Living with Diabetes Requires a Continuous Effort

July 14th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

No big news flash on that one, for any of us who have lived with type one or type two diabetes for longer than, say, a week. 

It strikes me now and then just what a toll that continuous effort takes on us and on our lives.  We just always need to be alert for what our blood sugars are doing, and what comes next, and what is around the corner, and how our bodies will likely react to it.  We don’t need to be obnoxious about it, but we are always calculating and always figuring and to some degree always planning.  I go low if I forget to figure or calculate and I go high if I’ve planned incorrectly.  I don’t like being at either extreme and feel I’m not my best self when I am either low or high.

My husband (whose pancreas functions just fine) took me for a hike soon after we met; he wanted it to be a surprise.  I’m all for surprises, but I should have asked better questions and he should have given me better answers.  I didn’t know how far we were going, and he assured me he had low food with him (I had some too).  It wasn’t enough for an unknown and unplanned 2-3 hour hike.  (I would have been fine for a shorter hike, but this wasn’t that.)

I’m sure you know the ending: I was super low and despite eating all of the glucose we had with us, it wasn’t helping.  The story ends fine because we happened upon a group of friends who had apple juice with them.  (It happens a lot when you hike around Bearskin Meadow Camp!) 

I’m not sure what would have happened if we hadn’t bumped into them.

I think I was recalling this story because I know sometimes people perceive me as a control freak or an excessive planner.  I, in turn, am choosing to deflect that perception and focus the blame instead on my disease. 

Living with diabetes does require me to be in control of my body and a certain amount of my surroundings all the time.  My sister planned a bachelorette party for me but hadn’t thought about my pump in a mud bath.   My husband heard my pump alarming on the bathroom counter when I was in the shower the other day.  He was so proud of himself for being able to clear the alarm! 

It’s these kinds of things that, when they occur, remind me how personal this disease is.  I can’t really hand any of it off to anyone else.  I do have some fantasy in my head borne of the four days I spent in the hospital after my diagnosis—I dream that someday I’ll have something wrong with me that sends me back to the hospital where the nurses and doctors will be in charge of my blood glucose for a few days. 

I know that’s kind of a sad fantasy, but there it is.

So, my friends, the best I can offer today is a virtual hug or a virtual hand squeeze not because I can in any way stop or help the continuous effort required of you, but because I know how it feels to have that requirement, too.  

All the best.

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