My first reaction to today’s prompt (like a lot of other people’s, I’m sure) was “OH BOY, DO I HAVE A LOT TO SAY ABOUT THIS!”
Doing the job of your pancreas is not easy, and it requires a lot of thought, planning, and record keeping. Obviously that’s going to have an impact on your mental health. From the time I wake up in the morning, I’m already thinking “Where will my blood sugar be two hours after breakfast? Do I have enough food packed to treat lows today? Do I have enough insulin to last until I get home? Should I change my site? Do I need any prescription refills? (horror of horrors. I’ll get to that later.)”
This is just a short list of the thoughts that run through my head every day. It doesn’t often occur to me how much energy I spend thinking about and managing my diabetes, but when it does, it hits me like a ton of bricks. I sometimes wonder how much simpler my life would be without it. The best examples of this are definitely eating out and changing my site. I’ve had a lot of problems with site failure in the past, and I worry a lot every time I change it. I won’t change it before bed, before work, or before leaving the house for the day, so that if I do have a site failure, I can manage it better. But my worries result in me not changing my site as often as I probably should…
Eating out is an extremely stressful experience for me- I never know how well I’ve counted carbs (so I usually just get salad, regardless of what I’d actually like to be eating) and, unavoidably, my blood sugars go high and stay high for about 10 hours. If the meal I eat out is dinner, this means my Dexcom will wake me up every 2 hours while I sleep so I can give more insulin. This results in a grumpy, dehydrated, and sleep-deprived Kristen the next morning. As a result, I avoid eating out if I have somewhere to be the next morning- or if I just want to sleep through the night.
But the most detrimental thing to my mental health? Refilling prescriptions. My insurance mandates that I use a mail order pharmacy-which shall remain nameless because I have nothing good to say about them. They don’t communicate- if there’s a problem with your prescription/order/payment, they won’t let you know. I’ve spent weeks waiting for prescriptions that never arrive, only to call and find out that the order was never processed. I’ve also dealt with charges for nonexistent orders, been shipped the wrong supplies, and interacted with rude and incompetent customer service reps. I have been reduced to tears on a number of occasions after calling this pharmacy, and frequently state that dealing with them is THE worst part of having diabetes.
There are some bright spots though, like Tandem’s AMAZING customer service department, not being afraid of/dreading endo visits, and good blood sugar days. Those days- when you know your hard work has paid off- are huge self-confidence boosters.
So yeah, diabetes is a huge downer a lot of the time, but the good moments have the power to turn your whole day around.
(Yes, that’s kind of cliche- but it’s true!)