How long does it take to emotionally adjust to life as a diabetic?

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How long does it take to emotionally adjust to life as a diabetic?


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Old 04-11-2011, 18:23   #1
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Question How long does it take to emotionally adjust to life as a diabetic?

Physically, my wife seems to be adjusting to diabetes well. (She was diagnosed with type 1 in early January.) She sometimes experiences highs (200-250 or so) and lows (65-70 or so) although her blood sugar control seems to be quite good most of the time. Not being a diabetic myself, I donít actually know how she might be feeling physically, but it does seem that she suffers much more emotionally than physically. She often seems frustrated and dispirited with life as a diabetic. From my perspective, her first week as a diabetic wasnít too emotionally difficult for her; insulin made her feel much better than she did before she was diagnosed. After that, it seemed to get emotionally difficult, with some days much worse than others. Then, a couple weeks later, she seemed to be quite a lot happier. She seemed to have settled into life as a diabetic. But in the last few weeks, she seems to me to be frustrated and sad most of the time. By that, I donít mean truly depressed, but sort of melancholy. Also, she seems to have a harder time sleeping through the night and also staying awake through the evening until bedtime; she often has to set her alarm to wake up at 10PM for her Lantus (basal insulin).

Her reasons for frustration are probably normal for new diabetics. She is often disappointed by family and friends who are not adequately supportive, especially with dietary considerations when choosing where to eat or what food to bring. Her own parents have been absolutely wonderful, but no matter how supportive my family and our church friends want to be, I donít get a sense that any of them want to go the extra mile for her and they sometimes say things that are unwittingly insensitive. More generally, my wife misses the convenience and freedom of being a non-diabetic---being able to eat not just what she wants but also when she wants, not having to spend over an hour each day testing and injecting, not having to worry how some activity will affect her blood sugar. She also does not like the constant abuse her fingers have to take to tests, which, among other things, makes piano playing less enjoyable for her. (Sheís built up calluses but that doesnít keep her fingers from feeling sore, especially since she needs to use a higher setting to get blood from her fingers.)

Anyway, I was wondering how long it takes to emotionally adjust to life as a diabetic. Does there come a point where you stop feeling frustrated with the diabetic routine and rules and just accept it? Does there come a time when diabetes is no longer the focus of your life, where even though you still carry out your daily routine, diabetes is no longer the primary determinant of how you feel emotionally? Can you get to the point where you have a good day or a bad day without it having anything to do with diabetes? If so, how long does it take? Iím interested to hear both what type 1s and type 2s have to say although the type 1 experience is of course more relevant to my wife and me.


Last edited by mcgruff; 04-11-2011 at 18:27. Reason: Correct punctuation
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Old 04-11-2011, 20:50   #2
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I think you will get lots of different answers here. It has taken me 4 years to kind of accept this disease and do what I need to do to keep those bgs in a normal range. Even though I have adjusted to it, it is always looming right under the surface. I think what makes it worse for me is knowing about the complications that can come from bgs higher than normal. So I am almost obsessive about controlling what I eat to avoid bgs over 120. This makes it difficult to go to family gathering or out to restaurants without a lot of planning ahead what we can and cannot eat. I think this is something a non D cannot understand. All sorts of things raise our bgs- like food, emmotions, exercise, stress. Then there are days when you do everythig right and get terrible results. This is diabetes. Your wife is lucky to have you, but this is something she needs to learn to manage with its ups and downs. Maybe if she can come to the forum to express some of her frustrations, it would be good. Knowing others are going through the same thing has really helped me.

