Living with diabetes blog

The diabetes blues

By Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N. and Peggy Moreland, R.N. December 9, 2010

Do you ever get the "diabetes blues" and ask yourself why you bother with diabetes management? My son says that there are times when he wishes he could just take a break from his diabetes management. And sometimes, he does.

Diabetes is with you every day, and it's not going to go away. You're asked to eat better, exercise more and check your blood sugar. You're also asked to manage your weight, check your feet, get regular eye and dental exams, and report on your mood and sexuality. You're essentially asked to think about everything you put into your mouth. It's no wonder that people with diabetes often want a time-out.

Riva Greenberg provides some practical tips for taking a safe break in her book, "50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life."

  • Create a plan with your care team to ensure that your diabetes control isn't compromised.
  • Understand that you aren't quitting your diabetes care altogether, just taking a very brief break.
  • Skip a noncritical blood glucose check once or twice a week.
  • Check your blood sugar less often one day a week when you tend to eat and exercise the way you usually do. This gives you some confidence that you can safely guesstimate how you're doing.
  • Ask someone to help share the load — perhaps a family member, friend or another person who has diabetes and understands.

It's also important that you recognize unsafe vacations from diabetes. An unsafe vacation is one that isn't planned, goes on for a long time, or during which you're faithful about taking your medication or insulin but don't test your blood sugar. If you're experiencing emotional issues, diabetes burnout or depression, seek help — consult your primary healthcare provider.

In his book "Diabetes Burnout," William Polonsky, Ph.D., says it well: "Part of taking care of diabetes is to remember that safe breaks now and then are a necessary, allowable part of your treatment plan."

Please share your tips.

Peggy

Dec. 09, 2010