As a diabetic, there are a few demands on my time. As a mom, there are abundant demands on my time. As a diabetic mom, there are simply insane demands on my time that no iPhone app has been able to fix to date.
I was first diagnosed with diabetes after the birth of my second daughter, and I remember feeling completely overwhelmed by the management of blood sugars as it was explained to me. Stop what you’re doing every other hour to check your sugars. Stockpile lancets, testing strips, insulin vials and pens, syringes, batteries, and carry extra supplies everywhere you go. Give up potato chips and peanut butter cups. Eat healthy small meals with fresh ingredients every few hours. Carry glucose tabs in case your blood sugars go too low. Exercise daily but bring a snack in case your blood sugar plummets during that workout. Get an insulin pump and re-work your wardrobe to cover it. See your endocrinologist every 3 months. Teach your children what to do if you pass out. Take classes on carb counting and diabetes management. Know that diabetics are naturally more dehydrated than the average bear so you’ll be thirsty and tired a lot. Understand that when your sugars crash — and they will — you will be useless for the rest of the day, nursing what feels like the worst hangover of your life.
Oh, was that all? Excuse me, but my then newborn and three year old daughters might want to get to the park or eat Cheerios at some point in their young lives. I marveled that diabetics could keep full time jobs and still manage the demands of the illness. It all just made me want to lie down until it passed. You know…the “being diabetic” thing. Maybe I could sleep it off.
Days are long with little ones, but the road that stretched before me seemed exhaustingly endless. “You can’t go it alone,” said my doctor. “You have to enlist your friends and family to help you. Yeah, because at 30 years old, I was going to relinquish my independence and impose the needs of my failing pancreas on my loved ones. No way. I would figure it out. After all, I had moved across the country twice, started a successful business, and written a book. I remember thinking that I could handle a few finger pricks.
[Note: I have deleted the innumerable paragraphs in which I give a detailed description about how badly I failed at going it alone.] The truth is that it’s more than a few finger pricks. It’s a lot of work. And when you have a lot of work, and if you’d prefer to laugh once in a while instead of snapping at everyone around you, you need a team.
I have great support from the people in my life, now that I have gotten over myself and allowed them to help me. This allows me to be healthier than I would otherwise be all by my lonesome. I make better meal choices at restaurants when I’m with my aunt or my sister-in-law, because I don’t want to get the look. I have the time to exercise and rest because my business partner knows I perform better when I’m not a complete mess.
My kids help me change my insulin pump. My friends suggest getting together for a hike instead of a coffee, where the banana loaf would most likely follow the soy latte. My best friend brings my blood sugar meter from my purse when I have my hands full.
Diabetic or not, we all need the support prescription. Today I’m launching a new web site because I was challenged to do so by a good friend who wanted to see me back on the consulting scene. I’m also meeting with a new mastermind group because another good friend knows I’ve been looking to step more fully into my communications coaching work. And I have a healthy fish and spinach dish in the fridge for lunch because yet another friend lovingly prepared it.
Have you kept your team on the bench? Put ‘em in, coach. They’re ready to play.