Tuesday, July 28, 2015

10 Insanely Good (and True) Things About Diabetes

So I hadn't realized that all 10 of my Insane (but True) Things About Diabetes focused on negative aspects until I read the great comment left by Sharon C
Can't tell you how many times I've nearly had to carry my kiddo out of Target. And at least once I put her in the cart (a tiny aged 12 chickie) and pushed her to the car. WTF?!! Sooo true. Don't get me started on IKEA. Glad you put out this post! Next post: 10 insanely good (but true) things that've come from having Diabetes. Can you do it? Are there 10?
Thank you, Sharon C, for really giving me something to think about.  After all, if the tagline of my blog is “life with diabetes isn’t all bad” I guess I’d better be prepared to back that up.  But are there 10?  That many might be tough, but I’m certainly not one to back down from a challenge.  So here we go!
  1. It’s taught me not to back down from a challenge.  What?  I just said that in my intro?  Well, I suppose it bears repeating.  Yes, diabetes can be really hard sometimes.  But giving up isn’t an option.  So we rise to the challenge time and again  and learn to never back down.  And that can carry over to other parts of our lives as well.
  2. Sometimes candy is medicine.  Low blood sugars generally are no fun.  But the bright side is that sometimes they give me an excuse to indulge in a yummy treat.  Jelly beans at Easter time.  Candy corn during Halloween.  Cotton candy at a fair.  I have to, my blood sugar is low.  (Also it can give me an excuse not to share my treats!!)
  3. Playing the D -Card / Sympathy.  Okay, I don’t do this a lot.  And it really isn’t anything to be proud of.  But every so often, I play the Diabetes Card.  I’ve been known to exaggerate low symptoms so my husband will do the dishes while I lay on the couch.  Hey, if I’m stuck with this chronic illness, I might as well reap a few benefits every once and a while.  (But please don’t tell Pete!!)
  4. That moment when I think my sugar is sky high, and I check it and I’m right in range.   This one is really hard to explain if you don’t have diabetes.  But if you do, maybe you know what I mean.  The feeling you get when you think your meter will throw you an icky high  number, and instead it throws you a really great one?  It is wonderful!
  5. Diabetes has helped me find a voice.   I was the shy girl in school who never raised my hand to answer questions.  I had a really hard time making friends.  I still often feel like that shy girl, but diabetes has helped me break out of my shell quite a bit.  I blog about the details of my diabetes life.  I speak up at diabetes conferences.  I go to D.C. every year to meet with our Representatives to lobby for government funding of diabetes research.  Not bad for a shy girl!
  6. Nailing the bolus for Chinese food. Or Mexican food.  Or any food that is tricky to bolus for.  When I indulge and my bolus works out perfectly, it’s a reason to celebrate!
  7. Diabetes makes me strong.  You know those 10 Insane Things?  Dealing with them gives me a strength I never would have found otherwise.
  8. Getting 100 on my meter.  Did you know that when you test your blood sugar and the number is a perfect 100, somebody has to give you $1.00?  It’s true, and you’d better believe I’ve collected $1 from my husband for each and every 100.  (Last night when I checked before bed, the meter flashed a 101.  Damn, so close but yet so far.  Oh, but we’re focusing on the good today . . . )
  9. Diabetes has taught me to be prepared and organized.  Am I OCD because it’s in my  nature?  Or is it because I need to have my shit together if I want to live?  After 35+ years with diabetes, I guess I’ll never know.  But I’ve always got stuff in my purse to treat lows.  I make notes on my calendar to remind me to refill prescriptions and change my sites.  I have spare rolls of test strips in my purse, in my meter case, in my dresser drawer and in a living room drawer.  I have backup syringes and long acting insulin and my pump settings have been uploaded to Carelink.  Well prepared and organized?  I am, because my life could literally depend on it.  (And this OCDedness spills over to life beyond diabetes too, and that generally helps my life run more smoothly.)
  10. The Diabetes Online Community!!  By far the very best thing about having diabetes is the friendships I have made because of it.  I’ve made some of the best friends of my life after finding the DOC and I don’t know what I’d do without the understanding and support I’ve found.  I know someone has always got my back, and I’ve got their backs too.  Most of my DOC friendships have carried over into real life, and have helped me make a bunch of fantastic local diabetes friends as well.  So without a doubt, the friendships I have forged through our shared condition is the very most Insanely Good (and True) Thing About Diabetes!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

10 Insane (but True) Things About Diabetes . . .

I’ll admit that my blogging mojo seems to be on Summer Vacation.  Try as I might, I can’t come up with anything to write about.  So in a moment of desperation (because OMG if I don’t blog about diabetes they might take it away from me)  (also, wouldn’t that be GREAT???) . . . anyway, in a moment of desperation I turned to Blog Topic Generators.  I didn’t really have high hopes that this would solve my problem but I typed in the word “diabetes” and hit the button.  To my surprise, a few fun ideas popped up!

