Yesterday, I went to an adolescent support group for people with type 1 diabetes that my diabetes social worker recommended that I joined. One of the topics that came up was basically how your family could literally be making you sick. You are probably wondering what I mean by that. All I am saying is sometimes your family can realllly stress you out. Research has even shown a link between elevated levels of stress and illness as well as an increase in high blood sugars. Someone in the group even noted how their A1C has gone up due to being stressed out of home.
Society seems to paint a picture of people with diabetes as being lazy and of has caused it ourselves. It also seems that everyone either knows a diabetes horror story or had an old sick family member with couldn’t use sugar (which seems to make them an expert). What many don’t realize is that the way diabetes is treated today is totally different from 15, 10 or even 5 years ago. We can eat from the same pot as the rest of the family (not just protein and vegetables) once we count our carbs and bolus for the meal. We don’t have to run a 5K daily in order to keep our sugars controlled (even though exercising is important for everyone).
I personally don’t think that our family members are deliberately trying to make us sick or stress us out but misinformation can be a very frustrating thing. We all know what a hassle the diabetes police can be especially when you feel trapped and pressured by the people who should understand you (even if no one else does) and you feel like there is no hope or way of escape. At times it seems that nothing you do is right and every area of your life seems to be under a microscope.
On the other hand, having someone there to remind you to take your insulin or simply ask, “How are you doing?” could be beneficial. Many times we get so distracted by daily events happening in our lives that a missed test or dose can and often will happen. This then begs the question, where do you draw the line? How do you gain more independence? Is there a way re-educate your loved ones without them taking offense or should you just keep it all bottled in until you are finally old enough to live on your own and away from the dreaded “diabetes police”? Will they ever see you as more than just a “diabetic” but as a young person capable of managing a very serious but very manageable disease on your own, who at times may make a few mistakes (as everyone does from time to time) but shouldn’t be criticized for those mistakes, instead applauded for the good job that they are doing and be trusted to know how to take care of themselves?
My last question is this: Is there a time to give your parents or other family members “the talk”?
Today’s prompt:Living with diabetes (or caring for someone who lives with it) sure does take a lot of work, and it’s easy to be hard on ourselves if we aren’t “perfect”. But today it’s time to give ourselves some much deserved credit. Tell us about just one diabetes thing you (or your loved one) does spectacularly! Fasting blood sugar checks, oral meds sorted and ready, something always on hand to treat a low, or anything that you do for diabetes. Nothing is too big or too small to celebrate doing well!
I have to admit today’s post seem easy enough until I actually had to start writing it. I can think of tons of things I do wrong and I admit I tend to beat myself up when my blood sugars are off. When it came to thinking of something I do well my mind drew blanks. I could list a ton of things I am just average at. So I asked my mom; her answer was that I always drink tons of water.
At first I felt a little disappointed (Oh great… Is that it? – I drink water – how interesting) but then I realized how important it is to remain hydrated (especially if you’re high). I probably drink at least a gallon of water everyday – no exaggeration. There are times I don’t want to drink juice because of all the sugar, don’t always feel in the mood for diet soda (maybe because we only have the choice between Coke Zero, Diet Pepsi or Sprite Zero). Water is just pure and I always have a bottle of water by my side (especially since Barbados is so hot).
Maybe it is because in the hospital the first thing they put in you is a ton of IV fluids – which consist of mostly water. I used to always be told that I was dehydrated, sometimes going in to ICU for severe dehydration. Since I have been drinking more water, I find I am healthier and I have only been in hospital once for the last seven months (which is a big deal given my track record of going in almost every two to three months)
I guess it is not as spectacular as testing every two hours or being the carb-counting bolus queen (hopefully I will get there someday) but I am proud to say I drink more than my quota of 8 cups a day.
It’s amazing how the moment that I was so terrified of, became a moment of joy and hope. I basically spent the last couple of days worrying about going to the Endocrinologist on Tuesday. Don’t get me wrong, I like him a lot when it comes to anything BUT my diabetes management. Yesterday, I got a call from his office that ended with my appointment being rescheduled for today…Three days early! WHAT!!!!
