Lately, I've been thankful I realized my breaking point and have done something about it. As I've said time and again, diabetes management is a 24/7 operation. We don't get a break around here. There is no taking it easy or "let's just take a few hours off." The stress and the worry weigh on you in a way that is almost impossible to capture in words. There isn't a moment I'm not worried. A constant knot has set up shop in my stomach.
About 3 weeks ago I snapped. Grace had a bad day of lows and went to bed low. After I tucked her in and explained I had to check in with her every few hours, I just collapsed into Tom's arms. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. We both agreed it was time to page the doctor and I prayed and prayed and prayed our doc would be on call. And when it was our doc and I heard his sweet southern draw, I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed some more. Long story short, Grace was fine but I was not.
And so I decided to make some changes. Running to me is always the perfect analogy here. You can't treat diabetes like you're in a constant training cycle or you'll burn out. I burned out. But then again, I've always been known to go out too fast. Something had to give. I decided each day I would do something just for me. And so here is what I am thankful for:
Walking the dog. Something so simple as taking Shelby for a short walk clears my head and leaves me just plain happy. She pushes her nose through the leaves, flicks my hand as we walk as if to say "HEY JEN ISN'T THIS AWESOME!" (Shelby always speaks in caps). And sometimes I run into a neighbor or friend. Walking is a good thing.
Running. I stopped running right after Grace was diagnosed. So did Tom. I simply did not have the energy for it. Now I'm back. Not every day. Not every week. But the great thing about running is it's always there for you. Shoes just sitting there waiting to go. I'm not training for anything. The goal is to get out the door. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't and that's ok.
Reading. I found myself watching a lot of idiot TV. Idiot TV is ok in limited doses but I found myself just staring and not even really enjoying the dumbness on the screen. I bought myself an inexpensive Kindle so I never have an excuse not to read a good book at the end of the day. This was a bit of an indulgence but I'm so glad I got one.
Church. I was raised Catholic but have fallen away from the Church for a variety of reasons. My house teaches tolerance and while we have not gone to church with the kids, I have always made a point to discuss Jesus and the importance of living his philosophy. I've started attending our local Presbyterian Church with the kids. I'm not all there with the savior stuff but I am there with the principle of "sometimes you just need to let it go and have faith things will be ok." It's an hour of peacefulness on Sunday morning that leaves me recharged.
Food and wine. I should just leave it at that. Food and wine are good things! I was going down a bad road of not eating well, of dodging meals and snacks, and then eating crappy food (Halloween didn't help). But now I'm back on track. I'm largely eating a vegan diet before dinner and thinking about what food I need to get it through my stressful days. I've also decided good wine is a must. The little treat of a nice bottle of wine makes me so very happy at 8pm.
My relationship with Tom. I adore my husband. One of the reasons I adore him so much, is he puts up with my lunatic ways. No matter how stressed or upset I am, he is my rock. Of course he gets upset and stressed too, but expresses it much differently. Once Thanksgiving passes I am taking up one of our babysitter's offers to get us out of the house regularly. Annie is a sweetheart and said she knows how stressful this all is and wants to help. In a giant step forward, I am letting her help us. Once a week is date night out. A cup of coffee, browsing the book store, a beer and sandwich--Tom and I need this time to recharge.
Friends. Social media has been wonderful. Diabetes management can be damn lonely. I know when I have a bad day, I can throw something up on facebook or twitter and someone will respond. I also know that when I post something my sister Meghan and my friend Joanne will text me until they know all is ok with Grace. That support means everything. When Grace is having a bad day and my phone is buzzing with texts, it just eases that loneliness.
Writing. I'm thankful I decided to commit all this to "paper." Sharing our experiences has been cathartic for me. To have a place where I can "dump" all this stuff is such a relief. Thank you for reading and giving me an audience.