If you got a day or a week off from diabetes, what would you do? What would be different for you? Could you enjoy life more?
Unfortunately, diabetes is an all day, every day thing. With my condition, multiple sclerosis (MS), I know what that’s like. MS is there every waking moment and sometimes in sleep. It can be tiring and depressing. In practice, though, I get used to it and don’t notice so much. It becomes normal, and I live my life from there. Something like that has probably happened to you.
But diabetes is a lot more work than MS. As Joe Nelson wrote on Diabetes Self-Management, living with diabetes means “you are asked to eat better, exercise more, check your blood glucose levels, and be more aware of your weight, feet, eyes, mood, and sexuality. I have come to believe that these obligations create an additional psychic weight for anyone who has this diagnosis.”
If you have Type 1, of course, it’s even more demanding, calibrating your food intake and insulin, trying to prevent lows while not getting too high.
So it’s normal to want a vacation from diabetes, even a short one. Writing on Diabetic Connect, Ravenmoon33 posted, “Am I alone in wishing that diabetes gave you a day off? Just one day to not have to test/carb count/medicate…etc…etc…etc. I could so use a break!!”
She got over 30 replies of agreement.
CaliKo wrote: “I’d vote for that, and I’d have a chocolate shake from Fuddrucker’s!”
Jladytiger1979 posted: “[My wish] would be a vacation from exercise!!”
Maxxkatt said: “I know how you feel. I would love one day off too. No meds, carbs, NO neuropathy. Just once.”
Most touching for me was this note from Gemm: “My wish — to have 1 day without any of my disorders/conditions, so I could again do some of the things I really miss being able to do.”
I could so relate to that. I started thinking about the things I would do if I had a break from MS. I’d take a hike in my favorite park. I’d play basketball; I’d dance. Maybe I’d have lots of sex. But I would be awfully sad when the vacation was over.
Similarly, a blogger named Heidi wrote about what she would do with one day off from diabetes. Things like going to work without monitoring, eating without worrying about highs, riding her bike without concern for lows, not having to make her clothes fit over her continuous glucose meter. “Sleep better than I have slept in years,” she concluded “[then] get out of bed, walk downstairs to find my meter, and… check my blood sugar.”
Without a magic vacation, perhaps you can try some denial. One reader on Diabetic Connect commented: “It is better to take a small break than to get burned out. Always be safe, but if you need to eat something that you have been craving or just change your routine for a day, I would say go for it. Sometimes the diversion can help keep you from just giving up on your self care for a longer period of time.”
However, our reader Coco commented on Joe Nelson’s blog, “It is not possible to ‘take a break’ from diabetes any more than it is possible to take a break from breathing.”
Or is it?
On the Diabetic Connect post, a Type 1 blogger called the diabetic camper wrote: “I had an 80% off day last Saturday. I was outdoors with a pick axe trying to move rocks out of a trail I am building. I had pancakes for breakfast with lots of syrup and my blood sugars never were above 110 with no bolus, and I had to turn my basal rate down 50%. Then for lunch I had tuna salad with chips and some gummy bears and a sugary ice cream pop and still no bolus because I did not get above 125 in the afternoon. Get out, and get active and you will… just about have a day off from diabetes.”
So what would you do with a day off from diabetes, or a week off? How would that feel? Is it a pleasant thing to imagine, or does the whole idea hurt to think about?