Tag Archives: Type One Diabetes

The many faces of diabetes

Diabetes is bland. It is a set of routines that evoke no emotional response. It is just there, tagging along as I continue living.

Diabetes is irritating. It stirs up trouble at inopportune moments. Life is complicated by its machinations.

Diabetes is a hospital bed.

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Speaking of diabetes and mental health…

The events of last year left a mark.

I fear going low. My blood sugar was 215 an hour or two ago – perhaps three. Now it is 132, which seems great. I assure you, it isn’t!

I have noticed this before…my blood sugar dropping elicits fear. I do not want last year to repeat itself. I don’t want to go low every fucking day all summer! That is no way to live on earth. It is befitting of hell…

I fear that I will get burned out again, just like last year. I fear that I will have to repeat the difficult process of overcoming diabetes burnout. I fear this… I fear that… I am anxious.

I dread…Dread…DREAD summer.

Lows elicit anxiety. The thought of lows elicits anxiety.

Although I don’t enjoy this inescapable vulnerability, I, in a sense, accept it. I accept that this is how I feel. I am not – not right now at least – running from myself. It is what it is, ¬†even if what is sucks.

It is one thing to feel this way, quite another to let it master you.

Do you know why diabetes sucks? It can make you feel helpless. You feel like a child. Vulnerable. At the mercy of chance. Awful. Weak. Unraveled.

Writing this post has been cathartic. Hopefully, in the long term, it will help assuage some of my diabetes related fears.

I can feel this way… I can admit to feeling this way… But I need to, for my own well being, remember to keep soldiering on.

Summer (and hypoglycemia) is upon us

It is kind of hot today. Much hotter than I am currently accustomed to. It is 80 F to be exact. Excuse me if my writing isn’t quite as good as it typically is. I do not like the heat.

It would be no exaggeration to say that the impact that the heat has on my blood sugar is a major reason for me disliking the heat. It makes me go low…a lot.

My insulin sensitivity usually isn’t the greatest. Two things supercharge it: heat and exercise.

It is easier to plan ahead when it comes to exercise. It is easier for me to adjust my rates in accordance with my insulin needs. As for the heat…that’s a different story.

I live in New England. Maine, to be exact. This region of the US isn’t known for its predictable climate. To the contrary: our weather is insane. It is all over the place. It is unpredictable. It is much like my blood sugars ūüėČ

I would be fine – or, at the very least, more accepting – if I didn’t have type 1 diabetes.

As it stands, I do have diabetes, which makes New England weather a pain in the ass to deal with.

It is only the heat that I have to struggle with though. The cold doesn’t have much of an impact.

Today is an exception: the heat hasn’t had much of an impact. Perhaps that’s because I woke up high. Who knows.

This, if you can’t tell, is a free write – hence its rambling character.

I am also tired and unfocused. That certainly impacts the overall quality of my writing, and not in a positive way

My Blatant Hypocricy

I fancy myself wicked open-minded. At times, I even drift into the realm of the patently absurd, and honestly believe I am without prejudice.

HAHA
No! 

One thing I’ve learned is this: when it comes to ones self-perception, one is typically¬†full of moose shit.

I am a human being, not a mountain. As a human being, I tend to fear, and am therefore prejudiced against, the unknown. I strive to keep this under control. Sometimes I fail, sometimes I apparently succeed.

Yesterday I failed. I am prejudiced against any non-Medtronic pump – a rather innocuous prejudice indeed.

What were the circumstances surrounding my epiphany?

My sister is looking into various pumps. One pump that caught her attention was the Omnipod. Requesting my input, I readily obliged. Lets just say my input wasn’t nonpartisan..

Acting in the capacity of a voluntary salesperson for Medtronic, I dissuaded her.

Why?

I do not know much about the Omnipod, and lack experience using it. I haven’t bothered doing any serious research into¬†it either; however, I have heard a few horror stories, as well as stories of horror stories. Apparently that is all it takes to taint my judgement!

 

 

Stubborn lows at inopportune moments

THIS IS TYPE 1 DIABETES…

I was tired and wanted to go to bed. The problem: stubborn lows prevented me from going to bed.

————-

This happened twice last week.

Although these incidences were outwardly similar, my reactions were significantly different.

Whereas, during the first incident I reacted stoically, during the second I reacted with a cocktail of self-pity, anger, and other negative emotions. During the former, I felt no need to express myself; during the later, I felt the need to rant on twitter.

Despite reacting differently while they were happening, I felt the same way the day after. It is difficult for me to explain exactly how I felt, but it was not a bad feeling.

(I do not believe in taking a half-assed approach. Therefore, I am going to at least¬†try¬†to express how I felt…)

True…I felt tired; however, tiredness did not dominate.

I felt proud…a sense of accomplishment…triumphant.

Although I felt the same after each of these instances, my thoughts differed.

After the first incident, my diabetes-related thoughts centered around how I was emotionally impervious to the problems that diabetes had thrown at me the night before. I thought about how emotionally mature I was in handling it.

After the second incident, my diabetes-related thoughts centered around how, even when diabetes causes me to stumble, I will continue marching forward.

