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Broken Biscuit Kind of Moment
It’s time to reveal some of my more dinosaur kind of sayings. Here comes the first one. Have you ever had “the biscuit?” That saying may just be a bit dated. The more up to date statement may be, “today I feel like a broken biscuit.” Either way, they mean the same thing.
If your list of hobbies includes that feeling of pushing a thousand pound boulder up a hill then you likely live with the beast of type 1 diabetes. For sure I am an optimist & left to my natural state I tend towards being pretty enthusiastic & a promoter of life lived this way. The proviso & constant however is that I have exactly zero patience for faker behaviours. That means that I detest this within myself as well as others. Faking behaviours are really a lie all dressed up so no thanks big time! That means that some days, weeks, months, periods of time in general can just plain suck whether you live with type 1 or any chronic beast. I am not about to tell anyone that my life is any better or worse than it actually is. Some people can handle the truth & some are like the characters that Jack Nicholson directs his line, “you can’t handle the truth” kind of individuals. The truth takes a strong sense of self or confidence, boldness, courage & self awareness in my experience. Additionally, in my case it takes feistiness & being real with me & others. Don’t you find that it is easy to find the people on your team cheering you on when things are going well in your life? A celebration or a party is fun yet how about those times when you need encouragement, a lift, and someone to take the other end of the boulder when you feel like a broken biscuit? How big is that crowd of people? How does it compare in size to that of the cheering, celebrating squad? My experience that the battle buddies willing to sit while I am in the broken biscuit periods of my life is tiny yet mighty. I don’t know of anyone who is built to conquer the big gut wrenching challenges of life alone. I know without a doubt that I for one was not built that way. How about you? So as always we are continuing to get real & keep that way in a determined non victim way.
Life is full of metaphors. If you live with a science or math person or are one yourself then you may be the subject of daily metaphors. That is the land I live in. I live with that type of person & it is a great balance in our home. It balances out the emotional me. Sometimes I need someone close to me that I trust 100% to help me to take an emotional breath at times. The trouble with type 1 diabetes that bugs me the greatest is the way that it plays havoc on my emotions if my blood sugars are crazy low or outrageously high. My personality swing was the biggest clue to me in the first place that something was wrong with my health that led me to go to the doctors to find out that I had type 1 in the first place. I will never forget those weeks leading up to the initial diagnoses of type 1 diabetes. My thoughts & emotions & personality in general were the polar opposite. The physical symptoms were there yet troubled me less than my (thankfully temporary) personality shift. At that point in time I loathed everyone & everything & just found everything to be pointless & pretty black & white versus the creative colour world I had always experienced. It was a miserable feeling & more than this I wondered what in the world had happened to me. I learned long ago through my counseling studies background that when the brain is supplied with a small amount of information the natural tendency is for the mind to fill in the missing information usually with incorrect data. That meant at that time my brain went to the worst possible conclusions all those years ago before I found out my true diagnoses. My mind concluded that I must have a brain tumor or be bi polar or something like that. For sure I was so exhausted from fighting continuous high blood sugars unknowingly. I was one of the lucky ones though who did not end up in the hospital in an emergency situation & find out that I had type 1. When my personality flipped I made an appointment with my doctor & she pretty much thought that I had type 2 diabetes. My first endocrinologist treated my situation like I had type 2 & I just kept getting sicker & sicker until finally it was discovered that I had type 1 all along. I will never forget the first month of knowing I officially had type 1. It was hell. If you have type 1 you will be able to relate to this. As I have shared with you previously, I was diagnosed as an adult when our youngest son was 10 months old, November 29,2007. In going through health struggles this past Christmas I reminded myself countless times that it was way better this year than Christmas 2007. Thankfully in 2007 our sons were quite young & blissfully unaware that their mommy was spending a major chunk of time “talking to Hughie on the big white phone.” My blood sugars were constantly high making for an exhausting existence together with frequent nausea leading to vomiting. I could not stay away from the big white phone long enough that year to even get the Christmas dinner in the oven so we ended up ordering greasy Chinese food. Incidentally, our sons thought this was terrific & I am forever grateful that they remember that Christmas with blissful delight. The show must go on for our kids & I did not fake my way through that Christmas but I did manage to rise above the hell of life before insulin well enough to leave our sons with great memories of each & every one of their Christmas celebrations including Christmas 2007.
