Diabetes Blogs

When Our Health Holds Us Back...

It's been a tough few weeks and it was a challenging 4th of July holiday weekend for me. Everyone has been sharing about the fun they had over the 4th. I just shrink down a little and say it wasn't so good when asked how mine was. As I shared in my last article, my husband Jaim and I had a disagreement spring up after I ate a snack during church recently. He not thinking my snack eating was the most appropriate, and me just needing nourishment.

It led to a week of quarrels and misunderstandings, some crying (which is unusual for me to have tears flow so easily and often) and generally unhappy feelings. Although now far less often than it was during the early years of marriage (between two stubborn people!), I really hate when we reach these points of disagreement that last for days.

It is not only incredibly hard on my sensitive heart, but living with Type 1 diabetes makes it all the more challenging. Anytime my heart hurts, my blood sugars also suffer and go high. And suffer they did. I experienced a week full of blood sugars that ran much higher than normal and stayed high despite my best daily self-care efforts.

After a few busy weeks and the previous weekend full of too many hours of socializing, we had plans to stay in town over the holiday weekend. To rest and renew quietly at home with our pets, cook a few good meals, take some long walks and enjoy time outdoors. They weren't really spoken plans, but plans nonetheless.

As limiting and hard to accept as it is, I require a lighter schedule because of my health. I cannot over-schedule or I pay a steep price. Often getting worn out easier than others after a busy day and needing adequate time to rest before I embark on a new day or sometimes even before more plans that same day.

Keep in mind that although diabetes is very challenging on it's own, I live with a lot more health stuff than Type 1 diabetes, each complicating my health and diabetes and vice versa. Keeping well with several serious chronic health conditions is a full time job that I hold down. It is limiting and challenges me every day. It's one of the few things that gets me down and makes me feel blue. As a result, I am constantly exploring new holistic ways to help my energy and overall health improve -- recently starting a new holistic treatment I hold great hope for.

My down time (which is the time I'm hibernating away from the rest of the world -- L-O-V-E), is when I recharge. I cherish these moments and they are fundamental to my health and well-being. Not only my physical body but my mind and spirit as well. Enough rest or lack of it plays a big part in how stable and well-controlled my blood sugars are. It impacts my health significantly in other ways too.

We knew Jaim's cousin would be in town for three weeks in July, visiting from out of state. Last minute, Jaim brought up going up to the cabin over the July 4th holiday weekend to visit his family rather than waiting until the next weekend when our lives had quieted down a bit. I was immediately apprehensive. My intuition spoke up knowing this new plan was not a good idea as I needed plenty of time to rest. I shared my concerns with him. I also felt torn. I love my husband and know how happy time with his family makes him, especially with me and our pup at his side.

I decided to make a sacrifice and with just two days to get everything done, dove in. Doing laundry, ordering prescriptions (the fiascos that developed at the pharmacy were horrendous!), cooking and baking for the weekend that need to be done here where we have appropriate kitchen tools (blender, an oven!), etc while still keeping up with my regular life which is often quite busy. While this may not seem like much, my body was still worn out and needing time to recover from the previous overly busy week and weekend.

In hindsight, we also had a busy week leading up to the holiday weekend while I was trying to pack and get ready. Tuesday night we had tickets to My Fair Lady at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and Thursday night, a Minnesota Twins baseball game. We debated selling the baseball game tickets but as this game against the Yankees is the one game most important to me all season long (I like Derek Jeter!!), we decided to go. Unfortunately both activities ended up being late nights and we got to bed way too late. After midnight which doesn't aid in helping my body feel well or able to catch up on the rest it needs.

After a few days of pushing myself pretty hard, I awoke Friday morning, the morning we were supposed to head out of town on the 4th of July, completely exhausted. It was hard to move and I just felt awful. That is when I knew. Traveling this weekend would be too much for me. Just being a passenger while going out of town wears me out when I'm well. To travel when I'm already at a place of exhaustion would be unbearable and only drive my body into a further state of fatigue that would not only be much harder to get out of, but take much longer too. Exhaustion isn't something you can push your way through and come out okay (at least in my experience).

Going to visit his family at the cabin up north is also unfortunately not a getaway that is restorative or energy-building for me either. When his grandpa was alive he bought six cabins all within close proximity of one another. With lots of cousins, aunts and uncles, family and friends almost always staying up there in these cabins, there are constant family gatherings and meals shared together with lots of socializing, late night bonfires and chit chat. And I am often the only one not drinking which also isn't the most enjoyable experience.

It is often way more than I desire or can handle with uncomfortable misunderstandings about my diabetes and health that have unfolded too. Let's face it, unless one lives with diabetes themselves or is closely impacted by it, it can be extremely difficult for them to grasp what this life is all about. Although I always escape and spend some time alone in the cabin, it is never enough. I leave the cabin every time feeling depleted and needing days rest and alone time just to catch up and feel well again.

But this was a holiday weekend and it was the 4th of July. I wanted to be with my husband not only for fireworks but to enjoy the quiet moments up at the lake when we are alone together and take long walks with the most gorgeous views overlooking the lake and serene farm fields. I brought up my concerns to Jaim and started crying. I felt frustrated and so terribly sad, just wanting to trade in my body for another. Me being well enough to join him wasn't going to happen...

It's just so terribly hard to be in a body that is not able to do what you need and want it to sometimes. I felt miserable and pathetic. And like such a disappointment to my husband. I didn't want to let him down with yet one more thing about my health. But here I felt like I was once again letting him down with something out of my control. The only thing that would make things better was rest. There was nothing more I could do to be available to him in the way he needed me.

Living with chronic health conditions is not only hard on us but our loved ones too. He felt torn between wanting to see his family whom he loves yet me not being able to join him, and leaving me home alone while traveling by himself.

I shared with him my strong desire for him to stay in town with me just for the holiday. And that he could drive up to the cabin in the morning and stay for a few days, still allowing him to spend ample time with his family. Several hours and discussions later, he consented. To not feel well and spend a holiday alone would just be too much and heartbreaking for me.

To celebrate, we ended up grilling a nice meal for dinner, went for a slow and gentle walk with our dog then enjoyed watching beautiful fireworks at dusk. I was content and so happy to have him at my side, giving him a big hug on the sidewalk after fireworks.


He woke up early the next morning and made the several hour trek up north. I spent the weekend alone at home resting. Although this is something I need to get better at, as the whole time I was resting I kept giving myself guilt thinking about all I should get done. I did push myself to go on a walk each day as they help me feel so much better and prepared healthy meals for myself.


My weekend was not exciting in the least and it made me sad. I missed my husband. But at least I was giving my body the rest it needed rather than taxing and pushing it further than it could handle.

He came home Monday morning and the pets and myself were all happy to see him. Distance does make the heart grow fonder and I was feeling much better after a weekend of rest and with him home again. With plans to go up north again soon, I hope things go much better next time around.

ps. Please know it took a lot of courage for me to disclose one of my biggest vulnerabilities with you in this article. Thanks for reading and being tender about something that challenges me very deeply.
 

Have you had the experience of your health holding you back from something you wanted to do? How did you respond? Are you good at listening to and honoring your body -- even when it tells you information you don't want to hear?

 

In Peace & Wellness,

Cynthia

 

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