Diabetes, Illness, and Mental Exhaustion
Diabetes. Awww! Doesn’t that word just make you want to jump for joy? Hardly. Diabetes sucks. Diabetes is hard: hard to learn about, hard to understand, hard to control at times...just plain hard. When you live day to day with a chronic disease, it is not uncommon to become mentally exhausted. The exhaustion comes from working hard to bring the A1C into range, and finding out it isn’t. The hard work never quits but sometimes I do, especially when I am mentally and physically exhausted. Sometimes, I want to be like everyone else in the world who is not diabetic and not have to consider everything I put in my mouth.
Other health issues and type 2 diabetes
Sometimes I just say 'screw it'. I know it's not healthy or right, but sometimes, I just need a break especially when it’s made worse by another illness. Is the outlook all gloomy? No. But there are difficult times. I’m going through one right now.
My difficulty comes from a less than straightforward place. I have had some...issues...that are embarrassing over the last 3 months. I’ll give you the background so you can understand. I have had to work outside my home for the whole of the pandemic. As you can imagine, that’s stressful. I have a good employer and I have worked as safely as possible with what I needed to do the job. As time has gone on, I started to develop some illness. Oh not the big stuff, just the embarrassing stuff. I started having unexpected bouts of diarrhea in the last 3 months. Not frequent, but definitely unexpected with my diabetes as I tend to go the other way towards constipation. I deal with that frequently. My employer sent me for testing and each time the pandemic test was negative. Perfect! But I’m still dealing with diarrhea.
Next comes the yeast infection. I have a history of those. As any woman will tell you, they can be mild and easily treated, or they can be nasty as hell. Mine went to nasty. I have been dealing with this for the last 3 months. I started treating it with over the counter medication. That never did the trick. Called the doctor. He gave me some prescription medication. That never did the trick the first time either. And because of the pandemic, my doctor referred me to a gynecologist as he was doing almost all his appointments by phone. Also because of the pandemic, it could be months before I see a gynecologist. The second round of treatment did no better than the first. I’m sore and now feeling miserable and down. At that time I asked the doctor if it could be related to the one diabetic medication I take. I didn’t think the medicine started the infection but could it keep it going? To be honest, as much as I love my doctor, I was disappointed in his dismissal of my concern. By this point, I had been dealing with yeast for 2 months and no consultation with the specialist yet on the horizon.
While all this was going on, I suddenly became violently ill one morning. I needed to have my husband come home from work and an ambulance was called. It turned out ok. Wouldn’t you know it, food poisoning. Pre-packaged salmon salad, good dates, and all. Just rotten luck. By this point, I was tearful, feeling down and sorry for myself. My husband was supportive but I knew if I didn’t get some solutions soon, I might not be in the best place mentally.
Investigating the cause of my health issues
My regular appointment with my endocrinologist was coming up, also by phone. Now, this guy is a man of a few words. He’s good at his specialty but tends not to go beyond his specialty so I was hesitant to ask about the yeast but I was desperate by this point, it was now 3 months of infection with no sign of a solution. I decided to mention it. The few words became a lot of words. Yes, it is the one medicine I am on that will keep it going. Go off it for a few days, take the oral yeast medicine, wait a few more days and go back on it. Expect my sugars to rise during that time. Be diligent with healthy eating, avoiding sugars as much as possible. I wasn’t quite feeling hopeful yet. I was exhausted from work and from not feeling well for so long.
Next came the follow-up with my family doctor again. I lost my s**t. About 2 or 3 minutes into the phone call, I’m sobbing. I can barely talk. Due to the nature of the yeast, I was up at night, not able to sleep, miserable, and trying to work outside the home. My sugars were lousy at best which was also worrying me. This time, he heard me. I also suspect he did some research about my question regarding my diabetic medicines. Turns out, yeast is very common with that drug. Forget the break-in taking it, he wants me off it altogether. He changed me to a different one.
Now I’m grateful this is looking like the answer but another issue could arise out of this. In the past, my endocrinologist made it clear he was looking after diabetic medicines, not the family doctor. We were all ok with this at that time. But now? I asked if the family doctor was going to tell the endocrinologist? Not right now. Ummmm...I need more to worry about? I said that I don't want to show up to my next endocrinologist appointment with him not being aware that the medications had changed. I don’t want, nor will I be caught, between the primary care doctor and endocrinologist. (Imagine me saying this while I’m sobbing). My family doctor agreed he would notify the endocrinologist after we make sure this has solved the problem.
Mental health and type 2 diabetes
The rest of the discussion with the doctor was about my mental health. I’m exhausted, both mentally and physically. Diabetes, illness, and pandemic being the causes. With all the testing that was done between the doctors and the hospital, there is nothing to explain diarrhea except that it is stress-related. Time for a probiotic to help out. My diabetes does cause me stress and now that stress is compounded with all the rest. The yeast is also the result of stress. And my diabetes medicine is keeping it going. We came to the conclusion that my mental health will get better once I heal and feel better. I know my doctor. He won’t let my mental health go unchecked. He booked me in for our next appointment in a month. Wish me luck.
Diabetes still sucks.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your diabetes?