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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in April of 1980. I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. I hope to share my struggles, my successes, and everything in between.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Angry at logging

I did so well for so long - then just stopped.

I'm not exactly sure why it happened or how it happened, but I just stopped logging.

I went for about two and a half months, logging consistently almost every day. Weekends were hit or miss, but the weekdays were all good all the time. Uh, not necessarily good blood sugars mind you - but whatever they were, they were being logged.

Recognizing that the simple act of logging improves my control, I set up my weekly action plan for last week with my therapist:

what: to log a complete day 3 days out of the next 7
when: starting right now
confidence: 10

Seven days went by and I logged two and a half of them. And I was really pissed off about it. I could not identify what about it was pissing me off. I was very surprised by this, and it caught me completely off guard.

Was it the logging itself or the fact I had to keep track of everything? You know - I had to keep close enough track of things to be able to write them down accurately. Why should that bother me when I already have to keep close enough track of things to be able to bolus accurately?

Ah-ha!

I had become the king of SWAG and LADCS bolusing!! In other words, not taking good care of myself. Being lazy with the carb counting and doing too much estimating and not enough hard core counting.

But what set it off and why was I so bothered by it for those 2.5 days?

I think that I don't like to log stuff that I know is not good for me. I also don't like to log stuff that I find hard to quantify. Like when I eat a bunch of junk food and don't like being honest with myself about exactly how much I've eaten. What good does that do?

I think that it bothers me that when I decide to have something like Doritos or some other chips that I have to count or weigh them. So instead, I will take a good sized bolus, eat whatever, then wait for it all to wash out of my system and adjust for it later (by either correcting for a high or eating more for a low). Maybe it comes down to not wanting to feel limited by a certain serving size? I mean, how exactly do you bolus for something you have no idea how much of you're going to eat? Christ, even that sentence is jumbled, much less the scenario I'm trying to describe! But you get what I'm trying to say.

You sit down with this big ass bag of chips, with no real thought of how much you plan to eat because you have no plan. But that just can't work with diabetes.

That's just one aspect of it - the point is that I have felt very angry at the thought of logging everything. Where is that coming from? What's it all about?

How do I move past the recognition that I'm angry about it, and start uncovering why I'm angry about it? That's the part I'm having trouble with - uncovering why I'm feeling these things. The recognition is great - a step in the right direction. But what is the next step? So what - I recognize that I'm angry about it. Now what?

I have to be Ok with logging - for me, it's an important part of control - so I have to figure out how to deal with these emotions and get back to a place where I'm comfortable with it.

Preferably at a place where I've worked through the powerful emotions and have a better understanding of myself. Maybe even working towards some sort of balance and acceptance.

10 Comments:

Blogger Violet said...

Hello from another nonlogger. From my perspective, 2.5 days out of the last 2.5 MONTHS would be an achievement.

For my part, anger over logging has a lot to do with my resistance to structure. An enforced structure that is not of my own inventiom causes me to feel hemmed in, stressed, uncreative, and pissed off. Are you familiar with the Myer Briggs personality type indicator? There's a pretty good introduction to it at http://www.personalitypage.com/info.html.

Among other things, this system identifies folks as naturally thriving in an environment with more structure (the MBTI calls these folks J) or less structure (knows as P). This P/J business is an inborn trait, a brain chemistry thing. Both types of people need the freedom to create a structure that works for them as individuals. But in a pinch, your J is gonna adapt to rigid systems much more readily than your P.

I'm a P. Maybe you are too. When a person is forced by a situation to work against their type, stress often results. (Yeah, it's also a growth opportunity, but who wants to HAVE to grow ALL the time? Bah.)

I have a theory that diabetes frustrates both J and P folks, just in different ways. Maybe I'll post about this sometime.

Second thought about anger: you wonder why. To me, of COURSE you are angry. Our entire (American, highly consumptive) culture of food is based on the very vision you describe: plopping down with a bag of salty crunchy food and eating as much as you want, plus a fair bit more, whenever you feel like it. This is comfort and bliss, American style.

You and I can't do that without experiencing a variety of negative consequences. And that's a pisser, plain and simple. It denies us a pleasure that our culture conditions us to feel we deserve and, moreover, need. If we deny the realities of our disease and indulge, we get to feel crappy later in various ways, physical and mental.

This, to me, is a loss worth acknowledging.

I don't know what your therapist would say to this, but when I feel emotions that puzzle or frustrate me a lot, I've become a fan of observing them for a while. Not trying, necessarily, to stamp them out or eradicate or work through them. Just watching myself in a thoughtful and respectful way as I feel the feeling. Sometimes this means entering more deeply/fully into the emotion, knowing that this can be done temporarily and taking care to ensure that I do so in a way that will not cause harm to others.

