by Helen Wilde
Control: as people with diabetes this is a word that can rule our every waking minute. It can be the word our health care professional(s) use to ‘scare’ us into ‘compliance. It can be the grinding slog that makes us feel, “When do I get a break!”
If we do let go of ‘control’, even for a day, we can feel as though every dire prediction that has ever been pointed our way will immediately come crashing down on us. All those fears that we hold inside, or that spill out if we ever get the chance to share with someone who ‘gets’ us, will come to pass if we just for even a short time ‘take our eyes off the ball’.
Yes, micro management of our diabetes is useful in managing our overall health. Yet there are times when it’s actually OK to let our BGL run a little high for half a day, or even a day. If we’re not pregnant, & we plan to do some vigorous exercise, it even makes sense to! It’s also OK to eat occasionally as though we do not have diabetes, although personally I prefer to eat the healthy foods that are also beneficial for ‘control’ of my type 2 diabetes! LOL! I am not a ‘jar of Nutella’ kind of girl. But I do enjoy the occasional Morning coffee treat, or lush dessert.
As the Mum of a teen with Type 1 diabetes, I had to learn to let go of Control. Not that I ever really had it, it was always my illusion, monitoring what was visible to me, managing my responsibility to buy & prepare food for the whole family. I know now that my teen made up logbooks of bgl’s, ate food away from home that I would not have ‘approved’, & didn’t always inject insulin nor check bgl’s when the HCP’s had instructed her to. Life got in the way. Yet she is doing just fine now, & I’m glad that she ‘normalised’ her adolescence to some extent. Why should we miss out totally on life’s rich tapestry because of a health condition?
Being truly ‘in control’ means being in charge of our own life, being in the Drivers’ seat: & ALSO that diabetes is not front & centre in our every waking moment. There are other things in life that are more interesting, more enjoyable, more beneficial. How can we reach that stage, which in a way is part of ‘acceptance’? It can be as simple as setting up routines that work for us, & following them in a way that is comfortable with our lifestyle. That might include having our Health Care team appointments slotted in & sorted for the year, rather than having a constant nagging thought that ‘I must make that appointment’. In getting groceries home delivered, instead of takeaway meals. In storing & managing our insulin, test strips, oral medications so that we never run out or have any go ‘out of date’. Importantly though, in ‘not sweating the small stuff’,& in not regretting decisions & behaviours that are in the past & can’t be undone. No shame, no Guilt.
Remember that as David Bowie sang “Planet Earth is Blue & There’s nothing I can do”
If you prefer Life with a strong dose of Reality, check out this more recent video version of Major Tom. Humanity can soar, you don’t have to give up your shot at the Moon just because you have diabetes. Happiness, a good life, smelling the roses. Enjoy the journey, & Open up the Sky- I know we’ll be just fine..when we Learn to Love the ride.
Helen was a long term Senior Counsellor with Diabetes Counselling Online and high school Teacher. She is mother of a Type 1 diabetic since 1979, Type 2 herself since 2001.