How were your holidays this past December? Are you allowed to be exactly yourself whether you are well or feeling like one broken biscuit? We each answer that question for ourselves. As I have shared with you in my last couple of stories, I received bad news the last time I went to the Endo’s office. The result of that news was that I needed to come up with new & better strategies to take care of the brat of type 1. That meant that type 1 had to be in the front of my mind during December which was a major pain in the ass. It is brutal as you know keeping up with diabetes management at times when things are going smoothly. Life throws everyone curve balls. I feel the pressure of knowing that every single day for 6 months or maybe even longer my blood sugars are being evaluated by my diabetes team. (Again, please don’t get me wrong, they are a terrific team). I am fiercely independent & I really hate having to be answerable every stinking day for my blood sugar numbers. I know my team is monitoring my situation closely for my own good because of course I don’t want any more complications. And I know that now that my kidneys are flagged so to speak that I have to try to take even better care of my health management. It is tough though because it means no breaks any day from agonizing over the blood sugar numbers & what they mean. Every week I look at the data to see where it looks like my A1c is landing. It does not stay constant. I try not to beat myself up emotionally when the numbers suck. Some of my new strategies are not working. That is life with type 1. What works for a little while will not necessarily work at all later. To top it all off, our oldest son got really sick about 10 days before Christmas & as I looked after him I felt so badly for him & at the same time hoped that somehow against the odds I would not catch it from him. For people without compromised health a bad cold or flu is not a delight yet few people with otherwise good health can relate to a cold or flu turning into an emergency situation as in the case at times with type 1 diabetes. Seven days after our oldest son got sick & was on the road to recovery I got hit like a freight train with the same bug. The timing was sucky & placed a frustrating amount of pressure on my mind about how this was going to interfere with my efforts towards improving my A1C & take care of the sucky kidney situation. My blood sugars did plenty of freaking out & I tried my best to not judge my graphs during my sick days which lasted from December 22nd all the way through to December 31st. It was disappointing to not be able to do all the activities that I had planned to do with our sons over their holiday break because even afer Dec 31st I was in slow motion battling high,high blood sugars doing 15 blood tests day & night. I have over the past almost decade with life with type 1 tried to keep most of my plans for activities with our sons under wraps for as long as possible because my word is my bond so if I promise to do something with them I do it whether my blood sugars are okay or off the charts high. What I don’t do though is fake my way through. It is possible to have a great attitude yet also tell the truth about it being a brutal day with diabetes. That is what I do with our sons. They have learned compassion towards others that I see all the time & I credit that to them not being shielded from the bad diabetes days. Early on in the diabetes diagnoses I did not let on to anyone when I was having sky high blood sugars or how low can you go blood sugars. Here is the thing though…being a family means that you are a family when there are things to celebrate in life as well as the times when a family member is going through hell. It is as simple as that. I detest smoke & mirrors behaviours & dishonesty & flakiness so I am not playing that reindeer game. It is hard enough managing the beast of type 1. My sons have learned that some days can really suck however no one in our family gets to give up & they know that we each have one another’s’ backs Jack. I would hope that they would have learned that even if type 1 were not in the picture. When you live with type 1 & face the reality that insulin can sustain life or end it (so many close calls in my sleep & battle buddies who have never woken up from low blood sugars) means that there is not enough time for reindeer games, smoke & mirrors & things that simply do not matter. Broken biscuits after all are still every bit as delicious as the other ones. As a humorous aside, our sons get excited when I am making more complicated baking recipes for the first time because they know the baking that falls apart is merely a sampler. There have been times when I have purposefully broken a baked good to supply samplers for the “coyotes” awaiting one of these. There’s a great metaphor. You see, you & I may at times see ourselves as “broken biscuits” or having a broken biscuit day & yet others around us think that we are still pretty damned terrific. Our pancreas may have retired but maybe just maybe we are the ones that “get it” out there…you know what matters & what is nonsense because we have to fight for our lives literally every effing day. That is hard work. We rock if I don’t say so myself.
Blood sugars can play havoc big time on emotions. That can feel pretty messed up. High blood sugars for me fill me with thoughts like, “I am so furious about…” or “Eff off.” Since I am an adult & of course recognize that every thought that pops into my mind needs a governor I do not say those things. Instead I tell my husband & sons when I have high blood sugar that I need a self imposed time out so that I don’t say anything that would be hurtful. Then I work my butt off to bring my blood sugars back into range. That often takes hours & hours & what seems also like oceans of water to flush out any potential ketones. Equally importantly for me, I also have trained myself to stay off all forms of social media when I feel emotional due to high blood sugars. That takes discipline I have learned. You know that age old adage of trying not to make decisions when you are feeling especially euphoric or super bummed out. That is great advice. It is my hope that I learn to be neither an over promise (leading to being burned out) or an under promise (meaning not fully & passionately in love with life).
Here’s a mind bender that occurred to me this past week. Where I have been broken I have found ways to rebuild myself to be stronger than I ever was before. Prior to having type 1 it was my belief that I was built with a servant’s heart. Type 1 added to this in indescribable ways. There is a tendency for individuals to be able to talk to me heart to heart with no worry that I won’t get it. There are no barred subjects. When people around me are struggling they know that they will receive compassion & a heart to heart connection from me even on my broken biscuit days. They get to be themselves in a world that serves up the adage that we should each put on an Oscar award winning performance that everything is perfect in our lives. Now that is pressure that we can each do without. My aha moment of realizing that I am stronger even on my broken biscuit days came to me in a literally shattering moment a few days ago. Our youngest son & I had been out choosing his latest Lego Star Wars creation & 10 minutes after we arrived home we heard a mammoth crashing noise coming from our dining room. We have a built in cabinet in our dining room that had been built by one of the 7 previous owners of our home. One of the shelf brackets gave way out of the blue & half a shelf of stuff in the cabinet broke into what seemed like a zillion pieces. I realized at the moment that given my sentimental heart that some things can be broken & as strong as ever at the same time. It took several moments to come to this conclusion though. It was a huge mess & the only items that I realized that I cared about were the treasures that had a sentimental memory connection behind them. I looked at the broken floral demitasse cup and saucer that had been my Grandma’s. It was beyond repair but not gone. How could that be? The memories of having tea parties & drinking from that cup as a little girl with my cousin who is my heart’s sister along with my Grandma are always safely in my heart. My heart is strong. Things are things & that is all. Love lasts absolutely forever. My memories are the true treasure. The love is the treasure. It is strong & can never break. What a beautiful mess I cleaned up in the dining room that day. And I am one strong beautiful mess of a person too. And I am okay with this. My heart is strong & the love that I have is unbreakable.
My heart’s hope for you is that you too realize that you are strong too “broken” pancreas & all!
Shine on strong battle warriors & be gentle with yourselves as always!
The next story sharing will be Monday February 20th