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Goodbye in Advance 2013!
Have you had some years in your life that are especially full of struggle? In most likelihood you have. They are the years that perhaps were ones that you experienced loss or one trial after the other with few breaks.
There are two personal philosophies that I live by. They are: don’t compare my life/struggles to someone else’s & don’t make excuses. Everyone is a beautiful original so our friendship remains intact whether we agree with one another’s philosophies or not. Take type 1 diabetes as an example. My struggles with type 1 are different from other people’s struggles. Just because we all have a disease by the same name does not mean that we are fighting the same fights day in & day out. Then there are other 365 challenges that I would not dream of comparing my situation to. It just does not lead to any positive outcome I have found comparing challenges. Instead, I find that it is incredible to choose to feel & behave compassionately towards others because it is the right thing to do. Excuses are a personal pet peeve of mine. It is a little like complaining for the sake of complaining. It seems that all roads lead back to caving in on ourselves if we choose to reside in the land of complaining & making excuses & turning ourselves into victims versus the hero of our own lives.
Some of the strongest people that I know have either type 1 or another 365 health challenge. Were we strong before our health challenges or did we build the strength after our challenges? We each answer that question for ourselves yet I believe that the answer is both.
My nature is to be enthusiastic, positive & determined. Type 1 diabetes tried to kick my butt in 2013 in different ways than I had encountered over the past 6 years. Many diabetes kicks have been irritations, perturbations, pokes, agitations, annoyances & bafflements. Let’s face it, when we can take action over certain things regarding our challenges, it gives us opportunity. When things are external & truly are outside our control then we may find ourselves trying to live the “Serenity Prayer.” Like so many other Battle Buddies who also have type 1 diabetes, I will never surrender to this disease. Type 1 does not get the last word & it does not get to run or take over my life. It can kick me even to the ground however I will get back up every single time. It would be inaccurate to say that 2013 was the most difficult year with type 1 for me. It has however been the most annoying, most strength building, feistiness building & really the year that I have decided in October to declare an early good bye to. That’s right, the calendar says 2013 however I have decided to welcome 2014 early! Have you heard the saying, “death by a thousand cuts?” That is what comes to mind when I think of 2013 living with type 1. That is just the diabetes side of 2013. Please don’t get me wrong, the year is not about diabetes since there was so much more to the year & to life in general.
When we talk to one another it does not take long to hear that other people have those kind of years where it is a series of annoyances consecutively & the feeling of being poked at like a bear. The great thing is that we get to choose how we are going to react to this type of series of pokes. We essentially do all that we can “about” the agitations & then we do something “with” them. Diabetes wise in 2013, I had the misfortune of purchasing 10 boxes of 100 test strips that were defective. To my knowledge, I have not experienced that before. 10 boxes represents to me 3 months of testing. For those months, I did not know if I was coming or going. In other words the test may have said that I had a blood sugar of 6.4 but I really had a 3. It took me a long while to come to the conclusion that the test strips were defective. For all those weeks, I was riding the blood sugar roller coaster & getting metaphorical whiplash. It was an eye opener because I had really trusted technology perhaps to a fault. Anyhow, that came to an end when I finally got to the bottom of the problem & that is water under the bridge. I learned a little something more about myself & trusting my gut. On a positive aside note, 2013 was the year that I finally sought extra help with a complication that I have been dealing with for 3 years. Yay! That was a process though understandably. It was a situation where it took 7 weeks of treatment whereby I was sicker than ever to reach feeling better. Thank goodness though for determination because had I given up over those 7 weeks, I would not have found resolution to that health difficulty. It did mean though that the 7 weeks that I was sicker than ever were the summer months. The stiff upper lip came in handy over the summer. The thing that has gritted me the most about 2013 regarding diabetes is the nonsense that occurred with our insurance provider. It is no secret that many individuals have hurdles with his or her insurance providers when it comes to covering our medications or life sustaining devices. For the past 3 months, negotiations (that is a polite way of putting it) have been going on with my insurance provider. I am not naïve to tactics used when it comes to companies saving funds. Being fiscally responsible is understandable. Using techniques however on folks who have chronic illness who rely on their medications to sustain life is quite another. The company tried many tactics with my claim over the past 3 months. I will not even get into the specifics but suffice to say that I built some muscles in the battle. 10 days ago, the company finally re-established coverage of my testing strips in accordance with my insulin pump & Endo’s standards. Had I given up, I would be in a pickle so to speak. Giving up was not an option. It was exhausting, tedious, required several extra appointments with my Endo, jumping through ridiculous hoops but in the end it is resolved. Whew, though, enough already.
