Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Diabetes Burnout Clarification

After receiving feedback on my last post and rereading, I realize that the content of My Diabetes Burnout seemed a little dark and real-time. The truth of it is, I'm not in a dark place, I'm not in the thick of burnout, and I'm not crying for help. In fact, I think right now I am doing as well as I have ever done, aside from when I was newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and followed everything to the letter, including eating a separate meal from everyone else, more or less.

To be clear, I want to explain where I was coming from on this subject. I went to my diabetes physician yesterday. I found out that I am doing pretty well. I'm certainly doing better than I was when I left my last physician and started seeing this new one. I've increased my number of blood tests per day, which provides better data on how I am doing with the routine; turns out I could be doing better, but I am not doing bad. In fact, he told me that if I'd throw just one more test per day in, I can easily have my A1C right where it needs to be when I see him in a few months.

The other thing that got me thinking about burnout is my job. I work at Alliance Health Networks, specifically on Diabetic Connect. All day every day I read articles about better diabetes care and engage in discussions on the site about the frustrations and difficulties that people face while dealing with this endless process of staying alive with a chronic illness. My heart goes out to them because I have been there. I have definitely been there.

These factors caused me to really think about it yesterday. I thought about my family, my enjoyment of life, and the dark pits from which I have crawled time and time again. I am so thankful for where I currently am with my diabetes patient journey, and I hope I can continue to avoid the burnout. I know some people who are currently struggling with their journey, be it with diabetes or any of life's unfair trials. I sincerely hope that they can find some motivation, whether through my words here, or through the resources I share, to press forward and find peace and joy in life's adventure.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Diabetes Burnout

The hardest part about living with diabetes is finding and maintaining the give-a-crap. Have you ever done something so long...a job, a sport, a band...that you can't stand to do it anymore? I mean, by the time you've had the last of it, you just want to burn bridges, throw it in the garbage, or would rather die than do it again. Well, same thing here, except, if I do any of the first two, the third is the result. That reality catches up and causes a realization of just how big of an exaggeration "I'd rather die" is.

Type 1 diabetes means my body does not produce any insulin, which is a natural chemical produced in the pancreas that removes excess glucose from the body. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder; it is not caused by eating too much sugar or anything like that, nor is it curable or avoidable. I'm stuck with it. For life...or at least until a reasonable, affordable cure is discovered. Managing this disease takes a lot of attention and structure; doing it right includes frequent blood testing, meal planning, carb-counting, medical supply buying, dosing, stabbing, and that's just the common stuff. There is so much to learn, know, and remember. It's an endless cyclone of "do this" and "don't do that." It's no wonder a distracted, busy, self-destructive individual like me can burnout. Currently, I am doing quite well. But the burnout described above is something that comes and goes.

The burn out is not a thing where now and then I forget to do something, or I went through a rough patch and stopped altogether. It's much bigger and more extensive. I have turned off my insulin pump to make it stop telling me it is empty. I have canceled checkups. I have eaten whatever I want whenever I want. I have ignored my doctor many times. I have gone an entire year without testing my blood sugar even once. I have had an A1C of 10.5. I have experienced blood sugar readings of over 500 many times. Sometimes I wonder how I have survived this long.

For a diabetic, or person with diabetes (some people are super sensitive about which term is used), burnout leads to serious complications, including death. It is imperative that we find ways to maintain or regain motivation. To avoid diabetes burnout, I recommend spending some time on Diabetic Connect.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Shrink Show

Back when Ryan Rado was in town I had a wonderful opportunity to get him into a studio with Tysen and Dr. Matt. Some may know Tysen from Utah's 101.9 FM (The End), but I get to call him brother (in-law, but he's more like an actual brother). Dr. Matt has spent plenty of quality time on the station as well; he is a Clinical Psychologist at the University of Utah, and brilliant when it comes to the brain, human behavior, and all that psychological stuff. Together, with Tysen's broadcasting genius and Dr. Matt's...well...genius, they created The Shrink Show, a podcast about "the Psychology of Real Life."

Ryan, having lived a lifetime with Tourette's Syndrome (TS) and me only recently realizing I had done the same, we wanted to use this chance to offer an inside point of view and share what most people do not understand about TS. I was there more to learn and be inspired. Ryan, on the other hand, has much to offer; inspiration, information, and experience dealing with the complexities that come with a life run by TS, OCD, and ADHD.

Check out the show about Tourette's Syndrome and explore other great episodes.
Always be learning, growing, and understanding more about life.