Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Diabetes Chicken and Egg(s)

Lately I've been in a groove with Diabetes. I do my things, he does his (not sure why I associate Diabetes as a male personality, but anyway), and we meet back together for blood checks and insulin dosing. In general, our groove has been working out fairly well - we are never too far apart from each other, yet he's been giving me space to live life a bit more free willed (for which I am eternally grateful). I've explored the topic before, but I think its worth revisiting, namely the idea of Diabetes and stress and how they work in relationship with one another. NPR has been doing a series on stress lately and some of their conclusions fit perfectly with the way I approach Diabetes and the consequences or contributing factors which determine how we both get along.

In one part of their series, NPR explored stress caused by major life events vs. "everyday stress". It's funny, because Diabetes fits in both categories: (1) a Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis is, in every sense of the phrase, a "major life event" and (2) the constant struggle and day-to-day operations to maintain tight control contribute to every diabetic's "everyday stress" levels. It's a one-two-punch of disease related stress that includes short term worries (I only have 10 units left in my pump, where did that 208 come from?), and long term ones (will my leg be amputated? or can I have a healthy pregnancy?). And when all these questions pop up at once it can be completely overwhelming. 

But lately I haven't been overwhelmed. Diabetes has given my stress levels a break - at least temporarily. And, as I think more and more about it, I can't figure out who's the chicken and who's the egg. Is stress the chicken that produces bad Diabetes "egg-speriences"? Or, is stress the egg born from the Diabetes chicken? Either way, it seems clear that spending exorbitant amounts of time stressing about Diabetes only works to decrease control, and decreased control leads to greater stress - a viscous circle. 


So, what can we do about all this stress, relentless worry, and constant disease management? Honestly, I don't have any magic cures for the constant disease management bit. But, NPR suggests exercise as the number one "prescription" for constant worriers...which is a novel idea, since I have recently added more exercise into my daily routine. So naturally, I now have more chickens and more eggs (exercise, diabetes, stress, etc.). The bottom line? The increased exercise makes me generally feel better and I'm not going to spend time worrying about chickens, eggs, or which came first ;-)

PS: for my D friends out there...why would we worry about chickens or eggs anyway? They're free foods right?