It’s an inevitability…
Whenever I attend family gatherings, that dreaded question is apt to get asked: “is your diabetes under control?” To which I invariably respond with a lie: “Yes.”
Sure, sometimes I do in fact mean it, but my intentions don’t wipe away the dishonesty of my reply. The dishonesty is multiplied.
Lately I have been doing better; however, despite this year being my best year on record, the lowest my A1C has been in 2013 is (if I recall correctly) 7.9% – not nearly as deathly as 14, but there could still be some improvement.
Before proceeding, I must clarify something: I am not ashamed of these facts, nor am I defensive about my past. What has been done has been done, and no amount of shame will wipe the past away, nor will trying to defend it do me any good in the future. My past is a resource: it’s there for me in the present as a treasure trove of wisdom as I wonder onwards into the future.
Once upon a time (2001-2003), when I was on an anachronistic (and oppressively strict) meal plan and was testosterone deficient, perhaps I could have honestly given an affirmative reply. Like my beta cells, those years have irrevocably gone away.
When I transitioned from MDI to the insulin pump in 2003 (a blue Deltec Cosmo), I was handed an unprecedented level freedom. There’s, of course, nothing wrong with freedom. Freedom rocks…but, as the cliche goes, with freedom comes great responsibility. Unfortunately, as a youngling with undiagnosed ADHD, responsibility wasn’t my strong suit.
I abused my freedom. I used my insulin pump as a free pass to eating whatever the hell I wanted when I wanted. This was the start of my not-so-helpful habit of ignoring my diet as a factor in managing to live with type 1 diabetes.
Then puberty hit, and extreme insulin resistance set it – on top of an amplification of my already rebellious spirit. It was during these years that I rebelled against diabetes.
In the ensuing years, I ignored diabetes. I tried to compartmentalize the incompartmentalizable. As a result of my efforts, my A1C peaked at around 14. Even worse was the effect that it had on others.
Given my desire to expunge all “unnecessary” thoughts of diabetes, I never attempted to help other people with type 1 diabetes. I never considered taking part in a diabetes walk. I didn’t seek to be a part of a diabetes community. I had isolated myself.
In retrospect, I was in denial; however, it was a softer form of denialism. I was in denial about the impact diabetes can have on the rest of our lives. I was in denial about my dependence on others in dealing with diabetes.
This gloomy period didn’t last forever.
Around the time I was 16, my A1C naturally started to lower on it’s own. My type 1 diabetes remained an evil that I tried to ignore.
Ultimately, reaching adulthood was the turning point for me. It was only then that I started to take my health more seriously. It was only then that I began confronting my bad habits which had accumulated over the years.
All of this is in my past.
I confess these things not as an end in itself, but as a means. I am, through this post, taking a step towards cultivating a more skillful disposition. In recollecting my imperfect past, I’m preparing myself to flourish in the future.