Monday, April 23, 2012

the real reason you wanted that pump break~

(Image: Pretty much how I feel about diabetes. Why can I only throw my test strips out?!)

I've been dealing with a lot of diabetes burnout lately. And when I say that, I mean it in the truest sense of the term: not for lack of trying, but from trying so.damn.hard and not getting the results that I want and need so badly. I know I'm still postpartum. I know so much of it is due to my choice to do extended breastfeeding because of its many benefits to my little boy. I know I've been stressed still from our across the country move (literally so far that we couldn't go any further without walking 2 blocks down the street and smacking into the Atlantic Ocean). I know I'm also too hard on myself.
Oh, the joys of living with type 1 diabetes and trying too hard.
The issue I have is that I recently got my labs drawn and they're actually great. My A1c is miraculously 7%. My Endo thinks it has to do with how dedicated I am to correcting any and all highs. I'm also learning to calm the hell down and wait it out after treating a high---give the insulin some time to work without doing what the awesome Kerri Morrone Sparling over at SixUntilMe calls "rage bolusing". So I'm not 'stacking' my insulin as much and ending up with a horrible low later on. However, my meter average still reads about 180 right now. UGH. ugh. ugh.
So this brings me to the point of my post: pump breaks.
In my angst a few weeks ago at not being able to keep any of my post-meal numbers below 200, I tore my pump off and went back on injections for about a week. It was nice. And weird. And nice. It was nice not to be tethered. It was weird (and scary) to not know how much insulin I had on board after bolusing, so as to not overdose when wanting a snack later on, or when exercising, or going to bed. It was nice to just do one all-around bit of math to bolus. It was weird to not be able to do combo bolusing for those hard-to-eat foods (no, not just icecream but whole grains and fibers and fats). But all around, it was nice. I actually noticed my blood sugars stabilize a little bit. Not awesomely (will they ever? is that the goal here? Oh, right: Perfect blood sugar---get over it!) but very well. But most of all, it took my mind off it just that teenytinybit that I needed it to.
Let me explain why: the pump is an amazing and beautiful invention. It's about as close---no, correct that: as close as we currently are to "mimicking" insulin output for the complicated and convoluted thing we are living called Life. You can ramp up or down your background to match as closely as possible your needs in super minute doses. You can use its built-in logarithms to eat foods that are more complicated for the body to process, without having to think about it too much after setting it up and bolusing. You can protect yourself from some of those common middle of the night lows and raging morning highs from Lantus' standardized release.
However, it can be a lot to think about because even though the pump does these things, you've still gotta know how to use the damn thing correctly. And even when you do---it's not perfect. Eek! We came back around to that phrase again, already?! "Oh, right: Perfect blood sugar---get over it!" Is the goal perfection? No. The goal is management. The goal is a high quality of life which will hopefully translate into a good quantity of life.
So it hit me.
The reason I got so frustrated and ripped my damn pump off and took a pump break was not because I needed a pump break. It was because I wanted a diabetes break.
Sigh. Wait, wait, don't tell me.
Ain't gonna happen, Em.

Rather than climb inside my couch cushions with a granny quilt and a big bag of potato chips to cry myself into oblivion, I decided to puff up my chest and say to diabetes:
Well, that initially worked because it made me feel better, but then I checked my blood sugar and saw that I still had it.
Then I remembered how real this is. I mean, I can get mad as hell, frustrated as anything, depressed as all can be, but when I look at my beautiful life, I know I wanna be around a while. I mean, awhile-awhile. Like a major while.
So I bought an itsy bitsy composition book that hilariously fits into my meter case so I can actually write down my BGs. I know, I know: who does this with all the uploading pump and meter technology we have? Hey, I'm a writer. And I think while that uploading stuff works great for when I'm on the phone with my wonderful CDE so she can get the "big picture", but writing it down with any other little notes I might have about what went on, is super helpful. Read: I know my diabetes better than a flippin' trend graph.
I find myself saying a lot lately, "I'm starting from scratch. Today is a new day." And I feel lucky, that for the most part, I'm doing alright. But this is not a disease for perfectionists. And if anybody is, that's me [shamelessly raises hand]. But I'm also still learning that it's alright to just be alright. To cool your jets. To take breaks from what I actually can take breaks from (apparently not the disease itself---boo. mega boo!) and just take it easy, staying focused on the big stuff and not beating myself up for not having a 100 flash at me every time I check my blood sugar.