beeping CGM it probably isn’t as conscious as it should be!
I’ve realized diabetes is a much unseen condition to live with. We have an inner monologue to our daily routine of management that requires a lot of thought, but most people don’t hear what we are consciously thinking about. Diabetes requires us to consider and adjust for things that would have normally been automatically taken care of as the brain tells the pancreas to respond the way it was meant to based on the situation.
I know I don’t have to say it, but really…we think about so much in our day. Simply waking up starts the conscious consideration of where glucose levels have been overnight, where they are now and a myriad of things that could be coming in the hours ahead. Is it going to be a workout before breakfast, or after, how many carbs/proteins/fats are there in what you eat, what effect can you consider from the food choice, will you have coffee with breakfast, are you sick, how long to pre-bolus, should you use an extended bolus with the meal, is Mars out of line with Jupiter this morning? And this is just in the first 15 minutes of the day. It continues through all waking moments. So many things all day long, and again, most of this is happening without any acknowledgement from others. No one sees the information we process day in and day out.
As a diabetes educator with type 1 diabetes, I know the struggle. I know what we all are working on, battling, on a day to day basis. I think it is important to say it out loud. It is important to consciously remember we are dealing with controlling many things that were not meant for us to consciously manage. I have to remind myself of all the things in life I want to do, see, enjoy and take part in when I am consciously managing my diabetes. I can’t set it on a shelf and come back to it, I have to think every day and adjust as needed.
Pat yourself on the back for the effort you put in every day. Give yourself a hug, or tell your spouse/partner to give you a hug for doing the best you can. Don’t blame yourself for “not getting it right” 100% of the time. Ask for help when you need it and ask the right people to help if you just can’t figure things out.
While it takes conscious thought to live well with diabetes, remember you are doing the best you can with the tools you’ve been given and a mind that is considering a lot all at once.