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Old 04-12-2011, 00:08   #3
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There is no getting over it. And she doesn't need to accept the disease but she does need to accept the fact that she has it and that she needs to treat it. If I had accepted everything that I was told when I was diagnosed, almost 40 years ago, I would be blind, have had a kidney transplant, or have died by now. Let her know that there is no right or wrong way to treat it or to feel about it. It is a very personal and individual disease and every one is different. The one thing that we all can relate to is doing the best we can. Some days we do it right and other days we can only wish we had done it right. I can tell you that blood glucose levels have a lot do with my own moods. The other thing to remember is that it is not up to others make decissions based on her diabetes. If they choose a resteraunt that is not of her liking she has the option of not eating and eating when she gets home, or eating before she goes and then just have a salad or something else more to her liking.

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Old 04-12-2011, 00:57   #4
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Your wife is very lucky to have such a supportive husband (so am I).

I am no expert. But I am a freshly-diagnosed Type 2 who went straight to insulin. Your wife and I are likely traveling similar paths.

This is a very harsh transition. Right now, it seems everything changes every single day. Some moments are better than others. (Yup. Moments, not days.) Exhausting. Hope that changes with time.

For me, not being able to just grab food on a whim, or to just walk into an eatery and order without thinking -- that's tougher than the dietary changes themselves. At least, it's this moment's toughest thing.

Suddenly, socializing became a minefield. Most of my playtime/family time is food-based to some extent. Once again, what was once simple is now complicated. Because I'm still learning what's right and wrong for me, I cannot tell anybody how to support me -- even if they ask me outright. Right now, too much is subject to change.

I don't expect anyone to go the extra mile. I know that every occasion will involve no-nos. But -- folks better not taunt/tempt/guilt me with the forbidden goodies, or criticize/scrutinize my choices. (You may need to run interference with folks on her behalf for awhile if they're prone to this kind of insensitivity.)

My diabetes has triggered a patience deficit! Could be a Good Thing.

Adjitater (above) offered some great advice on restaurant eating. Most restaurants will offer something edible -- I'm resurrecting my old habit of eating sandwich filling without the bread, f'r'instance. For potlucks, I figure I'll be responsible for bringing something I can both eat and share. Deviled eggs, or meat, cheese or veggie platters are easy (for those of us going low-carb).

As for the finger thing, is your wife pricking the ball of her fingerpads, or the side? I'm using the sides of my fingertips and more-or-less rotating among them. She might be able to use a gentler setting that way, and avoid injuring the piano-playing fingerbits.

Once again, your wife is a very lucky woman. Maybe she'd like to join us?

Now, off to enjoy the moment while it lasts ...

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Old 04-12-2011, 01:03   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcgruff View Post
Physically, my wife seems to be adjusting to diabetes well. (She was diagnosed with type 1 in early January.) She sometimes experiences highs (200-250 or so) and lows (65-70 or so) although her blood sugar control seems to be quite good most of the time. Not being a diabetic myself, I donít actually know how she might be feeling physically, but it does seem that she suffers much more emotionally than physically. She often seems frustrated and dispirited with life as a diabetic. From my perspective, her first week as a diabetic wasnít too emotionally difficult for her; insulin made her feel much better than she did before she was diagnosed. After that, it seemed to get emotionally difficult, with some days much worse than others. Then, a couple weeks later, she seemed to be quite a lot happier. She seemed to have settled into life as a diabetic. But in the last few weeks, she seems to me to be frustrated and sad most of the time. By that, I donít mean truly depressed, but sort of melancholy. Also, she seems to have a harder time sleeping through the night and also staying awake through the evening until bedtime; she often has to set her alarm to wake up at 10PM for her Lantus (basal insulin).

Her reasons for frustration are probably normal for new diabetics. She is often disappointed by family and friends who are not adequately supportive, especially with dietary considerations when choosing where to eat or what food to bring. Her own parents have been absolutely wonderful, but no matter how supportive my family and our church friends want to be, I donít get a sense that any of them want to go the extra mile for her and they sometimes say things that are unwittingly insensitive. More generally, my wife misses the convenience and freedom of being a non-diabetic---being able to eat not just what she wants but also when she wants, not having to spend over an hour each day testing and injecting, not having to worry how some activity will affect her blood sugar. She also does not like the constant abuse her fingers have to take to tests, which, among other things, makes piano playing less enjoyable for her. (Sheís built up calluses but that doesnít keep her fingers from feeling sore, especially since she needs to use a higher setting to get blood from her fingers.)

