How does your stress influence your diabetes and vice versa?
It’s a question that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. Why? I was invited by my friend who teaches an undergraduate class on the Psychology of Stress and Relaxation to come and speak to the class. They’re currently talking about the psychophysiology of stress and the relationship between stress and illness/chronic conditions. I was invited to share my personal experiences with diabetes and stress.
I actually have a lot to say on the topic, but as I was writing up my talking points, I realized that a lot of the stress that I have around my diabetes is this underlying constant stress. It’s the every day worry about my blood sugar control, dealing with the highs and lows, worrying about the long term complications, coping with the unknowns and unexpectedness of the disease. It’s the stress of constant vigilance, alertness, and preparedness.
And as I’ve lived with diabetes longer, what may have originally caused more stress and anxiety, is now just part of what it means to live with diabetes.
But of course, the day before I am scheduled to talk with the class, I had a truly stressful, out-of-the-norm experience.
I keep all the supplies that I need to change my infusion set in a small blue pouch. Inside I keep a couple reservoirs, infusion sets, the inserter, a vial of insulin, test strips and a couple batteries for my pump. I usually keep the pouch in my work bag or workout bag and take it with me for any overnight stays or long days away from my apartment. In the 15 years I’ve had diabetes, I’ve never lost or misplaced this vitally important pouch….until today.
I was busy getting my bags ready for work this morning, I knew I would be running out of insulin sometime during work today so I made sure my blue diabetes supply pouch was packed. However I couldn’t find it. I searched frantically through all my bags, my closet, all around my room and apartment. I went out of my car, no luck. Inside I was mildly panicked, but I remembered that I had taken the pouch in my boyfriend’s car on Saturday so I thought maybe I had left it there. It was 8 am on Tuesday. I’m going out of town on Thursday so if it truly was lost, I would need to have a new inserter overnight shipped to me so that I would have it before I left town.
I sent my boyfriend about 6 frantic texts. But as expected, he didn’t answer. It just so happened that my boyfriend had the day off today and I was sure that he was sleeping in. Since he keeps his phone silenced in a different room, I knew he wouldn’t answer my texts or calls until he woke up…whenever that would be.
“It’s not here.”
After making sure that he had thoroughly searched his car and apartment, I was ready to place the order and pay the extra cost for the inserter to be shipped overnight.
“I’m going to your apartment to look. You probably didn’t look that well since you were in a rush this morning.”
How could I say no to such a generous offer? However now I was really starting to worry that the inserter wouldn’t ship in time to get here by tomorrow if I had to order it. “Hurry!”
I waited anxiously for some good news.
“Wtf it’s not here.”
Ugh. My finger was hovering over the “place order” button online. With that confirmation, I clicked the button. I thanked my boyfriend for his thoughtfulness and his attempt to find it. It was unfortunate to have to pay $15 in shipping, but hey, you have to do what you have to do for your health.
Literally 2 minutes later…
“Omg” “I found it!”
Of course. Turns out, as my boyfriend was leaving, he almost tripped on a random paper bag on the floor and felt something inside. Sure enough, the blue pouch was inside the paper bag. I must have thrown it in there when I was getting out of his car over the weekend and completely forgot about it. I was so relieved! I needed that inserter to be able to change my set and now I wouldn’t have to worry about it getting here on time.
I kept the other order so I would have a back up so I could avoid a future situation like this, but called the company and had it changed to the free standard shipping.
Talk about a stressful morning though! At least I have a story to tell tomorrow to the class!