Dealing with Diabetes

by | Dec 12, 2018 | Blog, Dealingwithyourdiabetes, Ownership | 0 comments

In the world of diabetes, treatment plans focus on managing the disease or controlling the disease as the best way to prevent complications. But in my experience, the most successful outcomes are achieved by dealing with diabetes. Every day things come up that we hadn’t planned on or really didn’t want. For most people, the natural reaction is to avoid unpleasant things. Stinky things? Hold your nose and get rid of it? Painful things? Take a pill, avoid it or lie still. Embarrassing things? Shrink to your smallest self or exit quickly. It’s a fact. Our default strategy is avoidance.

Playing the hand you are dealt

With any card game, we shuffle the deck to ensure that none of the players know who has which cards. They are dealt in a specific order to even further insure that each player’s hand is full of random cards. At some point in the game, you look at your cards to see what you have to work with and the game proceeds from there. That is where the magic happens, you look at the cards, see what you have and make some decisions.

From my own experience and from my clients, it is the “dealing with it” part that is the hardest. Most of us know the basic rules of the game (finger sticks, medication, exercise, and healthy diet), but what throws us off course are the moment to moment issues that arise as we are dealt new cards. It happens with emotions, unexplained blood sugars, fatigue, finances, stress, other illnesses, hypoglycemia, insurance, family needs, life crisis, or the dog ate my homework! There is always something that throws a wrench in the works and makes it more difficult.

Playing blind

When hardships happen, and we aren’t paying attention, we can slip into avoidance mode. We push the unpleasantness away, make excuses or downplay the significance. We can become angry that “it isn’t working right” or perhaps defensive that “it wasn’t my fault” or sad because “no one understands”. Diabetes is an unfair game and it has its own set of rules that are constantly changing. The frustration of not winning every hand makes the “game” a nightmare. Frustration and feelings of failure may lead to just giving up. Have you ever felt like “If I can’t win, why bother playing?” It is normal, but not a place you want to stay.

When you quit looking at your cards or throw in your hand in defeat, your odds of success rapidly diminish. Imagine playing poker but not looking at the cards in your hand. You would be playing blind. The key is to adjust the cards in your hand.

Getting the upper hand

In most card games, you get new cards as the play progresses. If you are like me, you resort your cards each time so they are grouped in a fashion that makes sense for you. Depending on the game and the strategy, it may make sense to have red and black cards together, or to group by suit, or in numerical order. It all depends upon the game and what YOU think will work for you. Same with diabetes, it requires constant resorting, re-prioritizing, rethinking and updated strategy. But to play the game you must look at your cards.

Dealing with Diabetes

For me dealing with diabetes starts with the truth of what is really happening for you today. Not what you wish might happen tomorrow or not how you remember it was yesterday. It is looking only at the cards that you have in your hand today. Really looking.

It means feeling the feelings you feel. It means checking your blood sugar without judgement. It means taking action when you need to. It means figuring out what can work for you. It means being honest with what you will and won’t do. It means facing the ugly and uncomfortable, so you can do something about it. It means finding meaning in things that feel meaningless.

But most of all it means learning how to enjoy playing the game. The game of life. Even if diabetes is in it and even if you don’t win every hand. The goal shouldn’t be to win every hand. Frankly that would be ridiculous. No one wins every time. But, if playing the game well means always looking at the cards in your hand, resorting and pondering next steps, then playing your best game, the focus shifts. That is a game you can play for a long time.

I call you

When someone “calls” you in poker you must match the bet or raise. I am calling you now. I match you on frustration and struggle – we all have it. I raise you to reflect on how well you are “dealing with diabetes”. I bet there are a few things I could help you with. You see, I am in it for the love of the game, not to win every time.

Wanna play?




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