Advocacy

Missed Target - from Jonathan Houston at jonathanhouston.co.za

We’re In This Together

The past couple weeks have been hard. Especially diabetically. I have been in the diabetes burnout funk. As any PWD can attest, when things are difficult diabetically, everything becomes more of a challenge. But I’m working through it, and this post is not going to be a gripe session. If griping got us anywhere, we’d have a cure for diabetes by now.

Missed Target - from Jonathan Houston at jonathanhouston.co.za

Diabetes control is a total moving target, and mine certainly has been lately. Predominantly, low BG’s have moved in and resulted in all the low BG fun: Shakes, sweating profusely, ravenous hunger, lack of sleep, confusion, blank outs, finding myself talking nonsense without the ability to shut up. Well, that last one really isn’t so different from a normal day, but still. I haven’t eaten glucose tabs or gel in years, but from the amount of them I’ve eaten the last couple weeks, I’m starting to think I should invest in Reli-On.

Then there are the high BG’s. The feeling like my blood has been replaced with molasses, nauseousness, and lethargic to the point that I don’t want to do squat. Thankfully, my high BG’s have a source, and are not a regular occurrence. I know it’s from eating things that aren’t smart healthy predictable. One night this past weekend, for example, I was out and got the stupid idea that I wanted a daiquiri to drink. The unimaginable and incalculable amount of sugar in it skyrocketed my BG through the roof, resulting in a semi-calculated rage bolus to get it back in range, and totally killing the point of drinking it in the first place.

I think all people, not just diabetics, want to be able to do what they want without having to analyze the decision to death. If I want pizza (which is unfortunately one of my favorite foods), I don’t want to have to count carbs so adamantly that I can’t enjoy the experience. However, to be able to enjoy other experiences, I do have to carefully count those carbs. It’s a vicious circle, and I know that choosing to be complacent in my diabetes management now would absolutely result in longer term complications down the road. We’ve all heard these lectures ad nauseum.

Not to get pleasure from someone else’s pain, but I’m not alone in this struggle, and that helps. Kerri (@sixuntilme) writes about similar diabetes challenges from her perspective of being a Mom. Sarah (@Sarah_IGTS) writes in her post “Holding On” about how we have to remember the big picture to keep us from wanting to just stop caring so much. Kelly (@diabetesalic) writes about seasonal high BG’s and the challenge to keep things in range.

We are all challenged from time to time, and all the time, with diabetes, regardless of what type we are. But as I said earlier, this post is not a gripe session. I’m reminded when I finally open up enough of just how much support is out there when a day, a few days, or even a few weeks do not go my way. We have people close to us who won’t let us not love ourselves because the amount of love that they have for us. We have the motley crew that is the DOC. We also have DSMA, where we see that there are others who are also having both awesome and awful days just like us, further demonstrating that we are never alone in this struggle.

That is something I can lean on and am thankful for. None of us has to go through these challenges alone.

I also find that laughter helps. I love to make people laugh. And as Bill Cosby said, “Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.

Diabetes Blue Circle

What’s Up DOC?

So here I am with my first post on the new dblog. I’ve been sharing with the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) on Twitter so much lately I almost find myself throwing in # and @ signs in random sentences. It’s good to finally have a home built where I can stretch my thoughts out longer than 140 characters.

You can read the About Me section, and learn a little about me and my pump, Gort. Diabetes is a big part of my life, whether I like it or not. Whether ANYBODY likes it or not. I grew up with it being so taboo, so I am really thankful to now live in a world where I can be right out in the open about it. I feel like people see a needle, or a blood test kit, or vial of insulin, and without knowing specifically what those things are all about at that moment, they don’t immediately think you are a drug addict like it was when I was a kid.

I was in elementary school during the Reagan era, and Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign on TV had the ever present images of needles and drug paraphernalia.

Nancy Reagan and the "Just Say No" CampaignImages of Just Say No

They would of course show these commercials during Saturday morning cartoons, exposing everyone to it, and beating into kids’ brains “Don’t use drugs!” Then I would show up at school, and someone would get sight of my syringes and vials, and game over…I was a drug user. Kids can be so cruel.

Maybe now I just have a lot more confidence, but I feel like the world has changed and matured. Today I can do a blood test right out in the middle of everyone, and I might get some side glances, but mostly people are just curious. I love that, and I love sharing and educating when they have questions. My favorite is when someone asks me right before I prick my finger if it hurts and I tell them no, prick my finger, and then scream bloody murder. That usually results in a laugh or two.

On top of that, the insulin pump (oh, the wonderful, wonderful pump!) has revolutionized diabetes even more by totally taking away the need to carry around syringes and vials anymore. It makes all of us T1’s so…free. We might still have to carry around a backpack full of other things, but it bids farewell to the days of having to ask a family member or close friend to stand in front of me while I draw my insulin out of the vial and shoot up.

This dblog is another voice, and another opportunity to bring diabetes out of the shadows. We can be diabetic, and do not have to be ashamed or feel we are less than anyone else, not ever. We don’t have to look in the mirror and see a broken machine. We may not have an automatic transmission like some people, but we can drive a manual transmission just fine. We have the technology, we have the science. We can do this!

And we will…every day…until there is a cure.

Diabetes Blue Circle