There are two (obscure) things in life I am sure of:
1. If there was a zombie apocalypse in my lifetime I would be one of the first to go. Not because of a zombie attack, but because of my own immune system attack on my pancreas. (Unless of course I could raid a ton of pharmacies and stock up on insulin and test strips)
2. If I ever crashed in a plane on an island in the middle of the ocean I would be one of the first to go. Not because of lack of food or water, but because of lack of insulin. Every time I ate, I would have to go for a run along the beach (which sounds nice in theory but not in this situation) to keep my blood sugar in check. PLUS hoard all fruit and candy I could find in case of low blood sugar. And I would have to judge what my number could possibly be at all times. Chances of that working out? Probably not for too long.( Unless I was on the island they wound up on in Lost, where all ailments disappeared. In which case, bring on the stranded island!) This has actually been the inspiration for a few short stories and a novel in the works.
The point is, Diabetes is invisible. In these situations I would have to go on gut feelings which, I have to say, I have actually gotten better at judging in the past few years. I know when my numbers are fluctuating and probably in which direction. However, there are still some tricky times.
The most tricky is during a workout. My body is already on overdrive mode and sometimes forgets to tell me “hey Mel, I think your blood sugar is dropping” until the last moment possible and then I need to act Immediately and eat all the sugar necessary to feel better and get my blood sugar up – and completely counteract my efforts to workout that are supposed to HELP with moderating my blood sugar.
There are also the times where I had a bad day, I am stressed, sick, or for some ungodly reason my blood sugar just runs super high(and my frustration just makes it worse).
These situations -and more- are some of the everyday struggles of my diabetes. Of course, everyone is different, but we do have an understanding of each other about the misunderstanding our immune systems seem to have about the intentions of our pancreas.
My dad and I are a good example. We seem to have the same issues, although he does better with the whole diet thing because he doesn’t crave pasta (and other things) quite the same way I do.
He has been diabetic since he was 30. For me it was 18, a week before graduating high school. Thanks body, what a wonderful gift, but very enlightening about how adulthood works!
I grew up healthy and active and never had to watch what I ate. I never really thought about the possibility of myself having diabetes, but I did grow up watching my dad and providing the necessary orange juice and cookies when he woke up low on a Saturday morning. I was surprised and of course a little depressed to discover my new illness. Add on top of it that the doctors couldn’t decide what I was- I was too old to be the textbook type 1 but I had all the antibodies ready for war. The only good thing was that I had my dad to help me out. I didn’t have to deal with doctors telling me what to do, my parents were able to take me right home and my dad was able to show me everything and over the summer before college, I learned and adapted to having a non-adaptable disease (since it’s ALWAYS a struggle).
My dad has been my saving grace to be honest. He is reason I even discovered my condition to begin with. I remember sitting on the couch one night complaining about everything I felt. That includes- yup you guessed it- extreme fatigue, constant peeing, etc. he looked at me and said “you sound like a diabetic.” A test with his meter that couldn’t even read how high my number was and a trip to the ER followed suit.
It’s good to have someone to talk to. Even it’s not serious. My dad and I often talk in jokes and complaints about our diabetes, but it’s nice and makes things easier. I also have a husband who easily adapted to my strange awakenings in the middle of the night and takes care of me when I don’t want to take care of myself (like making me test myself when I don’t want to). He also tries to help me find new solutions, with new medications that come out, testing supplies, and natural solutions that I am always on the lookout for.
I am grateful for these people around me who accept diabetes as a part of their lives in some way or another. It’s not just having someone to talk to, I am not much of one for talking about problems, it’s their easy way about it. So my best advice if you find yourself diabetic like me (without fair warning) is to have a partner, diabetic or not, who can accept it with you, laugh about it with you, and complain about it with you.
I originally wrote this for my friend Leanne’s blog! I think it was technically my first post ever!