Our Diabetes/365 Community IS our cuppa!
There are dark things in life that can be magnificent like bold, full bodied, spoon dissolving, strong black coffee (with Beaver Valley Honey) & delicious dark chocolate (Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups). And a double espresso at exactly 2pm is medicinal I find. A dark night’s sky with a full moon in the forefront is a vision as well. And they say that in order to appreciate the light first you face the dark. There can be much darkness living with a chronic disease or 4 however the antidote is present as well. You already know my feisty views on free will. You know that I am vehemently opposed to victim mentality or the pity party for one. My motto is to jump over hurdles or through them or whatever with feisty free will. Some days we may feel physically stronger than others. There is no point in denying that the struggle is there but we are strong rascals right.
Of course no one enjoys getting even a temporary illness much less something more permanent. If you live with type 1 you will know exactly what it feels like when a temporary illness surfaces on top of the already pain in the ass that diabetes serves up. My sick day management is less than stellar although I work like hell to improve my “scores” during sick days. I am one fortunate rascal to have the diabetes health team that I do & I do not take that for granted. For instance during my follow up appointments with both my endocrinologist & my diabetes centre nurse & dietician I received nothing but encouragement. Thank goodness for big & small mercies because left to my own devices I would be very critical with my diabetes management (well really the results). As I mentioned in a previous story my A1C started with a 7 this time around. That bugs the hell out of me honestly. There is something seriously ominous about the 7% & above A1C numbers for me. (Everyone is a beautiful original so the A1C goal that you & your doctor have will be specific to you.) Early on it was drilled into me by my first diabetes care team (not the same one as I have now) that 7% and above placed me in the danger zone of complications. Of course that scared the hell out of me. And yes, this writing piece has more swear words in it likely than all my other ones combined because my blood sugar is sitting at 15 (Canadian measures) & that is after 2 corrections so my level of frustration with sick day management is approaching the red zone. How about though when you receive a very human response? My endo. literally told me to stop beating myself up about the results of my sick day management when I had been sick for a full month. She commended me on not having to be hospitalized or having anything beyond trace ketones. That was refreshing. She knows that I work my ass off at fighting the battle with diabetes daily. How great not to have to feel like I am in the defense box, penalty box, principal’s office or in the “comfie chair” (reference Monty Python). (Why? Humour matters…it really does) (And no one enjoys “the Spanish inquisition…again Monty Python reference intended). As a sidebar, when my husband was in his last year of University, the school added a huge building called the “William Davis Centre.” It was a freaky looking building with a massive library that had wonderfully old smelling books & the best coffee on campus. It also sported rooms with wing back chairs randomly & strangely placed that my then boyfriend (now husband) & I referred to as the “comfie chair room” that was meant for interrogation. Humour matters. Comfie chairs represented the threat of interrogation from that point forward ha ha. Now back to the present. My appointment with my diabetes centre nurse & dietician was 2 weeks after my endo appointment & again I received encouragement. I am grateful big time to have a team of diabetes health care workers that treat me like I am not a deli number. It is a human experience & I appreciate this. We are on the same side & that matters. It is difficult enough battling the beast of type 1 frankly without having to “sit in the comfie chair” during appointments. My team know that I am an overachiever by nature so if my numbers suck that simply means that had I not been working my guts out my number would have been big time worse. More times than I can count I have reminded myself to stop beating myself up. That is a work in progress. I am number fixated. I did not use to be prior to type 1 diagnosis. The dark side of diabetes are the thoughts that are always simmering in the back of my mind about complications. That scares the hell out of me. Why would it not. The thing is though that I keep those thoughts at the back versus the forefront of my mind because if I am already working my guts out then fixating on the worse that can happen could potentially take over my life. I will not let that happen. Diabetes takes enough already so rascal me just plain moves on to a place of greater light by choice.
