Monday, July 19, 2010

Thriving with diabetes

Hello everyone,

I wrote the following post as a guest blogger for Kelly Kunik from Diabetesaliciousness™ which she will post later this week. In addition to blogging, Kelly advocates for diabetics at conferences throughout the year and speaks with children with diabetes about living with the disease. Please visit Kelly's blog this week to show your support.

Thank you, Ophir

I woke up with a 234 blood sugar reading today. I know why. My husband and I went out to dinner last night, a spontaneous date inspired more by laziness than romance. We sat and ordered our meal: For me, gluten-free Singapore rice noodles with chicken and veggies at P.F. Chang’s. I bolused insulin to compensate for the meal. But not a long-acting dual wave bolus, as the little voice inside of me told me to do.

A nice long dual wave filled with lustrous Humalog probably would have done the trick of offsetting the sugars released in a fatty meal. But I didn’t do that. I thought about it. But when the time came, when the opportunity arose, I didn’t hit those extra buttons on my insulin pump.

I have been a Type 1 diabetic for over 35 years, have been to tons of doctors, nurses, and diabetes educators, and I keep up with all of the latest and greatest technologies and studies. And so, a high that results from a “I knew better” can be a bit exacerbating. I do know better. And typically after a “I know better” high blood sugar, I feel guilty.

Not today though, and I’ll tell you why: I’ve chosen to focus on self-growth instead of on what I did or didn’t do. I’m going to figure out why I didn’t set a dual wave when I know I should. What happened in that subconscious instant when I made that choice not to do what’s best for me and my health?

I remember at the time, I was feeling hot, tired, anxious from a long week of work, and I just wanted to let go of all the stress. Drink a glass of wine, eat some yummy noodles, and enjoy being out and about. I wanted to enjoy the moment and be happy.

But is that real happiness? Does having a great time mean not taking care of blood sugars? All I’m really doing is hurting myself. A moment of pleasure followed by hours of blood sugar highs and lows – and emotional ones as well.

I found some enlightenment. While reading Women, Food, and God in which author Geneen Roth talks about the perils of weight loss, going on diets, and never really reaching that state of pure bliss with one’s body. She explains that many of us go through life setting a goal, such as losing 10 or 20 pounds, but not allowing ourselves to ever reach it. Let me say that again: Not allowing ourselves to ever reach it.

Boy, did I ever relate to that. I’ve wanted to lose those 10 or 20 pounds since freshman year in college, and not to give too much away, but that’s been a while. And then she says it, the line that got me: Because without that goal, we’d be lost. Reaching that goal has becomes our identity.

I realized that her statement not only applies to weight loss, but it applies to all goals in life. It can apply to reaching that perfect weight and also that perfect 6.5 A1C or blood sugar reading – or how about projects around the house, creative pursuits, education and career, love, and so on.

And as Roth says, we tell ourselves that once we reach that goal, our lives will be better. We’ll be happy. I’ll be happy.

This seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Because then, when it comes time to really making it happen, that moment of truth, I didn’t set that dual wave bolus so that my sugars will turn out great. I didn’t order the steamed veggie platter. Nor did I exercise for an hour afterward. Because perhaps a part of me thinks that if I reach my goals, well then what will I do with my life? Who will I be? I’ll feel lost, alone, without a purpose. And all I really want is to be happy.

Geneen Roth explains: That person aiming for those goals, the person who will only be happy once reaching them, was never who I really am, who any of us are. The real goal, the way to live life to the fullest and thrive with diabetes, is to live life as our authentic selves through being – where you live each moment as it is - whether you are happy or sad, angry or hurt, or inspired.

According to Roth, many of us try to push away what we are really feeling and sensing because we are so focused on being “happy”. Fixing the problems. Many of us, including myself, suppress our feelings through food. But by being with whatever we are feeling, whether it be good or bad, we can live more fully and more authentically – and in essence, it makes us even happier. Because we are being our true selves.

You can bring those moments of being into as many moments of the day as possible. Feeling, sensing, tasting, smelling, touching, and listening to wherever you are physically and emotionally at every moment of every day.

Last night, I heard that soft, little voice telling me to set a dual wave bolus, but I didn’t act because that voice was drowned by the noise of my ranting thoughts. Trying to think of how I could be happier, instead of just being.


  1. This is a really interesting idea, mostly because it makes so much sense -- in a weird, twisted way.

    I'm coming off of a few weeks of doing whatever the heck I wanted as a way of relaxing, and I'm learning that that kind of behavior actually stresses me out more than it should.

    I'm so excited to get back into the normal drudgery of self-discipline.

  2. Thank you for the insight. Wow you hit it on the mark for me. I am still in the rebelous stage. Sneaking food and eating what I want. With tons of guilt dished up later. I have alot to think about and process. Very interesting.

  3. Hi Ophir!

    I'm so glad to have found you through Kelly. I enjoyed your guest post there!

    I'll swing back here as often as I can to say "hello". :-)