Kid Approved & Diabetic Friendly

Diabetes Burnout

*Cough, cough*

Please excuse the dust, everyone. I know it’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me. I truly apologize that it’s been so long since I last posted and especially that there has been no explanation for my absence.

Each spring our schedules seem to fill up at lightning speed. Even though I have now learned that it’s coming and even try to take precautions to soften the blow, I still seem to find myself floundering through the days, just making sure the necessities are done for the family and making sure everyone gets where they need to be on any given day. It seems the time for “extras” becomes quite slim.

That’s half of my explanation…and the prettier/lukewarm version. The other half probably took about a full month and a half for me to even put my finger on myself. I knew what I was feeling inside, but wasn’t even able to articulate it to my husband when asked why I hadn’t been posting.

It was a slow progression to get to the point I got and that’s why I didn’t even necessarily feel it happening. I would say it all started with a routine checkup with the endocrinologist. We got a good report and only slight basal changes were suggested, but my husband and I just weren’t happy with C’s A1C. His Dr. wasn’t concerned as it was within the range for his age, but we just know we can and have done much better. We left that appointment feeling a bit deflated but vowed we were going to get it down by the next appointment. Next appointment comes…not only had his A1C not gone down, but it went up. Are there instances we could look back on and say, “Hey, maybe we could have handled that situation differently?” Absolutely. But even so, each and every day we make our best judgment calls into every decision we make for Carson. When those efforts don’t seem to be reflected in his A1C it feels incredibly defeating.

The other realization I had was that simply by creating this blog, I have interacted and been exposed to more things about diabetes than I ever had been previously. In SO many ways that has been one of the most wonderful things to come from this blog…hearing from so many of you who either are, know someone with, or have children of their own with type 1. The part I struggled with was suddenly having my news-feed full of everything diabetes. I don’t feel I live in oblivion with this disease, but I came across articles about complications, etc., one too many times when I was just not at all emotionally prepared to do so.

Without ever really making a real decision to do so, I kind of just found myself pulling back. I stopped posting and stopped patrolling my other social media sites on a daily basis. I just needed to take a step back. Unfortunately one week turned into two, and two into three, and somehow 2+ months have now passed.

The conclusion I came to…I had diabetes burnout. In short, or at least what my interpretation of what diabetes burnout is, is just being tired of the endless care and attention that diabetes requires. Especially when it seems you are doing your best and everything “right” and still just don’t have the control where you want it to be.

For just about everything in life, we are given breaks. Kids get regular breaks from school, we get to take vacation from work, heck we build two days into each week just to give everyone a break from the weekly grind. If I need a break from the daunting and sometimes exhausting days of stay-at-home mommy hood, I go run errands, maybe grab a coffee and leave the kiddos home with dad for a while, while I clear my head and regain perspective. Diabetes is just about the only thing in our lives that we simply cannot take a break from. Ever.

Diabetes doesn’t say, “Hey, I know you’ve had a really long day today, why don’t you just go ahead and not set any alarms tonight. I promise I’ll be good.” And more often than not you can bet that on your very worst weeks, that’s when a birthday party will be added to the mix, or a field trip at school, which requires adjusting the entire family’s schedule just so that you can go along and be the helicopter mom, that you are trying so desperately not to be.

I know diabetes burnout usually happens to type 1 diabetics themselves. To be honest, I feel guilty even admitting that I have diabetes burnout myself. I feel like I don’t deserve to feel sorry for myself. After all, it is C who feels every high and low. It is C who has to sit in his classroom while kids enjoy birthday goodies (on nearly a weekly basis) while he tucks his away in a plastic bowl and brings it home in his backpack, hoping he can enjoy at least some of it for dessert at dinner.

Even though I may not feel fully justified, I assure you diabetes burnout can happen to caregivers as well. Even though I didn’t have a name for it for years, I can tell you I have certainly felt it before. It comes in waves and while the lows are low, I usually pull myself out of the rut and come back out on the other side with more motivation than ever. That’s where I currently am.

With summer upon us, a break from school, and just having diabetes management be in my control for a few months, I am feeling hopeful it will be just what I need to get back in the saddle.

C has not yet displayed or voiced that he has ever felt diabetes burnout yet, but I imagine as he gets older and takes on more control of his management that he will feel this as well. I am thankful I have been able to shoulder some of it for him in these early years, and hope I can always be that person for him to lean on, and teach him ways to cope. Or at the very least we can figure it out together, as I am still, very much so, a work in progress.

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Resentful Monster

I hadn’t planned on posting today, but I’ve had a week where the resentful monster (towards diabetes) decided to pay me a visit and I wanted to talk about it. Normally when I start to have these feelings, I stuff them deep down and try to move on.  However, in light of starting this new blog, I decided that these are exactly the kinds of experiences that I want to share with you, because I know I am not alone. Maybe by sharing my own experiences I can show other people that they are not alone either.

This week my two boys attended Vacation Bible School at our church. Our church does an absolutely amazing job putting on VBS every year and it always proves to be a super fun week! I know this may sound very strange, but it was here that the resentful monster found me this week. I’ve found that he seems to find me at the most unusual of places.

Carson knows how to check his blood sugar on his own, but he doesn’t yet know how to operate his pump. So every year either my husband or I stay with his group and oversee snack and diabetes management in general. Neither of us mind doing this…truly. But I have to admit, in these types of settings I tend to get really resentful toward diabetes. It is often during these occasions that I look around and just wish like crazy that he could have a “normal” VBS experience…without mom or dad always shadowing him.

This type of scenario is certainly not just unique to VBS, but this is what you would find any time he goes to a birthday party, field trip, etc. I know there will be a day when he is able to go to these events on his own, as he will fully be in charge of his diabetes management, but it really isn’t just about that. It’s about desperately wanting him to be able to experience these things without worrying about where his blood sugar is at, without having to worry about what the snack is, if he’ll be able to have it, or answering curious kids questions when they ask what “that” is hooked onto his pants.

Fortunately, Carson is much more resilient than me and I can honestly tell you that he doesn’t question any of these things. Mom or dad lurking around, waiting for a meter to tell him if he can participate in snack, and curious eyes are all he has ever known. To him that is “normal”. Which makes me even more resentful.

Before I let myself spiral too far out of control, I try to center myself and look for all of the positive and encouraging tidbits. Like the fact that on day 1 the youth leader approached me before I even had a chance to inquire and told me what snacks they would be having every day and that there would be sugar-free options with most. Then there was also the interaction I had with a church member who a couple of years ago made Carson a case for his insulin pump, just out of the goodness of her heart. And obviously the best part of all was that my boys had a total blast at VBS!

I know that should all be enough- having an awesome support system and happy kids, but even so I still just long for the day that he can be free of this disease and the burdens it brings.

When does the resentful monster rear his ugly head most with you?

VBS 2013

Carson eating sugar-free cookies while the rest of his group eats a cookie with frosting. He is always such a trooper when he can’t have the same snack as everyone else, but I know it has to be hard for him.

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