Have you found yourself super sensitive to media out there that refers to type 1 diabetes? My experience is that most often popular media gets type 1 wrong but sometimes the content is pretty accurate. Two recent experiences of the dark side of diabetes come readily to mind. One is comic relief because that is how my rascal mind works. The first example is one that left me feeling sad & grateful all at once in a flurry of emotion. I was watching an episode of an addictive series called “Outlander.” The heroine in the show who is a nurse was asked to diagnose a patient who was incredibly tired, losing weight, thirsty & hungry all the time. She accurately diagnosed this patient with “sugar diabetes.” That apparently was the term for type 1 diabetes in the 18th century & that was the time period that this episode of the show was depicting. The nurse in the episode added that the patient would not survive the month. That made me feel physically sick to my stomach. The truth is that up until one of Canada’s finest heroes, Sir Frederick Banting of small town Ontario (Alliston, Ontario) helped to create insulin type 1 diabetes was a death sentence. I turned off the episode & gave myself a reality check. It consisted of realizing that some days I complain too much about the efforts needed to manage type 1. How would it feel though to be told that type 1 was terminal though a hundred years ago & beyond? There would have been countless people that would have been ecstatic to have life sustaining insulin…not the cure however the answer to a pray all the same. And to have an insulin pump would be mind blowing during those times of course. While I sit here listing the pros & cons of potentially applying for a Dex I realize that I am one outlandishly fortunate rascal. There are still parts of the world today that type 1 is a death sentence. That saddens me beyond words. It is because insulin is not readily available due to the corner of the world that people live in & access to health sustaining & life sustaining therapies. There are campaigns like “Spare a Rose” that make a huge difference in corners of the world where insulin is not readily available largely due to financial difficulty. Thank goodness for organizations out there that make a difference in the lives of people living in these conditions. The second dark with comic relief example of life with type 1 occurred last weekend. Our middle son & I went to see the movie “Angry Birds” at the theatre & about half way through the movie I tested my blood sugar. Sugars were in range however just a wee bit lower than I felt comfortable with while out in public. For sure we all hate low blood sugars. How about those lows though in public? Man those suck big time right? That can be humiliating I find…those lows in public when I feel like a one eyed drooling freak when I am in a low slurring words & acting like what I believe to be a madwoman. In reality 99.9% of the time I am behaving exactly normally or at least no one is noticing in the least. Anyhow right after I tested I proceeded to clumsily drop my lancet onto the floor in the pitch dark of the movie theatre. It may as well have been the zombie apocalypse that many of us living with type 1 joke about from time to time. I trying lighting up the floor with my tiny light from my insulin pump to no avail. “ Crapatate” (yes yet another made up word) I thought as I realized that I would have to wait until the end of the movie & the lights to be turned on until I could find my lancet in the goo of the gross floor of the movie theatre. You talk about semi panic attack. You know the saying “keep calm & carry on?” Yeah, I did not do that. Instead it was “panic & insurance.” My brain kept repeating “what if you go low here in the theatre & start acting like a madwoman?” Next the brain demanded that I inhale my package of stuck together gummy bunnies just in case. Then my brain screamed out at me about the probabilities of people walking along the row I was in & stepping on & crushing my lancet before I could find it. Then I did something that only a feisty rascal can do. I told my thoughts to shut the hell up. I ate the bunny gummies which unbeknownst to me until an hour later sent my beautiful in range blood sugar numbers into highsville unnecessarily. A glucose test kit without a lancet is pretty useless. The lancet did get reunited in record time once the lights came on & before that I went ahead & enjoyed the rest of the movie. This is just one of many silly examples of how nonsensical life with type 1 can be. I also lost a lancet on a water ride at Disney World. That’s life. If I can’t manage to hang on to lancets then I know for sure that I would not be ready for a zombie apocalypse. Well thankfully a zombie apocalypse is low on the law of probabilities right.
Sometimes I just plain feel vulnerable while dependent on many diabetes related gadgets. The bigger feeling though is gratitude that here I am still living my rascally life after nearly 10 years living with type 1 diabetes. For sure I am going to apply for my Joslin 10 year medal because to me that represent something physical that tells me loud & clear that I remain a feisty rascal that is grateful to be here with my family. Every day is not great but most days are freaking beautiful. Most days are somewhat of a beautiful mess & that is beyond fine.
My heart’s hope for you is that you find the balance between the light & dark too. Be gentle with yourself & as someone profoundly wise says often, “don’t beat yourself up.” Be big time gentle with yourself.
Next Monday’s ideas are in the usual creative ether & the only thing I know about it for sure is that there will not be anywhere approaching the number of curse words in it like todays:) Be especially gentle with yourself.