Thursday, February 13, 2014

I Really Want to Avoid Diabetic Burnout Up the Road

I read an article this morning on diabetic burnout and I can clearly see, even a few months post-diagnosis, how this could become a problem after a few years.  

Diabetic burnout happens when the realization hits a person of how confining the disease is.  Diet, exercise, blood testing, regular lab tests, meds...once the diagnosis happens these things are your life.  You can't choose to just take a day off and get away from them for a break.  365 days of every year must be devoted to this issue.  Burnout happens when it all becomes tiresome and it sinks in that there is no escape. On burnout people tend to become stressed and depressed, start ignoring their diets, blood tests and exercise and do silly, harmful things to themselves with their food intake.  All ready I can understand how this could happen.  Our summer holiday plans for this year have all ready had to be adjusted in order to accommodate my quarterly hospital lab tests.

I am new to this disease, thus have not developed any long term resentments over what foods I can no longer ingest.  I have only once experienced the problems that can happen to my daily exercise schedule when I am travelling away from home and the hassles of having to find restaurant foods that work for me.  I have years of this to learn to cope with my  new life. However, I assume I will take my turn with burnout at some point in the future.

Yesterday was my first real glimpse of the frustrations that can happen.  I woke up with the beginnings of an infection that I knew I could treat myself at home.  I also knew that the home remedy would likely raise my blood sugar levels too high.  If the weather had been accommodating I would have walked the 8 blocks to the on call doctor at the clinic to get a prescription, then the 12 blocks to the pharmacy and another 6 blocks home again.  From yesterday's post you will know that wasn't possible for me.

So I decided it was worth the risk to treat myself.  The treatment was completely successful. By last evening I knew I was going to be just fine and this morning that was confirmed to me.  However, yes, my blood glucose numbers by mid afternoon yesterday were not anything to be proud of. They were too high.  The problem was exacerbated by my needing to have a long nap after lunch rather than keeping to my usual exercise schedule.

I can see how, if this sort of thing was to become the norm, I could freak myself right out over simple infections when unable to get to the doctor the same day they arise.  I was panicked enough wondering what decision to make about self-treatment.  Fortunately I felt well enough after my nap to get outside and shovel to bring that sugar level down again. By dinner it was back to normal and I have been testing ever since to ensure it stays that way.

For now I am trying to not imagine how I am going to respond a few years from now to the all consuming nature of this disease.  A good attitude I have learned from other friends with diabetes is the simple one of, "This is just how I live my life.".  I pray I can keep that attitude in the years to come.

The next Canadian Diabetes Assn. webinar I will be participating in is all about diabetic burnout.  I am looking forward to learning as much as I can about it in order to guard against experiencing it to any great degree in the future.

1 comment:

chris e. said...

I think the best antidote to diabetic burnout is to recognize it when it starts and take a break. My husband has declared anywhere 'out of town' a diabetic free zone. So once or twice a month he gets breaded fried chicken, fritters, and any other normally forbidden food. And that one meal holiday makes a real difference!
Making the exercise part of life (as in walking most places) instead of an added burden also makes life seem more normal.
When my husband faced the blood sugar vs needed meds dilemma a very wise doctor said to him '10 days of high blood sugar isn't going to kill you.' His blood sugar did rise but not to crisis level. And exercise was completely out of the question right then. He was on the verge on pneumonia and could barely make it from the couch to the kitchen. So we kept his carbs down and hoped for the best. His next A1C was higher, but not drastically so.