Resolved to a Relationship.

Have I bitten off more than I can chew?

You know all those “really fun” camp games where the announcer just asks for two volunteers and creates lots of hype surrounding the mystery activity–“someone is going to have more fun than a cat with a McDonald’s ball-place amount of yarn spheres, and it could be you who has all this fun!”  So you jump up and down and you cheer and you scream till your lungs shake and you try to contain your excitement when it is in fact you who is chosen?  There you are–up in front of everyone–ready to represent your team–anxious to find out what feat you must perform and be crowned victor for your team.  And suddenly, the stage hands bring out a circle of golden-crusted blueberries–a pie eating contest.  Yuck, you think to yourself.  I didn’t come to camp to snarf down baked goods.  It will be embarrassing to be up here in front of everyone devouring this lump of sugar and berries. I’m going to look ridiculous.  I do NOT want to do this and I DON’T want to be seen doing this.  Why did raise my hand again?  Why did I shout and jump up and down and draw attention to myself?  Why did I ask my friends to point at me and jump up and down and shout and draw attention to me?  Because now, here I am, all in front of everyone, on the brink of dashed expectations and disappointment.  Maybe I should have just sat in the crowd and let them choose someone else.  Someone more qualified and skilled at eating pie.  Someone who enjoys eating pie.  Someone who would not let the team down.  

Have I bitten off more that I can chew? 

      Well team, this is where I’m at (minus like everything involving camp). I’m feeling like I can’t do it.  And  now I have to fail in front of everyone!  I’m feeling like, “why did I draw attention to this?”  “Why didn’t I just keep my head down and try to figure this out on my own?”  In some ways, I love the pressure of people knowing about my diabetes and where I’m at.  I love the prayers and encouragement when I go to an appointment or as I’m trying out some new equipment.  But here, up in front of everyone, (the whole virtual world–theoretically, though I know just a little corner of my world reads this) I don’t want to let the team down!  By this, I don’t mean that I have thrown in the towel and I’m “NOT DOING THIS ANYMORE!”  I do mean that I feel very exposed and aware that others want me to be successful–“eat the pie, so we can win, Briana!  We’re all watching!”

My expectations of myself have been rather high.  I thought, go see a good doctor, have some accountability, (this blog, for instance) and a good attitude, and you’ll beat this thing!  I do have a systematic plan to work through, but I feel like I’m caught on number 3 in a list of 50!  I still hold on to this mentality that I need to balance all of it in perfect harmony (meal plans, diet, exercise, schedule, carb counting)  or I can do none of it.  My all-or-nothing personality and great if I’m in ALL mode.  It is so difficult for me to be satisfied with some success.  I haven’t let on how difficult the nutritionists’ suggestions have been to follow through and do!  I have only been successful to eat 45 carb meals at breakfast.  I have eaten a few lunches and dinners with a conscious effort to count carbs, but for most others I have been on the run or just not in the mood to eat and/or count!  Ugh.  So, I find myself wondering, do I need, like, smaller goals?  Do I just need to suck it up and DO IT?

I want to take some time to think about this.  I just wanted to let you know where I am at.

Meanwhile, my goal for tomorrow is to check before and after each meal and eat 45 carbs at 2 meals (at least).

Please don’t get the idea that I am super discouraged.  I’m not.

I just wish it were as easy as starting a blog and seeing a good doctor.

This can only be accomplished in a strength that is not my own.

A commitment that seeks for more than good health, but also obedience.

And a resolve to a relationship, not merely a “better living” resolution.

Wait a minute, I know JUST where to find those things! 

Advertisements

A Beautiful Mind, Indeed!

