Prioritizing Self-Care When So Much Gets in the Way

Last updated: December 2022

I get it: self-care is important when you have type 2 diabetes. But how do you juggle everything when there are so many other health issues you're dealing with? How do you balance self-care when so much gets in the way?

Dealing with many other health issues

Personally, I have about "five hundred twenty-five thousand" things going on right now (Rent musical reference). I had sciatica, which led to back surgery. I also have renal cell carcinoma and have 2 upcoming surgeries—pepper in some skin cancer and type 2 diabetes, which is overwhelming. In fact, self-care is the last thing on my mind some days.

Self-care is essential, and it's a struggle

I know that I must take care of myself regardless of what else is happening. And that can be the hard part. How do I watch what I eat when I'm worried I might die from cancer? How do I exercise when the pain is daily? These are things I think about quite often. I still take my medicine and try not to eat something that will throw off my diabetes management, but if I'm honest, it's a struggle.

Trusting my healthcare team

The only way I can try to practice self-care is by remaining positive, and that's hard in itself. I have to look at the future and think, "I'll still be around and have to be sure that I'm as healthy as possible in the meantime."

I know in the hospital that they'll monitor my blood glucose numbers and give me medicine, as they did when I had my back surgery. Only once did my blood sugar spike a little, which is odd since I was on a liquid diet of soup and juice. Of course, I heard that the surgery could cause glucose to rise so perhaps that was why. Either way, they looked after me.

Worried about managing while I'm home

But what about when I get home and I'm recovering? I know eating right or watching my numbers will be challenging, but I must do so. Healthy numbers are essential to healing faster. I certainly don't want a problem with my blood sugar on top of healing from my kidney tumors.

Fluctuating blood sugar could affect my second surgery, or getting back on my feet faster, which is also very important in healing.

My advice on self-care when so much gets in the way

I'm not always right, and I cannot give medical advice. Personally, I have to think more positively and know that things are going to be okay. Only then can I continue practicing self-care and keeping my body as healthy as possible - even while life throws me a curve ball.

Everyone is different, and you may have a better way of handling things. If so, I'd love to hear more about how you handle self-care when there are many competing priorities. Maybe together, we can help each other through our struggles.

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