Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Burnt Out (Seven Year Itch?!)

Burnt out.


Tired of testing, logging, bolusing, carb counting, eating, exercising, caring.

If I were less me, less Vicki, I would just face-plant into the caramel shortbread my friend is currently eating next to me as I type this. Because one, it's from our favourite coffee shop and, two, today they look especially yummy.

But I am very me, very Vicki, and I know no matter how delicious the cake is, I know I won't feel good for eating it.

I try not view diabetes as the enemy, and more like my partner. I have to work with it and not against it, because it's here for the long haul, and there's nothing I can do to change that. You take me with it, not in spite of it. 

But I can't hate it either. Because hating something is exhausting and all-consuming. I tolerate it. I think that just about sums it up. Tolerance. Would I give it up? Of course. In a heartbeat. But I can't, and spending my time hating it isn't going to get me anywhere, so I tolerate it. It's there, doing it's thing (or not doing it's thing in this case) whilst I do mine.

I know these moments of burnout pass. I'm a huge advocate of The Pity Party. Taking the time to not be okay and acknowledge that this sucks. More often than not, this is a fleeting feeling, but this time it has very much outstayed it's welcome.

Diabetes is hard. Self-care is hard. You constantly have to monitor it and react to the numbers your meter shows you. It's ever-changing, and there are variables that are well and truly out of your control. It doesn't matter what you're doing, diabetes is there.

It's a balancing act, one that some days you ace and others your face first in the mud trying to pick yourself back up. Some days you don't even think about it, and it's background noise, others you're having to make a concerted effort to check your blood sugar and carb count, because you just don't want to anymore.

I've not wanted to anymore. I'm tired. If I could stop, I would. But, without a cure, that's not an option. Letting the tiredness turn into more than that, letting it develop into resent, into hate, isn't a choice either. Because that's much harder to get back from.

We're in it together.

Seven years and counting.

(Seven year itch?!)

I am living with diabetes, not in spite of diabetes.

And I will continue to live with diabetes as successfully as I can.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

To An Old Friend.

Dear Friend,

A little while ago, you sent me a message letting me know that you finally got a type one diabetes diagnosis. (I say finally because, although only there for part of the journey, I know it started in 2010/2011, and it was a long, old, road getting to where we are today. In 2017).

I'm not gonna lie, I didn't know what to say or do when I read your message. I mean, we hadn't really spoken in a few years. Nothing personal. I did my year abroad, and when I went back to uni, you'd already graduated and moved back home. Life happened. And now here we are.

I can't imagine how frustrating it's been for you. I remember that year we suspected pancreas-gone-rogue so clearly. I remember how hard we had to fight to be listened to. I remember worrying stupid amounts, and I remember the relief felt when someone did actually listen. And I remember the card with the cupcake on that I bought you, and I remember the message I wrote in it. I actually have the message here. Because I believe in writing drafts before you write essays in cards. It may not be the same, word for word, but I have what I planned on writing, at least.

I don't even know if you still have said card. Or even remember it. For you, it's more than likely a time you don't want to remember (I get it, I don't like thinking back to how ill I was pre-diagnosis). But for me, it's something I can't help but remember. It's ironic. I wished I had a friend with diabetes. Someone who got it. Yes, I had Lizzie, but at the time her and I hadn't met. I wished it, and then I was heartbroken that it happened.

I wrote in your card that I was sorry. I still am. As relieved as I am that you're finally getting the right support and medication, I am still so sorry that your pancreas stopped working.

I also wrote that it gets better. Oh, only-one-year-into-diabetes naivety. It does and it doesn't. You learn more, but there are still periods when diabetes messes with my headspace, and it's crap. But you learn how to cope. And you find whatever the hell it is that's gonna help get you back. For me, it's this tribe - Lizzie, Louise, Daisy, Karen and Max, my friend at work who also has type one. And my littlest friend. He has a way of making the crummiest of days wonderful. So find your tribe, love them hard.

Even now, six or seven years down the line, I still don't know what to say. I have no diabetes wisdom to impart, no inspirational message to give you. It sucks. Diabetes sucks. But you do what you gotta do to live the life you want to live.

You know where I am if you need anything.

Take care,


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Dear 2016...

Dear 2016,

Oh, 2016! You were an interesting one, weren't you?! There were laughs, lots of fun had, engagements, too much wine, too much gin and visits to places I used to live. There was travelling - Capri, Rome, Cannes, how you stole my heart! There were work opportunities, and the Queen came for lunch. I slept in an aquarium (reason number 5876 why I love being a Brownie Leader), watched my sister graduate and finally found a flat to move in to (moving still to come).

And while adventures were had, 2016, you were also a difficult one. There were health concerns, tests for said health concerns, some rather crummy hba1cs, a lot of diabetes burnout and a lot of concern for my Mum and her health. Towards the end of the year, my heart felt heavy. I was tired. I felt lost. I cried a lot. I hid between two places: my place of work, full of distractions (hello, Queen came!) and with my head between books, reading as a form of both escapism and enjoyment.

Now? Now it's 2017. I know it sounds cliché (because it is, Vicki!) but I love the feel around New Years. Last year is last year. What happened, happened. 2017 is an empty book just waiting to be written and lived. It's a busy one for me this year. Moving house, weddings to attend, a new little friend to meet, countries to visit. And whilst there are still worries that have come with me into 2017, I'm excited for what's to come.

"Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?" - J.M Barrie, Peter Pan.

May 2017 be full of adventures.