Our Diabetes/365 Community IS our cuppa!
And Then There Were Two
The grid. Have you ever fallen off “the grid” for a brief or extended time? It is pretty seldom that I fall off the grid completely with the exception to that month & a half each winter on purpose. The grid I am referring to is the support that has made all the difference in the world I have found over the past few years. It is the one that lets each one of us know that we are not alone in “this.” “This” of course is diabetes. Specifically the grid is most often the DOC or diabetes online community that I am big time grateful to be plugged into. A few times I have shared with you that finding another person living with type 1 diabetes that is an adult in person is a lot like playing a game of Where’s Waldo. The thing is that the population of Canada is roughly 35 million & approximately 300,000 people ranging in ages from infancy to adulthood in this country have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. What are the chances then of meeting up with another person who is an adult then in person here living with type 1 diabetes. I am certain that if I posed that question to my mathie husband he would gift me with a gnarly looking math equation with a pretty accurate answer. I am kind of ok with a guesstimate on that question though with an answer of less than a 1% chance at best. A couple of years into having type 1 diabetes I tried to improve my odds of meeting & hopefully making friends with another adult type 1 person by being active in my local JDRF Chapter. I met lots of incredible kids who were growing up way too fast because of this beastly disease & their parents & some teens but I remained the outlier being the lone adult coming out to events. Countless times I was asked by parents of newly diagnosed children which one of our 3 sons was the one with type 1. Each time I was met with shock when I responded that none of our sons have type 1 & that it is in fact me that has it & that I got it as an adult. It can be tricky meeting other adults who have type 1 in my experience at least where I live. Being a stubborn rascal though doesn’t hurt sometimes as I have the tendency to never throw in the towel. What I have come to learn in life is that searching for friends just plain does not work out well at least for me. On the other hand if I just go out into the world prepared to offer my own friendship & be friendly it is like a magnet. I guess one way is more from the stance of wanting something for me & the other is being ready to offer kindness to someone else. The second way rightfully results in friendship & when I least expect it I happen upon this precious treasure.
This past week was a rare time when I fell off the grid in a conflicted way. Do you know that feeling when you want support & encouragement & for others to care when you are having a hellish time with diabetes? Have you seen that popular meme out there that has a cartoon like picture on it with the person looking absolutely exasperated & it reads, “I am tired of your shit diabetes.” Truthfully, diabetes beat the crap out of me last week. It took everything that I had to just fight that beast last week. Life goes on though & while I was doing that the juggling of family commitments continued. My blood sugars were scary high for 9 continuous days & nights. I did the usual change out infusion sets, try a different bottle of insulin, change my basal profile but it did not seem to matter how much insulin I took…I just did not get to the magical number. The strange thing was that I was not “sick” with something else like a cold or something like that. It was just one of those series of mysteries like the diabetes triangle. Finally 2 days ago just as mysteriously my blood sugars turned around. During the nine days of walking through the diabetes triangle of mysterious crazy high blood sugars our middle son made a bunch of new friends. I am happy that our house is one that each of our sons’ friends gravitate towards (probably due to the smell of homemade chocolate chip cookies wafting into the street ha! ha!). I will level with you though…those 9 days the timing for the pretty much constant ringing of the phone & door bell were brutal. Sometimes you “play in pain” & just carry on because that’s what you have to do. The kids are young only once & summer is short & diabetes…well diabetes & its associated shit (pardon my French) is here to stay until there is a freaking cure. Diabetes robs me of many things however it will not rob our children my feisty rascal self feels. Meanwhile I felt conflicted emotionally because a part of me desperately wanted to share with my battle buddies on the DOC that I was feeling run over by a Sherman Tank with the crazy high blood sugars & I knew they would get it & would have encouraging words, some words of humour & that I would not need to feel so isolated. The other part of me though felt like I was feeling so physically & emotionally beaten up by the sustained high sugars that I was so negative & so not myself. I hate not feeling like myself & diabetes has that ability to do that I have found during sustained high blood sugars. Not being myself turned out in the beginning to be my biggest clue that something serious was wrong with me physically in the few weeks leading up to me finally going to the doctors & finding out I had type 1 diabetes in November of 2007. It is nice getting