Tango-Crazy-210 Insane (but True) Things” caught my eye right away.  Because really, diabetes is pretty insane, right?   So here are my 10.  Maybe you’ll find yourself nodding along.  Or maybe you’d like to add a few that I missed.  Or maybe you randomly stumbled across my blog, in which case I hope I’ve helped you learn some insane (but true) diabetes facts.

  1. The very medication that saves my life can very easily kill me.  -  What kind of sick joke is this, right?  Without a steady stream of insulin, I will die.  But dosing a bit too much insulin can also be lethal.
  2. Strangers (and  even people I know) seem to think it’s perfectly fine to tell me “diabetes horror stories”. - I really don’t understand what makes it okay to tell me about relatives with limbs chopped off or blindness or failed kidneys.  Sometimes I wonder if people do this for other illnesses too?  “Oh, colon cancer.  My grandmother had that and they removed part of her large intestine and she had to have a colostomy bag!”.  Please tell me people don’t say things like that - and please make them stop doing it about diabetes.
  3. When things go wrong, I get blamed. - The blame.  Oh the blame!!!  It sucks.  Blood sugars out of range?  Diabetes complications?  Must be because you aren’t taking care of yourself.  Again I have to ask if people do this with other illnesses?  “My uncle had skin cancer on his nose and they operated and it destroyed his salivary glands and for the rest of his life he couldn’t eat and was fed protein shakes through a feeding tube.  But, you know, he was a landscaper so he was in the sun all day long, so he really brought it on himself.”  Nobody would ever say that about skin cancer, right?  (Oh I sincerely hope not!!)  But it’s okay to tell a horror story with a side of blame about diabetes?  Come on, can we PLEASE stop doing this??
  4. Even though diabetes is an incurable chronic illness, people will tell me how to cure it. - Let’s hear it for the wonder cures!!  Cinnamon, okra, magic herbs, dancing naked under a full moon.  Once, while buying a JDRF sneaker at a pharmacy, the cashier proceeded to tell me that there is a cure for Type 1 in Europe and why I didn’t just go there?  I shutter to think what a statement like that does to the fundraising efforts . . . .  donate to Sneakers for the Cure?  No, just go to Europe!!
  5. I can be fine, and five minutes later I can be totally incoherent.  - Sometimes it’s scary how fast and severe a low can come on.  Toss in my hypoglycemic unawareness and the chance that I’ll randomly lose my ability to function at any point in the day increases.  Especially if I’m shopping at Target, am I right?
  6. The results often do not equal the effort. - I can do the exact same thing at the exact same time two days in a row, and go way high one day and way low the next.  Or I can have a day when I try really hard and still have crap blood sugars.  And I can totally half-ass diabetes management one day but find myself solidly in range.  Makes no sense!  It can also make motivation really hard to find sometimes.
  7. There is no finish line in diabetes and I can’t EVER have a day off.  - Yes, I know, this is what puts the “chronic” in “chronic illness”.  But think about it.  Since 1979, I’ve dealt with a condition that needs almost constant attention and is affected by a million different factors.  SINCE 1979!!!!  Not a single day off.  I did it yesterday.  I’ll do it today.  I’ll be doing it again tomorrow, and next week, and next year.  Frankly, if I think about this too much, it’s exhausting.
  8. Diabetes is hard on my body.  -  I have callouses on my fingertips from repeatedly lancing them to draw blood to check my glucose.  Every three days I jab the needle of an infusion set into my skin.  Every six days I do the same with my continuous glucose monitor.  For my first 28 years with diabetes, syringes were stabbed into me at least once a day and often almost a dozen times daily.  Bruises and scar tissue and red marks abound.  Medical devices must hang from even the most chic of outfits.  And let's not forget the toll diabetes takes on me internally, to my eyes and my heart and my nerves and every part of me.
  9. Diabetes is even harder on my mind. - The blame from Item 3?  It doesn’t just come from the outside world.  It also come from me.  When things go wrong I’m the first to blame myself.  Now let’s mix in some fear from Items 1 and 5.  Toss in some distorted body image from Item 8.  And let’s not forget some WTFedness from Items 6 and 7.  Mix it all together and it brings me to Item 10 . . . . which is . . . .
  10. Diabetes is just insanely hard.