So there I was sitting nervously in the doctor’s office, waiting for him to say those awful, dreaded words:”Let’s take a look at your numbers” My horrible numbers that were all over the place. I began to ask myself, “Will he see how hard I am trying and the fact that I wrote everything down? What if he only focuses on the negatives… Will I lose my chance of ever getting the pump?”
With sweaty palms and a racing heartbeat, I watched as he went through my log and began writing notes on a piece of paper. He then turned and looked at me, showed me the numbers I had written and asked, “What do you see? ” Umm… “I see (horrible numbers…the lost chance of you prescribing a pump… my life flashing before my eyes…) high numbers?” I answered and held my breath. He explained that I was getting rebound hypers (high readings) from all of my hypos (the low ones) and that if I got rid of the hypos, the hypers should go as well.
There was no ‘What are you doing wrong?’ No blame or hurt. Instead he said that he was impressed… He told my mom that I was maturing. He believes in me. I felt like I had won the lottery! Amazingly, although I was already self-motivated from before this visit to finally gain control of my diabetes. Now, I feel on fire and I know I can do it! I got the validation I needed that all the hard work I have done so far is actually showing. I guess the funny thing about hope is that you can find it where you least expect it.
Sometimes my blood sugar does not seem to want to co-operate with me. I have an appointment with the Endo in less than a week (well actually in six days but who’s counting) and I was hoping to be able to proudly show my log book with perfect glucose numbers in it and he would then say, “Well Steph, I think you’re ready for the pump!”
Apparently, Big D missed the game plan! My goal was to have my
bloodsugars under 7 mmol/L. Which was going pretty well until this week. Now however, my meter would blatantly show you 12s, 15s and even 20s. Seriously? What happened to all of my pretty 5.2s and 6.6s?
Hmm… Maybe I am stressing a bit (which would explain the high readings). Hmm… I know… I’ll call in sick. – Eh, Doc I can’t make it on Tuesday… I’m under stress caused by having to come in for a visit. – I don’t know about you but I don’t think that will work -_-
My diabetes must really hate going to the doctor lol.
The years following my diabetes diagnosis I could have been nominated as the poster child of the “perfect” type 1 diabetic. I kept my appointments, tested frequently, logged my numbers, rode my bike every evening, etc, etc…
Since this post is about getting back onto the wagon, when I say that the perfect diabetic fell off I mean HARD…. with the wagon veering out of control since no one was guiding it. I just wanted to be normal. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be one of the cool kids who sat on the benches laughing over snow-cones (with sweetened condensed milk) and (fried cod) fishcakes instead of the girl who had to stick herself and got to cut in line because she was “special.” I know most of my friends probably accepted me as I was but I was young and insecure.
So I cheated and skipped testing so that I would not have to explain a high or “HI” blood sugar. I rearranged my numbers, for example, instead of writing 9.4mmol/L I would write 4.9mmol/L. Man I’ll tell you that wagon was definitely O.U.T O.F. C.O.N.T.R.O.L and I oblivious to the damage I was doing until I started getting sick , at this point I would try to do the right thing. I guess you could say that sometimes it worked and I stayed out of hospital and other times… well let’s just say that I have been in hospital more times than I’d like to remember.
There were times I found myself running after the wagon, barely getting a grip on it when a bump in the road would cause it to slip out of my hands again. I was doing all that I could. I wanted to be better and I was trying. Those road bumps included anything from getting periods to studying (both schoolwork and boys) to those days when you have no idea why it is high but it is. Then there would the ride of shame (on the hospital gurney) when I got admitted to hospital where the nurses and doctors would ask, “What you eat now?” or state “You got to be doing something wrong!” but I really wasn’t. I was being really good but puberty meant my body changing and I understood neither my body or the doctors’ answers to my questions. That wagon was on its own again. I just stood and watched it go.
After years of running after it and getting dragged for a ride I got Fed Up! I mean seriously pissed off! So bloodied and bruised I began searching for a solution. I began my search for the answers which included things like the insulin-to-carb ratio and calculating correction doses. I am more aware of what I eat and its effect on my blood sugar and I am exercising again. I think I have finally gotten back onto the wagon. However, this is not the end of my journey but rather the beginning, now that I have gotten on again my new goal is to steer my wagon back home to an A1c of under 7%.
With you guys by my side I know I can do it! If you have fallen off of your wagon then I encourage you not to give up either and get back on – We will get healthy together!