Sunday, December 27, 2015

Focus: Taking Care

I remember a time when I had young children, a full time job and took night classes in business. There was rarely a day when I wasn’t busy doing something: cooking dinner, laundry and dishes, making lunches, helping with and doing homework, reading with my kids and putting in my 8 hours at work. Busy times. There was stress, of course, but most of my activities were positive and forward-looking. Raising great kids and furthering my career usually felt good and the stress was short-lived or minimal.

In hindsight, I didn’t always take the best care of myself. I ate too many processed foods and everyone else always came first. These days I rarely eat processed foods but one thing hasn’t changed: everyone else comes first and this has become a big problem for me.

I’ve mentioned my 97 year old mother in the past. I have been caring for her and my father in some capacity for at least 13 years. My father died in December of 2008 and Mom has needed increased care over the past 7 years. We hired caregivers to come into her apartment to care for her but they weren’t able to completely fill her schedule due to our remote location. That has meant that I have needed to step in and be her caregiver. On a good day I’m there once. Other days I’m there as much as 4 times per day. This means that Ray and I are pretty much glued to home. Mom fell a few weeks ago and has had other minor catastrophes that made it obvious that she could no longer stay in her apartment. We found a group assisted living home and we will be moving her there this week. It’s a nice place with nice people. She will have 6 roommates in the house but have her own room with her own furniture. She will be fine but this has been the most difficult decision I have ever made in my life. Worse even than the time I chose to cut my hair in a shag back in the 70s! (I had to lighten the mood a bit.)

During this time my diabetes has taken a back seat. Actually I think it’s been in the trunk under a blanket next to the tire iron. I just haven’t cared much. Ray and I started having a date night once per week just so we could have something to look forward to. I would order whatever sounded good and didn’t worry too much about carbs. Not the best choice but I needed to have something to enjoy! My fasting numbers have been anywhere from the low 130s to the mid 160s. Not grand. Apparently I’m still able to have some decent numbers through the middle of the day. I had an appointment with my PCP. It had been 6 months since I’d seen her because I had been “doing so well!!”. My previously rock-steady A1c had creeped up .3%. Big surprise. It’s close to my all-time high from years ago. I asked her about basal insulin to possibly help with my high morning numbers. Instead she recommended another injectable. I said I’d wait, thank you very much, to see if I can’t swing things back around. She just won’t consider insulin for me. I’m still “well controlled”. Sigh.

So here I sit after Christmas with some truly awful numbers due to stress and too many carby foods. (Interestingly, sweets are not in the least appealing, but those tamales…) I’m at a crossroads and it’s up to me to choose the best path.

I know that January is going to be a tough month for me. I’ll be dealing with guilt about Mom and trying to visit her (35 miles away) as often as I can. I will have to redefine my life and figure out what it will look like from now on. It might sound easy to just start living and doing all those things I’ve been unable to do but I know that there will be some emotional baggage that I will have to deal with. (Oh, and my son and his family just left yesterday to move 3 hours away. They, including my 4 grandsons, have always lived just down the block. I will miss them so much.) So how will I deal with this emotional baggage? Will I sit in the recliner, reading and eating stuff I shouldn’t? Will I tackle that bathroom spruce-up we’ve been putting off? Will I eat everything in sight or go back to watching my carb intake and actually caring about my own health? In reality, it will probably be a little bit of everything. I’m hopeful that my own self-care will take the lead. Once I get used to having some freedom to do whatever the hell I want, I am hopeful that my health will allow me to enjoy that freedom. Trips to see my grandsons! Hanging out with Laddie in Phoenix! Reading to Mom in her new home! Road trip with Ray in the late spring!

My Mom will be fine. My grandsons will thrive. I have much to look forward to and I need to take care of myself in order to make these things happen. I hope that writing this post will help me to take the correct path.


  1. You've got a lot on your plate these days and remember to be kind to yourself. I am looking forward to seeing you this winter. If it's best for me to come up your way, that will be fine;-)

  2. Your numbers sound just like mine. I am already on a basal insulin, and if my A1c is above 7.0 in March the dr. will consider bonus insulin. At 74, more drug expense is just what I need. Lol. I'm fighting numbers too, and have the same problem of wanting to treat myself. Do I eat a few carbs Ina trear daily. Or do I binge every once in a while. Just like you, I will have to work out my earring plan. We are not alone, there are others out there having the same problem.

  3. Numbers are numbers. Hope you´ll have a good new year.

  4. Happy New Year Kate! You are right, your mom and grandchildren will be fine! Time to take care of you! Thank you for your post today. You have inspired me to get up out of this computer chair and take a walk right now! So begins the new year and a focus on health :)

  5. You need to put YOU first for a change. Your numbers are similar to what mine were. I just started really taking a close look at carbs and carb recipes. I don't take medicine but try to control it with diet. I found a lot of good information in a video by Sarah Hallberg about reversing T2D. I think you should check it out. Just Google her name and reversing Type 2 Diabetes. I hope her video helps.

  6. Hi Kate. You will not believe how your journey in 2015 sounds so much like mine. All I can say is hang in there, things will get better; be kind to yourself and what you perceive as your missteps; and trust in yourself and your ability to get back on the right track because you will get back up. We are not perfect and perhaps need to be reminded of this once in a while. All the best for 2016.

  7. Kate, hang in there. I really believe that all the new drugs for T2D are not all that effective. There are a few things to really avoid; bread, potatoes, sugar candy etc. but if you avoid those, it's amazing how many other treats you can get by with. 85% chocolate, 1/2 cup ice cream, and many of the really dark fruits... blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, are not going to raise the sugar levels. With diet I try to keep mine under 100. Not always easy, but so much better than my friends who have gone the medicine route. They work for them for awhile, then they are back to really high numbers, then they try another one and it goes on and on.
    Do hang in there.

  8. My son is still young and I am in the phase of life where I KNOW I have to get and stay on track. It isn't easy, but my health is everything.

    Thank you for the beautiful post, so needed. My grandmother died of a diabetic coma. Type II Diabetes hits close to home for me. I write about it on my blog, as well.


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