Whilst I type tonight, my brow is indeed furrowed.  I find myself on the eve of another appointment.  Tomorrow, it’s to the nutritionist’s house I go.  I was told that paperwork would be coming in the mail for me to fill out for this appointment, so I carefully observed each parcel for the following days.  No mail came.  I called the lady who said that some paperwork was coming and she said, “No, I changed my mind, you would fill it out when you come in.”  So, I stopped watching the mail–and what should arrive the next day?? Paperwork from the nutritionist.  I’m not sure who sent it, but it came.  The unopened envelope sat kinda in the open for a few days; I would glance at it and think, “what sorts of honest, unhealthy reports await to be written in there, I wonder.”  Not that I’m “unhealthy” in a buys-twinkies-and-stuffs-my-face kind of way, but I know I don’t pass the gold-star-from-a-nutritionist test.  (I’m hoping for a bronze-ish star tomorrow, actually)  I know the only way for these people to help me is if I am completely honest with them and with myself about my health, but I also know there are about five versions of myself health-wise.  Let’s see, there’s “just hand over the chocolate” Briana; there’s “Zumba is like my new favorite thing EVER” Briana; “No, I’ll pass on that soda and drink my coconut-flavored-seltzer water” Briana; there’s also “okay, that sleeve of saltines was a bad choice, now I need take insulin and make better choices” Briana —- there’s the making of one of those great movies where the main characters eventually prove themselves to be one person with split personalities in the end here.  Sheesh.  I started filling out the paperwork  and got completely overwhelmed.  WHO AM I?? What are my top 5 snack choices, and does a Caramel Macchiato count?  How often do I work out?  Does being a preschool teacher count?  There was this one time I was going to the gym–and I plan on starting that back up real soon—so how do I answer that question??   Do I need a “refresher” on diabetes management, or do I want them to start over? What are my biggest hindrances?  Honestly, when it comes to what “derails” me, it changes daily.  hourly?  like minutely. They also asked questions like “What are your top 5 questions on diabetes.”  I think that I do have many questions about diabetes, but right now I’m asking all the questions of myself–who am I, why do I do the things I do, is it possible to change, will I ever get this right?  Do I have to go to the doctor’s tomorrow?? I do get anxiety about going, even now my heart is beating fast and I’m a wee bit scared.  I really don’t want to cry, but the truth is, I often do.  I really don’t want to take an honest look at who I am and changes that need to be made —WAIT A MINUTE, YES I DO! — at least, sometimes I do.  I really, really do!  I am so overjoyed to have the opportunity to care for myself.  So many others with terminal illnesses would look on diabetes with envy.  It is NOT something to just “put up with.”  It is a gift to be embraced.  My heart knows that.  God chose it for me and me for it! But on nights like tonight I feel like the wind is out of me–heart rate up and spirits down.  As I picked up and set back down my pen tonight–uncertain how to proceed–echoing in my head was the song, “Lead me to the Rock that is Higher than I.”  I don’t always need the wind “in me,” so to speak–I have the Holy Spirit Who invites me to take each step in His strength.  (Gal. 5:25)  I don’t need to have it all figured out, because He does.  (Jer. 29:11) I don’t even need to dismiss or be ashamed of my struggles, because God longs to my strong in my weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9-10)

I am still apprehensive about tomorrow.  I’m not sure which Briana will show up at that appointment, but I do know my God.

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation.  He only is my Rock and my Salvation, my Fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.”

Psalm 62:1-2 ESV

Get in a Row, Little Ducks!

As I have been testing over the past few days (yes 7+ times!) I have noticed a change in the way that I process my blood sugar readings.  I have been working hard to count carbs and know what I eat so I can cover for what I eat—and even still, sometimes the numbers aren’t exactly where they should be.  In the past, that would be so discouraging for me because I would think, “I did everything perfectly, how could this not be perfect??”  But now, when I have seen a high reading I think, “Well that wasn’t the right amount of insulin for that food–let’s make a note so I can change that next time.” (of course there are factors other than food like stress or illness or unknowns to take into account too!)   I see unexplained blood sugar readings as more of a problem for my doctor to help me solve or something that I can learn from instead of a personal judgment.

For many, many long years, I have struggled with thinking that a “good” number reading made me a good person and means that I did everything right that day; whereas a “bad” number made me feel guilty, frustrated, discouraged, and sad.  When honestly, blood sugar readings are fairly predictable with a fair amount of certainty, but there are unexplained, uncontrollable highs and lows.  I am not saying that highs and lows are outside of my control, because to a large degree, they are tethered to the decisions that I make with food and insulin coverage.  What I am saying is, I cannot get caught up in the few readings that are wandering off somewhere in no-man’s land.  In the myriad of times I have started again (or dreaded starting AGAIN) to really seriously control my diabetes, I thought that I needed to have every “plate” spinning perfectly: exercise, meal planning, testing blood sugar, doctor’s visits, eating healthy (and loving it!), sleep schedule (does this mean no sleeping in??  Gasp!) — and if I’m going to do all these things, I might as well do everything else in life right too like sending birthday cards to my relations, entertaining regularly, brushing and flossing 2x’s a day, keeping my nails painted, making meals for the sick, volunteering at church, etc… I mean, if I’m going to figure out diabetes, I probably need to figure out EVERYTHING while I’m at it.   It goes with out saying that I barely made it twenty minutes before I decided it was impossible.  I’m exaggerating slightly about all the things I try to figure out at once, but truly, only slightly.  For some reason, in my mind, everything will run together smoothly and fit, or out of frustration, I will ignore it and complete and under chaos will ensue.  Those seem to be the only choices.  If I’m going to do one thing right, I need to do ALL things right, or what’s the point?–that’s how I think.  That’s how my flesh thinks.  God says that I cannot, no matter how many ducks I get in a row, attain perfection.  In fact, He says the good I can do is like a “polluted garment”  (Isaiah 63:6).  And His love for me is not tied in any way to my performance.  He chose to love me while I was “dead in my sin” (Ephesians 2:5) knowing fully who I am from toe to tousle.  He didn’t choose me because of my goodness or despite my badness–He chose me because He wanted to!

