LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Diaburnout

Hi. My name is Wil, and I’m a diabetic.

Of course, I don’t ever need to stand up and say that. Everyone around here knows. But I do have a confession. The last few months I’ve been absolutely sick of being diabetic. I work in it. Volunteer in it. Teach it. Study it. Live it. And I’m tired of it.

It crept up on me a little at a time. I didn’t realize I was burned out at first. In retrospect, the first warning sign was the Watch.

Back in the fall Medic Alert was taking advanced orders for their new watch. Still being an energized, enthusiastic diabetic at the time, I placed an order for one. It came, months later in early February. I got the band adjusted, then never wore it. I stopped wearing my bracelet too. Not totally insane yet, I still wore my alert necklace… under my shirt.

I got lazy. Checked my blood sugar less often. By the time I lost my Guardian I had pretty much thrown in the towel. I just let the sugars run high, less worry than checking all-the-fucking-time. I still couldn’t feel the lows. I’d catch them by dumb luck. On one level I knew it was only a mater of time before dumb luck caused one of them to catch me. I got fatalistic.

Rather than springing out of bed full of ideas and eager to get to the clinic, I hit the snooze alarm three times then drug myself to work. I use to be the first one in, now I was barely there in time for my first appointment. When I met with patients I still got energized. I probed, questioned, inspired and motivated them. I was on top of the world; until they left my office. Then I fell back into my personal pit of dark despair.

I began to feel like a fraud. Everyone looked up to me. My patients were all getting healthier due to my teaching, but I was getting sicker due to my actions. It was like our roles were reversing. While their A1Cs collectively marched downwards on my watch, mine marched upwards—opposite paths on the same stairs.

Anybody remember the song about the junk-food junkie? It was about a health nut who lived a secret life eating less than optimum nutritional choices. He was afraid they’d find him “just stretched out on my bed with a handful of Pringles potato chips and a Ding Dong by my head.” (Amazing the crap you can find on-line with Google.)

I began to do less and less work outside the clinic. One-by-one I let my various volunteer D-gigs fall by the wayside. I was asked to bid on a D-ed contract with the county and I passed on it. I pared back my schedule and cooked up fewer and fewer schemes and outreach activities. I basically just kept to my schedule and left it at that.

Then three things happened. The first was my health. A new A1C of 8.4. My highest ever. Creatinine up too. The kidneys were unhappy. The second was The Group.

I hold group education and support sessions every month. I had put them on hold over the winter because we had a really rough winter and it seemed that asking chronic care patients to brave snow, ice, and dark for support group was just not good medicine.

At our spring re-launch we had a HUGE turnout. It was like Arab flea market meets first day of kindergarten. My head is still aching. Our Exec Director recently replaced out conference room’s shabby thread-bare carpet with saltio tile. Good idea in theory, but now the place is an echo chamber.

I digress. Anyway, for days after the first group of the year my patients were raving about how great it was, how much they learned, how less isolated they felt. So I was starting to feel like I’m doing some good…

Then I got the ParaPump. Don’t tell anyone, but at the time MedT called I was so depressed that I almost declined their offer. Oh crap, I just told the whole universe, didn’t I? Oh well. That’s me, the open book.

So now I have motivation from all sides: fear, peer support, new toys. I’m wearing my bracelet again. Tomorrow I’m going to brew some Starbucks, put on my medic alert watch, tweak the basal rate program on that ParaPump and get my diabetes back in the cage it belongs in.

Hi. My name is Wil, and I’m a born-again diabetic.

6 Comments:

Blogger >^..^ said...

i think i'm going thru that. i have already been a born again diabetic but i'm getting bad at it again now. i'm tired of diabetes.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again ... comprehensive diabetes care includes eye care, nutriotion information, kidney and foot specialists, even dentists, but is missing a critical element: psychological care. Diabetes requires far more regular maintenence than almost any other chronic medical condition (would I trade it for Chrohn's disease? Well, maybe using the toilet all the time is a bummer, but its still a lot easier than THIS crap) and yet we're supposed to keep this cheery, ever-optimistic view 24/7/365. And then study after study shows a higher incidence of depression with diabetes and the medical profession says "Gee, I wonder why?".

12:49 PM  
Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

Wil - I feel you brother!!

I very emphatically agree with what Scott #1 said - we are sorely lacking any psychological care.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Bernard said...

Wil

I'm sorry to hear that you'd been struggling with this for so long. And I'm really glad to hear you got the new pump. Is parapump the nickname for the new Minimed with CGM? And did you get the CGM part?

If you do have the CGM I think you'll find it completely changes how you can handle this disease. You'll be in control in a way that you've not been in the past.

Keep up the good work man, and congratulations on starting to turn this around.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Chrissie in Belgium said...

I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT! Burnt out, that is me. Smell the smoke! Nothing changes - sure I have a pump and that is great and my HbA1c is still great due to the pump. I still work my butt off to ..... why, to feel good! But after all this work managing I just have no energy left for anything else and I do NOT feel like devoting the few minutes left of my day to talking about D. I am so fucking sick of it. I am sick of hearing about fabulous cures, sick of docs that never help with anything or understand anything, sick of hypos, and I am so DAM sick of always feeling like I am the odd-ball!!! WHY does no one else get so fucked up with ketones? WHY am I the only one? I have a blog and NO ONE can help me with this. Out of all the people wout there I am the only one (maybe Lili and Heidi). Even after getting a blog I still feel ALONE. When I have a D problem there is still no one to help me. NO ONE! It makes me want to bawl and then I hate myself for being so dam self-centered, unappreciative of what I have. I HATE the loneliness of this disease!

And what the hell is this with everything turning German all the time at Blogger?

12:22 AM  
Anonymous Deb-CT said...

I have been diabetic for 28 years and a pumper for 5. This is an ever continuing, no-getting-off-the-ride problem as all of you are well aware of. I wish I had the answer as I could then help myself along with everyone else. We can only keep plodding--one foot in front of the other...one test strip after the next...with the hope that the next hour/day/week will be better and we are taking care of ourselves as well as we possible can. I can't shake the 'no personal control' thoughts though---it is almost too much for my brain to wrap itself around...and to admit to. We are all tired...but what other options are there but to keep going?

1:52 PM  

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