Finding Independence from Continuous Glucose Data

In my latest column over at Diabetes Daily, I’m talking about how I’ve arrived at a place where I don’t feel dependent on continuous glucose data to manage my diabetes.

“The FreeStyle Libre was my first foray into the world of continuous glucose data. After knowing nothing other than pricking my finger up to 15 times per day for six years, it was amazing to be able to check my blood sugar levels so conveniently. The small round sensor that sat on my upper arm provided me with a blood glucose reading, a trend arrow, and an 8-hour history graph each time I swiped my reader over it.

However, the data was addictive. Within the space of a few months, I felt heavily reliant on this device. When the life of my sensor came to an end, I really missed it. I felt lost, and even a little anxious about how I would cope without it. I had lost a great deal of confidence in my diabetes decision making.”

Check out the full column over at Diabetes Daily here.

Channeling My Inner Superhero.

I simply wasn’t feeling in the spirit of World Diabetes Day yesterday. I didn’t wear blue. I’m not doing the daily photo challenges like many of my Facebook friends are during November. I settled for a walk over OzDOC last night. I don’t think I’ll be jumping into the World Diabetes Day chat today, either.

I’m at a point where I’m struggling to identify with all of the smiles and positivity and we-can-be-superheroes posts that are flooding my social media feeds at the moment.

I’m not channeling my inner superhero at the moment. If anything, I feel like my cape weighs a tonne and it’s dragging me back down to earth.

I don’t feel like a superhero when I crawl into bed at night, feeling exhausted from the long day that’s gone by.

I don’t feel like a superhero when I haven’t had a spare moment to put my feet up all day, feel the fresh air on my face or sun on my skin.

I don’t feel like a superhero when I’m doing the same boring (but necessary) diabetes management tasks over and over again.

It’s not like I’m drowning. Or that I don’t feel like I’m able to manage. But when you throw everything else into the mix, I really feel just how hard this is. The physical and mental effort that diabetes management takes away from the rest of my life is huge.

I’m not sure burnout is the right word here. But I’ve been struggling a bit lately, trying to find somewhat of a balance between managing my diabetes, keeping up with all of the other commitments I have going on in my life, and having some time out for myself every day. I’m at a point now where I’m really thinking about what I want to commit to over the upcoming year, and where I would like to take a step back or even let go.

Self care is a pretty big priority for me while I’m managing my diabetes.

Without self care, I’m not able to channel my inner superhero as often as I’d like.

Relentlessness.

There are days where I find myself exhaling loudly out of exhaustion. My alarm wakes me for work at 6.30am, while I want nothing more than to close my eyes and go back to sleep. I find myself unable to muster any enthusiasm for the new day ahead of me, nor for the people around me. I find myself walking around with a long face, and an expression that will put a damper on everything and everyone around me. There are days where I feel like coffee, toast and swear words are the bane of my existence. Then, there’s the inevitable feeling of limping toward the finish line on a Friday afternoon.

Over the years, I’ve told myself that I was burned out. Or that I wasn’t eating the right kinds of foods. That I was overworked, and trying to juggle too many different things. I wondered if it was the exhausting nature of rollercoaster blood glucose levels. Or the mixed bag of emotions that came from dealing with an unpredictable condition that was downright isolating.

Time has gone by, however, and I think it’s safe to say that I’ve addressed each of these issues to the best of my ability. The variability in my glucose levels are far less significant than they once were. I am more connected, supported and engaged in my management. I have a far better understanding of a condition that even at the best of times makes no sense. I am far more conscious of taking time out for myself and not burning out.

But I’d be lying if I said that those feelings don’t linger, like flames from a fire that simply will not go out. There’s only one rational explanation that I keep coming back to.

Diabetes.

Diabetes is relentless. The physical and mental effort required to keep those flames at bay is huge. Throw in a full time job, freelance writing, friends, family and time out for myself, all while working towards financial independence, a career and other life goals, and it’s no surprise that at times I feel like I’m only further fanning those flames.

Diabetes is no easy feat.

When I look on in envy at the person with a spring in their step while I’m limping it toward the finish line of a Friday afternoon after a challenging week, I remind myself that most people around me don’t have to deal with the relentless diabetes demands that I do.