Anyway, I was wondering how long it takes to emotionally adjust to life as a diabetic. Does there come a point where you stop feeling frustrated with the diabetic routine and rules and just accept it? Does there come a time when diabetes is no longer the focus of your life, where even though you still carry out your daily routine, diabetes is no longer the primary determinant of how you feel emotionally? Can you get to the point where you have a good day or a bad day without it having anything to do with diabetes? If so, how long does it take? Iím interested to hear both what type 1s and type 2s have to say although the type 1 experience is of course more relevant to my wife and me.
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Hi there,

I can absolutely relate to what your wife is going through. If you go back and read some of my posts, you can see how much I was freaking out over my diagnosis. I was dx'ed a week ago Friday (4/1) and not knowing anything at all about diabetes, my first thought was 'I'm gonna die'. I'm a hypochondriac to begin with, so being told I had a lifelong disease to deal with was enough to make me start planning my funeral. And I get what you mean about family. Mine is super NON-supportive. When I called my "mother" - or egg donor, as I call her - to tell her I had diabetes, she said, and I quote, "Well, that's your own fault, you eat too much junk. Hey, I have a headache, what should I take?" Classic narcissist. And when I told my brother that I had diabetes and I had a ton of food to get rid of (I had just dropped 200 bucks at the grocery store the day before the dx), all he said was, 'What kind of stuff do you have?' Not, 'I'm sorry you have diabetes'. And to top it off, I'm not invited to Easter dinner because "oh, we don't know what you can eat". I'm choosing to believe I had to have been switched at birth because I don't know how a nice person like myself got stuck with these human leftovers. So, basically, in one day, I gained a disease and lost a family - I had to cut them out of my life completely, and I'm left to deal with this all on my own.

I rode an emotional roller coaster this entire past week, worrying myself silly, crying over numbers that were too high (or so I thought) but having the forum here and the very patient members supporting me and guiding me through testing and reading numbers, things have gotten so much better. Instead of focusing on the negative parts of diabetes, I'm looking at it as a blessing because now I'm thankful for any day I wake up, whereas before I didn't care much. Getting diagnosed was the kick in the butt I needed to get healthy because I wouldn't have done it on my own. And I've already dropped a few pounds in a week's time and brought my BGL down from 260 to a career-high tonight of 107. Every time I see the number go down, I get really proud of myself and today, after a three year depression, I woke up for the first time in a happy mood. And yes, for me, anyway, I guess because it's new, diabetes is on my mind every second of the day. I don't know if that will fade, I think it's different for everyone. For me, I have to think about it because if I don't I might get lazy and not eat right or exercise like I should.

Just let your wife know that you're there for her, and so are we here in the forum, and have her focus on the positives instead of the negatives. What she's feeling is normal. And give yourself a pat on the back too for being such a concerned husband - good for you. And her.

Peace

Rosie

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Old 04-12-2011, 01:26   #6
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Originally Posted by bigrosiegreenbaum View Post
today, after a three year depression, I woke up for the first time in a happy mood.
ROSIE! This is WONDERFUL!




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Old 04-12-2011, 01:27   #7
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ROSIE! This is WONDERFUL!
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:54   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigrosiegreenbaum
And I've already dropped a few pounds in a week's time and brought my BGL down from 260 to a career-high tonight of 107. Every time I see the number go down, I get really proud of myself and today, after a three year depression, I woke up for the first time in a happy mood.
Way to go Rosie!!!!!

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Old 04-12-2011, 03:45   #9
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Rosie ... Yer doin' great!!!


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Old 04-12-2011, 03:51   #10
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Rosie ... Yer doin' great!!!

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