Yesterday morning was my scheduled trip to the blood lab in preparation for next week’s appointment with my Endocrinologist to get those dreaded A1C results. What are they going to look like I wonder. Will the stress, pressures & what has been going on tell a number story in the results. Of course they will. I accept that. I work profoundly diligently at my diabetes health management so I am not going to beat myself up. I am also not going to give any excuses. I will simply supply the truth so that the numbers make sense without excuses or dramatic effect. I will try to do it with humour & hope & strength.
The final straw of deciding to bide 2013 adieu was yesterday. I walked the diabetes plank yesterday. I woke up in the morning with an 18.3 & then spent 5 hours giving & assessing insulin corrections & of course dreaming of drinking most of the contents of Lake Ontario! Finally though, my blood sugars started to come into range. Unfortunately after lunch, my sugars feel into hypoglycemia. I treated them & well I overtreated them because it is sometimes more of a challenge to stop from eating during some hypoglycemic episodes. At least 95% of the time, I take a premeasured portion for correcting but yesterday I dove into the pre-bought Halloween candy. That was a bad idea but it was delicious I will admit. The consequences though stunk. I ended up going back up to 15. Then several hours of correcting, assessing, testing brought me to 10. By that time it was dinner time. I took a minuscule correction that normally would have had the desired effect to bring me to a beautiful 6. Not last night though as it brought me into the dreaded 2’s range instead. That was beyond unexpected. So I ate my way out of that one & 4 hours later I was thrilled to see a gorgeous 6.1 on my meter. It was almost bedtime so this was glorious to feel like things were finally under control. Unfortunately, yet thankfully at the same time, I awoke at 1 am to feeling like I had just stepped out of the shower, a numb tongue, dizziness, the super shakes & confusion galore. I knew I was low again & tested to see a 2.5! Yikes big time. I did a pre measured fast acting & slow acting, got the sugars back up to 7 & went back to sleep. And stinker, I woke up this morning at 14.2. Today though, I am already way ahead of diabetes. Within 2 hours, I am back into beautiful range & I am going to watch my blood sugars like a hawk today. You won the round yesterday type 1 but today I am taking you down! Bring it on because just like all the other examples of irritations, if I quit then I lose & we never know how close to winning we are if we keep trying.
Diabetes never stops teaching me every single year. What was the lesson this year? Perhaps it was patience, steadfastness, to build strength for the journey, to never give up or something else. It magnified for sure that I can transport my abundance of stubbornness into something useful & that is to remain forever determined in every area of life. As a wee humourous aside, I have 2 ringtones on my cell phone. You will know if diabetes is kicking me or not by the ringtone. One is “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba. It is the chorus that says, “I get knocked down but I get up again.” The other ring tone is “Feeling Better Now” by Collective Soul. Both of these songs celebrate strength in my mind for the diabetes journey. One celebrates strength & the other song celebrates gratitude.
Good bye 2013 & in 2014 when you hear my ringtone, may it mostly be “Feeling Better Now!”
My heart’s hope for you is that you remember that you are stronger than you will ever know & that diabetes or any 365 challenge can bring out that strength in you. Oh and Happy New Year!
Smiles, Saundie :)
Remember, we are all getting back up after every "knock down" this week & every week. Next week's sharing is, "Fits Like a Glove." :)