Diabetes and Life and Vice Versa

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The problem with having diabetes is that life gets in the way. We have other obligations—families, work, projects, community service, and more. We can’t always be expected to sit around checking our blood glucose, planning and preparing healthy meals, adjusting insulin and/or medicine doses, avoiding stress, exercising, and all that other stuff “they” seem to want us to concentrate on.

But that’s not all: The problem with having a life is that diabetes gets in the way. Trying to figure out how much carbohydrate is in unfamiliar foods can make eating out a hassle. Driving would be a lot easier if you didn’t have to worry about your blood glucose levels. Going low in the middle of…um, er, you know <blush> can put a stop to that really fast. Even our emotions can affect our diabetes management.

As I write this, I’m frustrated. Actually, I’ve been frustrated for two days. Maybe three.

I’ve been working on a request to write a sample medical column for my local newspaper. I’d been gathering up sources by calling around, “doing” lunch, surfing the ‘net, and making lists. Finally, I came up with an idea for a four-item column.

Since it’s National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has a few things going on, I thought that might be a good item. But breast cancer isn’t exactly the leading cause of death where I live. It isn’t even the leading cause of cancer deaths (that would be lung cancer). The leading cause of death here, in all age groups, ethnic groups, and in both genders above the age of 25, is cardiovascular disease.

And what’s a major contributor to cardiovascular disease? Diabetes! And even diabetes, as a category of its own, causes more deaths than breast cancer. And who knows how many cardiovascular disease deaths counted in the death rate were really caused by diabetes?

When I went to the state health department Web site to look up mortality figures for my area, there was a blurb about a walk later this month emblazoned on the home page. It was in the prime spot, along with a link to another Web site for more information. Walking is good for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Perfect!

So I clicked on the link and went to the other Web site. The information was not there.

Then I started calling. The person at one agency wasn’t in. The governor’s office failed to return my phone call. And so it went. Finally, I got back to the health department. It wasn’t their fault the information wasn’t there, I was told. This other agency was supposed to have something up two weeks ago. (“And you couldn’t delay linking to the site until the information you said was there was actually available?” I thought.)

Anyway, the woman on the phone said, the walk wasn’t for Joe Lunchbox to do: A select few would walk, and the information is just there so people will get out to cheer on the designated walkers. Wow. They want us to get physically fit by standing around watching other people walk? I’m sure that makes sense to somebody.

She also didn’t know where the walk was originating from in my town. I called the mayor’s mouthpiece. He didn’t return my call, either.

While all of this was going on, my teenage grandchildren were acting like teenagers (I fixed that by sending them home). Then, I opened an e-mail to read that my credit card had been charged for $700 for something I didn’t order and that was to be sent to somebody I’d never heard of. (It turned out to be phishing and, luckily, I didn’t take the bait.) And there were a couple of other annoying things going on.

So, what’s all this have to do with diabetes? I’m stressed and frustrated. I spent four hours on a four-paragraph item and still don’t have any information. I don’t like crooks taking up my precious time. And I don’t care what the grandchildren do at their house, but this is my house.

Stress usually makes my blood glucose level go up (although sometimes it makes it go down). And I tend to munch, which also makes my blood glucose go up.

Exercise would be helpful, but I don’t think spinning your wheels counts. In addition, my knees feel like I put them on backwards so that eliminates walking. Riding my bicycle has been a bit dicey of late because the utility companies and street department are methodically tearing up the streets in my neighborhood.

I’m generally a pretty laid-back person, so I just don’t know what to do when “stuff” starts piling up and I start stressing out.

What I did do was micromanage my blood glucose by checking often and adjusting food and insulin. As if taking even more time and frustrating myself even more by doing something else I didn’t want to do would help. Aside from that, I was at a loss.

Got any ideas?

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