“He predestined [chose] us for the adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will.”

(Ephesians 1:5 ESV)

It doesn’t stop there—God doesn’t just choose me and leave me be. He also promises to finish the good work He has begun in me.  (Philippians 1:6) Meanwhile, I need to remember that He will be the one that accomplishes it–not me and my mile-high recipe-for-discouragement checklists!

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News…

As I sat in the waiting room, I began to rifle through stacks of “Diabetes and You” pamphlets.  “The New You!,” “Controlling Diabetes!” –emphatic declarations of hope like that.  And I started to shrink just a bit. I’ve sat in waiting rooms like this before; I’ve read stuff like this before; AND I’ve walked out discouraged.  Why should today be different?  Because I have a diabetes blog? Because now I have an audience that can be disappointed in me?  NO! NO! NO!  Something I realized more clearly today is that I attach a fair share of guilt to my diabetes.  Many of the resolutions I have made to “Do Better–or else!” have been because of a tremendous weight of guilt.   I have not resolved because it is the best decision, or the right thing to do, but because I feel guilty.  But really, is any resolution made out of guilt going to stick or be accomplished joyfully?  “Motivated by guilt, that person accomplished great things!” —said nobody. EVER.  So, motivation is the problem, eh?  What is proper motivation for diabetes management?  I have “fringe” motivations: energy, quality sleep, avoidance of future complications, future additions to the Frei house (doesn’t the whole world want a little Benny Jr.?), to prove to myself that it can be done.   But, my chief motivation must be a love for God that compels me to obey Him.  Notice the BIG difference between a love that obeys v. a guilt that reacts.

“For the love of Christ controls us because we have concluded this: that One has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.”

 (I Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV)

So, I can’t live for myself. I can’t live to fulfill that burning desire in me to “do this perfectly, or ignore it, so you don’t have to face the guilt of imperfections.”   I can’t do it to satisfy any selfish desire.  Because I can’t do it. I am incapable of it.  I think at the beginning of a journey like this, I have lots of steam–the Briana’s-motivated-and-gonna-do-this-thing train pulls into the station and chug-a-lugs into the future–until I get derailed.  It doesn’t take much when you’re going off of a self-motivated desire to improve.   God doesn’t bless a self-proclaimed, self-energized search for improvement.  He does promise to satisfy those who “hunger and thirst” to be more like Himself (Matt. 5:6).  So, the question is, if I am not satisfied–in my pursuit of anything–am I looking to be more like Him in the outcome?

This will serve as the excellent transition from “journaling Briana” to “here’s what happened at the appointment…”  

I started trying to schedule this appointment last July.  (As I was informed today, that’s a shortage of endocrinologists in PA.)  Finally, in October, they were able to “squeeze” me in!  I must say, it was well worth the wait!  I have had a variety of personalities care for me over the years, everything from a sympathetic, but mostly unhelpful grandfather type, to a militaristic “if you don’t take care of yourself you’ll go blind, lose your eye sight and your limbs and die” type.  This fella was a “let’s figure this out” type.  I told him that I think one of the reasons I have struggled in the past is because of attaching personal guilt to it and he said, “Diabetes is a disease–you can’t cure it, but you can control it.”  He encouraged me to not think of blood sugar readings as “good” and “bad” but as information.  He said that my body won’t always be perfect and I can’t tie myself to perfection.  I’m sure I’ve been told that before, but today, I heard it.

Okay team, here’s the game plan:

* Give the process a chance–Keep with it! (Dr’s orders!)

* Go for blood work (fasting–yikes!) on Saturday

* Test 7 times a day

*Write everything down for the first month or so

* Meet with a nutritionist (TBA)

* New Dexcom Insulin Pump (Dr said it’s worlds above Minimed)

“For it is God who works in [me!] both to will and to work for His good pleasure!” 

(Philippians 2:13)

My doctor also made some big changes to my insulin pump today.  He said that  many of my settings were too complicated.  He wants to simplify, and I’m all for it, but I’m wondering how my body will react.  The biggest struggle for me personally in this will be the need to write everything down and test 7 times.  I consider it an accomplishment when I test 4 times.   I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

This was a long one, if you made it to the end, I commend you! Thanks for all the encouragement.  It’s a huge blessing to me!