By: Katherine Marple
At some point in all of our diabetic lives, we’ve felt the sinking in our gut at the mere thought of a doctor’s appointment and we’ve made plans to leave the glucose journals at home. I’m at that point now. In less than two weeks, I will be seeing my endocrinologist. I have to be honest: I’m not looking forward to the visit.
Over the past three months, I have tried to put my diabetes care first and foremost in my mind, but have been coming up against odds. I check my glucose several times per day, even in the middle of the night; I exercise every single day and eat healthfully. But, despite those best efforts, my glucose readings haven’t been stellar. Unexpected health issues have arisen these past weeks.
Last month I was put on a hormone pill to help reset my body post-baby which may have negatively affected my sugars, as hormone fluctuations tend to do. For over two weeks, I also had to use hydrocortisone cream to tame an allergic reaction to “no-one-knows-what” on my ankle, which seems to spike my blood for a few hours after each application. Surely, these reasons can account for several of the 200 and 300 readings that have shamefully appeared in my log these past months.
My doctors ask me if I have help at home with my children. I’ve never needed help before and have been competent at everything I attempt. Do my doctors believe the stress of raising a family is particularly difficult for someone with a chronic illness? Do I look exhausted? I may be wearing diabetes on my sleeve.
New medications aside, though, I have to be honest: Since becoming a mom, I am guilty of delaying my insulin injections. My insulin pens are stored directly in the folds of my meter kit and it’s really simple to test and inject within seconds, so it’s not that it’s inconvenient. I am successful in testing my glucose 10 times per day, so it’s not entirely a case of being forgetful.
My issue is that by the time I’m waiting for the result on the meter, literally within seconds, I’m distracted by something else: babies crying, dishes, emails, cleaning, dogs whimpering, food boiling, phone ringing. I’m constantly multi-tasking to get the most out of the time in my day. I have so many thoughts going through my head, so many checks on my to-do list, that I easily put other things aside.
I completely realize that my life is much more important than the few seconds sooner that I reach any one of those pending transactions, but I can’t seem to stop pushing myself harder and farther. It seems my productive days are at the expense of my healthy future. Now, my health is screaming for attention as much as my children are.
I have to admit that I’ve never felt so disorderly. I’ve always been able to complete projects, finish thoughts, put everything in its rightful place. Now, I do the best that I can, but there are so many tasks that need attending to. Is this just part of being a new mother?
I used to write my ideas down on paper and take the time to think. Now, it’s easier to type it on the computer; which somehow turns into surfing the internet, watching a documentary, and paying my bills at the same time. As I write this article, I have seven tabs open on my web browser. Our world is designed for making things easier, for putting all that we need right at our fingertips. But, the more I have access to readily, the more I feel I should be accomplishing with each minute. There are alarms sounding in multiple directions and I scramble to figure which fire to cool first.
It’s apparent that I’ve come down with a serious case of Mommy. I’ve spent so much time tending to my family’s needs that I’ve neglected myself, putting mine on the back burner. Then, to top it off, I burden what’s left of my thoughts with mindless media. When I take the time to slow down and unplug, I am sure I will get a better hold of my diabetes management. If I don’t stop treating myself this way, I will burn out. I need to take it easy and care for me, so that I can be here to love my family.
For the past week, I’ve been trying to reset my thinking by simply slowing down my life; this is much easier said than done. I’ve made a point to stop and listen to what my kids ask of me, versus rushing them through their tasks and out to play groups. I’ve been shutting down my computer and phone for several hours per day, enabling me to live in each moment with less distractions; we don’t have television. I’ve allowed myself to sit down and play with my kids, without anything scheduled for the entire day but a little yard work and some running through the woods.
Life seems to be even more glorious when I’m not rushing through it. I am happier, centered, and my glucose readings are starting to reflect the more relaxed change in mentality. Hopefully the next three months will be rewarded with an endocrinologist appointment that I’ll look forward to. Slow down, Momma.
Katherine Marple was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 14 in 1998. The mother of two small children, she has battled insulin resistance, pre-eclampsia, CGM and pump failures, leading to insulin therapy via MDI using Levemir and Apidra, and sometimes metformin. She is the author of two diabetes related novels: “Wretched (this is my sorry)” and “Deathly Sweet.”