A few weeks ago I was invited to a session with Dr. Polonski from the Behavioral Diabetes Institute. My doctor put together a small group of his patients and invited them down to San Diego for a 3 hour session.
Dr. Polonski is a hero of mine. BDI, the group he founded, is all about dealing with the emotional and mental side of diabetes. Something that I feel very strongly about and something I think a lot of doctors ignore.
When Doctor Awesome asked me if I wanted to go I jumped at the chance. My good friend Jaimie, and fellow patient of Doctor Awesome, was also invited so we carpooled to make the 2 hour drive less painful.
It turned out that there were only 6 people invited to this thing so it was very intimate. We sat around a table in a small board room and started talking about diabetes.
Those 3 hours seemed to fly by. At first we just went around the room introducing ourselves and our connection to diabetes. It is always nice to meet other PWD’s just for that “I’m not alone” thing. Dr. Polonski asked us to say what our biggest struggle is in regards to our diabetes.
My issue is exercise. I need to do it. I know it helps but I do not have the time to do it.
Not too long after starting the session and going around the room, my doctor walks in. It was so cool to see him there. It was also very encouraging to see the look on the other patients faces when he came in. All 6 of us think he is pretty awesome.
Dr. Polonski asked Dr. Unger (aka Dr. Awesome) why he wanted to have this cognitive-behavioral therapy session with us all and said, “All of you feel like you are struggling. You all do so much already and are great patients but you feel like something is holding you back.” He went on to explain about each of our struggles and frustrations and most importantly our feeling of being overwhelmed.
We shared goals and both Doctors helped us fine tune them and identify first steps to achieving them. We discussed realistic goals for our A1C and safe ways to get there. Everything was positive. Everything was in bite sized chunks. Nothing was overwhelming. Nothing was too much. Accept to say the feeling of care. I was drowning in compassion and understanding. What a problem to have right?
The whole time we were there was comfortable. Sharing was not an issue for any of us and listening to what each other had to say was also so enlightening. There were so many “I hear ya’s” and “I’m like that too” heard it only solidified my belief that no one should go the diabetes road alone. We really do need each other.
Since that day I have been thinking about the overall take away for me. What I see is that diabetes is like a gateway to depression and it was moving in on my. I have been so overwhelmed and fell as though I am ignoring diabetes, ignoring this blog, and ignoring the DOC. My A1C was not where I wanted it the last time I had one done. I have been gaining weight and have been terribly unhappy.
Depression makes you think incorrectly. It makes you focus on only the negatives in your life. When that happens it’s impossible to do anything right. You cannot be a good person or be blessed when everything you do fails. Everything you touch falls apart. You are bad at everything and nothing will ever change. Nothing.
That’s just bullshit. I am not bad at everything and not everything in my life is awful. I have a lot to be thankful for and happy about. All of the things I want to change I can do. I just need to get started. That is a big hurdle.
“You want to start exercising right?” Dr. Polonski zeroes in on me.
“Yes I do.”
“Because a friend of mine once said that exercise is the one thing I can do to help my numbers that actually makes me fell good. Plus I want to lose some weight.”
“So what is holding you back from exercising?”
“Honestly, it’s time. I don’t have time to exercise. I am always running around doing something!”
I went on to explain how work is overwhelming. My wife is in the middle of getting her masters degree so a lot of times I am driving kids around to the things they need to get to. I lead the band at church and have rehearsals during the week. I am a co-host on a weekly blog talk radio show. I have a lot going on.
“It doesn’t sound like there is any time in there that you can move around.” It felt good to not hear someone say, THERE IS ALWAYS TIME YOU JUST HAVE TO MAKE THE TIME! Ugh.
“We need to find one step to get you closer to your goal of exercising.” He suggested I sit down with my wife and we figure out a 30 minute block of time each night for exercise. He felt that with her help we may be able to slot it into our schedules.
“That sounds perfect!”
“Ok! So when are you going to meet with her to talk about it?”
I grabbed my phone, opened my calendar, and said, “It looks like I have a moment on Tuesday night before band practice.”
After we all shared a laugh I felt so much better.
But a step nonetheless.