that warm, fuzzy feeling when many people (with diabetes as well as people without diabetes) have said to me that they appreciate my positive attitude as well as the feisty determination. I have even had people say to me when I share that I am being beaten up by diabetes that they find that hard to believe & that my positive outlook will get me through. Have you ever had those times in life where you kind of don’t want to hear that though? How about those times when day after day high blood sugars are knocking you on your butt & the accompanying physiological & emotional tanks are hitting you on either side? This was one of those times & really I did not want to bring others around me down with how beaten up I was feeling so I got quiet. I don’t do that very often & thankfully I don’t tend to have high blood sugars for no reason for this length of time. I have a hunch about what is going on but it frankly does not do me much good. It is I believe hormones associated with the phases that we go through as gals & finding help on that one has been a dead end road. It creates a belief in me that I may need to pursue a continuous glucose monitor possibly since my blood sugars are becoming more & more erratic…some weeks being low for days on end & other weeks crazy high for days on end with no clue as to when the coaster will take off in one direction or another. The patterns are erratic so making sense of it all is tough. Yes, I am tired of your shit diabetes. I am tired of it for my family & for my friends living with diabetes & for me. While I have not grown tired of “Angus” my insulin pump, I feel sick & tired of hearing about more devices in the works versus a freaking cure. The high blood sugars for some reason must have stressed out other parts of my flawed autoimmune system so I also ended up in excruciating abdominal pain as well as a major painful psoriasis flare up. The swear jar at our place filled up a lot over the past week & a half truthfully. Would it be entirely wrong to take the contents of the jar & go out & celebrate the conclusion of this stint of high blood sugars?
Okay, so here is the end of the crabby part of this week’s story & here beginneth the cool news. I believe in happy endings so there will be one…yes there will be every time! The diabetes triangle of high blood sugar funky stuff began to lift in the middle of afternoon tea last Friday with some dear heart friends. Over our tea & laughs & being real the fog of high sugars lifted finally. Thank you blood sugar fairies. Sometimes 3-5 pots of tea with just the perfect, special company is medicinal I believe because somehow my blood sugars went to the beautiful 5-7 (Canadian measures) range & touch wood have remained mostly in that range for a few days now. That is sweet mercy to me. You will know exactly what I mean if you live with the beast of diabetes too. About 15 minutes after my special dear heart friends left, our middle son returned from a short amount of time at our local youth centre with yet another new friend at our place. The friend ended up staying until a wee bit past dark so I told him that as a mom I could not let him walk home on his own in the dark. Our 2 younger sons & I walked the new friend home. Once we got to his place I introduced myself to his parents. And there it was! The friend’s mom was wearing an insulin pump! Within exactly 1 minute of meeting one another we were hugging one another & stating that we were in a secret kind of club…you know the pumpers are us club. And like all club members the words that other people would have deemed as personal questions were out there with no discomfort whatsoever. Within 5 minutes we each knew when we were each diagnosed, whether we used the cgm, the names of our endos, the location of our diabetes centres, the control challenges of blood sugars and best of all without saying the words we smiled knowing that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. It was a relief for both of us to see that “waldo” was living within walking distance. It turns out that my new battle buddy aka Waldo also was diagnosed as an adult with type 1 as well. Now that is truly a rare situation & that is beyond cool. And then there were two. (Waldo One & Waldo Two). How cool is that although I felt conflicted about reaching out to another person with diabetes for support & fell off the support grid, somehow against the odds a piece of community ended up coming to me. This has also acted as a catalyst to remind me that the “me too” feeling is indescribably precious & that I miss all my battle buddies on the Doc & will accordingly get myself back on the grid. It is time to get back on the grid where it is not a “where’s Waldo” feeling but rather “I’ve got your back” feeling. There are no words appreciative enough to describe that. And I will bring my new Waldo with me because friendship multiplies when shared…that is a mathematical fact!
My heart’s hope for you is that whether you too fall off the grid from time to time or not that you always have the support & encouragement of this precious diabetes community of battle buddies who have your back too!
Smiles, Saundie :)
May your circle of friends be ever growing. Have a gentle week & next Monday’s story is a wee bit of a change up as I release/share something that I usually hold close to the vest. Next Monday's story is "Sometimes You Need a Little...Sometimes You Need a Lot" :)