I don't mean wallow in it or adapt it as a permanent stance toward the disease. I doubt that would serve you. But maybe there's a way to observe the anger, allowing it to exist, thinking also about food and its symbolism and how hard it feels to be restricted in this area.

I stole the above from Thomas Moore, the Care of the Soul guy, so if any of it works for you you may want to read his book.

4:45 AM  
Blogger Michko said...

Hey, Scott. I'm a logger. Was obsessive about it while I was pregnant and then abruptly stopped after the baby was born. Discovered I was going quickly back to my pre-diabetes habits and decided that in order to have more control I must log.

However, when I'm bad (like now as I munch on M&Ms) I will not log nor test. I share your frustration with not being able to just sit down and eat whatever the heck I want whenever the heck I want. Any pre-meal "snack" gets lobbed in with my dinner carbs and I wind up with an elevated post-prandial. I tend to be pretty good up until dinner time when all Hell breaks loose and I eat everything in sight.

For me, I'm not angry at the logging because it really does help me keep some control and does help me see any trends (although I can look back at my meter for a graph looking at my log seems to be easier).

You have to take baby steps, though. When I first started logging again I would wake up one morning and say "My goal today is to test after every meal." I had to take it day by day. I had to do that for several days in a row before I could up the ante and say, Ok, now my goal is to test every day this week.

Don't be so hard on yourself.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Maura said...

Dear Scott. I am with you. I really don't like logging. I am doing a pretty good job with carb counting but feel quite limited by it all. I feel like I can't eat good food because it is harder to know the carbs. I am not into junk food but I am into sweets and pastries and when you go to your local pastry shop, the pastry you get could be anywhere between 40 - 80 carbs. How can you know??? But does that stop me? No. I also tend to want to put a positive spin on what I am eating so it is harder to log the 3 pieces of chocolate cake I had when I was low. One thing I would suggest is not to buy the large bag of Chips or whatever but to buy the small bags - they often come in a plastic sleeve. Then you can eat as many bags as you want and count how many bags went into the trash and you will have a more accurate count.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Rob said...

I'm an obsessive-compulsive logger. Used to have problems with it (the same way as you, Scott) but what got me over the hump was being detached about it. I don't try to do any analysis while I log, I just document what happened without beating myself up about the lazy counting or other half-assed bolusing that I tend to do.

1:22 PM  
Blogger J said...

God your brain is definatly a male version of mine.. ugh I was sitting at Joslin yesturday and thinking shit I have to see the docs and I dont have enough documentation.. and one of the first things they say to me is you need to document better .. ugh it is just more time out of the day to stop and right every morsel that enters the mouth.. this is something I always am thinking . Thanks for the post

1:59 PM  
Blogger Kerri. said...

Scott, my name is Kerri and I am a Non-Logger.

I am absolute crap at keeping logbooks. When I was a little kid, my mother and I were filling out the logbook the night before Joslin appointments, making sure to switch pens to make it look "authentic," but my doctor always knew because the most recent day was always the first entry. Blew our cover every time.

The only thing that helps me is computer software. I have the One Touch Ultra Smart, so the option to load in carbs and boluses and exercise stuff is there. Then I just plug it into the computer and download the information. Great system if I remember to update the meter. Crap system if I just test and toss the meter back into my bag.

I am sure that you can stick with the goal plan you established with your therapist. I'm rooting for you from RI!

10:54 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Hi Scott

I have the same problem. Sometimes I am good at logging other time I suck. I have been diabetic for 30 of my 34 years. I have a couple of things that I have found help me... I log the insulin dose required rather than my reading - not sure why this helps - just does. Also I circle and place a question mark by highs that a can't explain ie if I binged I don't offer an explaination (I already gave myself a guilt trip)

2:26 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Hi Scott

I have the same problem. Sometimes I am good at logging other time I suck. I have been diabetic for 30 of my 34 years. I have a couple of things that I have found help me... I log the insulin dose required rather than my reading - not sure why this helps - just does. Also I circle and place a question mark by highs that a can't explain ie if I binged I don't offer an explaination (I already gave myself a guilt trip)

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Jim said...

Hi,

My name is Jim and I am a non-logger. I have been satisfied lately with a few sticky notes left around my kitchen like: "take 26 units of Lanuts" and "don't over treat your lows" & "don't over correct before bed stupid!". I know that I should log because it is hard to recall what happened even yesterday without checking my freestyle meter's memory. For now, I am just writing these reminders on stickys. I have been diabetic a long time, but I am new to taking care of myself in any way shape or form over the pat five months... I am glad you talk about the mental stress here - all this work does take a toll in that department. I am trying to deal with that just as much as the carb counting I am finding. I really like your blog. Thanks.

11:35 AM  
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2:29 AM  

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