I often feel like I just need to take a break from diabetes for a day or even just a few hours. But with any chronic disease such as diabetes, that is not a luxury that we can take. There are no days off, no breaks, and no personal time to yourself where diabetes isn’t there with you. It is a lot like raising children, it needs constant supervision, lots of attention and some days it is just really hard to live with. But I still love my children, and for some strange reason I also have developed a deep appreciation for diabetes too. Not for the disease itself per say, I still hate what it does to so many people that are living with it, but for the life lessons it has taught me and the complete and utter honesty it makes me have with myself.
It is true that there is no vacation time that you can use to just check out and not deal with the daily challenges of diabetes. But I have learned over the years that it is probably better that way. If we were able to take a break, we wouldn’t be as disciplined and it would make it much easier to cheat on ourselves with our favorite dessert, snack or meal. The constant control needed for good diabetes care creates healthy habits that can be easily broken if we give ourselves too much slack. And those habits are much harder to create than they are to break.
My healthy habits are not perfect, and even though I can’t take a break I do make an exception here-and-there in order to keep my sanity. A slice of cake here and a bag of chips there never killed anyone. It is when the exception becomes the norm that you get into trouble. Diabetes care takes a lot of self- discipline. If you are going to allow yourself the occasional dessert you need to be prepared to counteract that food with insulin or exercise or whatever it is that you do to bring your blood sugar back down. You also have to be prepared and strong enough to say no to a second helping. So you see, even when you give yourself a little break it turns out to not really be a break at all because you have to follow it up with extra effort to stay on track and in control.
Just as you would be pleased with how your children grow when you spend time with them and put in the effort to raise them right, you will also be pleased with the results of constant controlled diabetes care. In the end it is worth it to learn the life lessons that only come from putting in the work that it takes to have great diabetes control. The result is a healthier and happier quality of life which is better than any vacation.