Context:

  • For the last few weeks I have been getting a decent amount of sleep (given my repeated “bouts” of insomnia, I often go through long periods of limited sleep);
  • My sister was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on April 1st;
  • I have recently been experiencing more hypoglycemia;
  • Since mid-April I have felt immensely proud of myself;
  • Generally speaking, I have felt pleased with my blood sugars;
  • I have not been exercising frequently;
  • I have not been meditating regularly;
  • I¬†have¬†been reading quite a bit;
  • I¬†have¬†been writing prolifically;
  • There have been no major sources of stress in my life recently;
  • I was not aware of feeling stressed out.

 

Intellectualizing Diabetes

Realization: I cope with type 1 diabetes by intellectualizing it. I still cannot look at diabetes as a mere disease. It has to be something “more”…

Examples:

I often reflect upon diabetes in a philosophical manner.

I often explore the psychological impact that diabetes has had on me.

I imagine that diabetes is an opponent, and try to out-strategize it.

At other times, I see it as being pertinent to my vocation.

Having realized this, I delved into my past.

Having delved into my past, I came to noticed this: when I interpret diabetes as something mundane, my focus tends to shift elsewhere.

I have discerned a pattern.

I only decide to dissipate¬†mental energy thinking about diabetes when I recognize that it has a ¬†“greater significance.”

All signs point in one direction. Thankfully, I am content with the destination.

Focusing predominantly upon the everyday realities of type 1 diabetes does me harm. Having realized this, I can now adapt in a more mindful manner.

————

To exist is to change; to live is to adapt.

At diagnosis, we were thrown into a new reality. More or less skillfully, we all adapt – each in our own way.

How does this apply to you?

Dealing with diabetes: my way isn’t your way

There is no right way to adapt to diabetes.

There is no wrong way to adapt to diabetes.

My way is the only way!

As individual human beings who just so happen to have diabetes, it is imperative that we remind ourselves of this from time to time.

“Your diabetes may vary”? Taken literally = Nonsense!¬†More like¬†“Your diabetes¬†will¬†vary.”

I am my own chief executive.

I am my own legislature.

I am my own judge.

Thankfully, I have numerous well-qualified advisors helping me shoulder the burden.

Perhaps my way is conducive to me flourishing in life. Perhaps it is not. Ultimately, it does not really matter all that much.

Right focus. That is the main thing.

Adapting to diabetes in a beneficial manner is absolutely essential. To focus on how one has adapted is foolish and, potentially, futile.

Right focus. Focus on what is in your control.

How the hell am I supposed to know whether or not my way is beneficial?! Magic? Visiting an oracle? Luck?

————

Analogy: Life is war. What the Eastern Front was to World War 2 diabetes is to life.

More often than not, an indirect approach is superior to a direct one. In war and in life, this strategy holds good.

I can decide to try to change my habits.

Whether or not I will or even can is not completely in my control. This is irrelevant.

Options: to let my habits stay the same, or to take action and discover if they can be improved.

————

I focus on meditating frequently, self-reflection, and writing. These are what help me the most.

These form my foundation for self-discovery.

Ultimately, it is up to you to find your own.

The power is in your own hands.

 

Should you trust your gut?

As I reached forward, I suddenly felt myself being tugged away.

I could not do it. I was unable to press the button.

Eventually I broke free, and yesterday’s post was published.

I did not trust my gut.

—–

“I am responsible for everything … except for my very responsibility, for I am not the foundation of my being. Therefore everything takes place as if I were compelled to be responsible. I am abandoned in the world … in the sense that I find myself suddenly alone and without help, engaged in a world for which I bear the whole responsibility without being able, whatever I do, to tear myself away from this responsibility for an instant.”
~ Jean-Paul Sartre

—–

To be a blogger takes self-assurance. A great deal of it.

In part, it takes trusting your instincts.

You must believe in the ideas you have. Faith in your abilities as a writer is essential.

When I write, I trust my gut.

—–

“All human activities are equivalent … and … all are on principle doomed to failure.”
~ Jean-Paul Sartre

—–

Fear can be overcome. People with type 1 diabetes – those who previously feared needles – know this all too well.

Do not let fear be your master!

Do not allow fear to hold you back!

Putting together the puzzle pieces

My sisters diagnosis with type 1 diabetes has brought to light just how sloppy I have become.

She has shown much greater care in managing diabetes than I currently do.

She changes her lancet every other day; I change mine every time it dawns on me that I cannot remember when I last changed mine.

She still uses alcohol wipes; I do not.

She still shows discipline in her eating habits; I am inconsistent.

If I desired to, I could innumerate many other contrasts between us. I do not desire to do so.

I am lazy at times. Openly so. This post is not meant to conceal this…

“…who wishes to concern himself with such dangerous “Perhapses”! For that investigation one must await the advent of a new order of philosophers, such as will have other tastes and inclinations, the reverse of those hitherto prevalent–philosophers of the dangerous “Perhaps” in every sense of the term.”

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Does laziness get unnecessary flak? Perhaps sloth has been unfairly maligned. Of course, this flies in the face of everything you and I were brought up to believe.

Honorable custom tells us that to be lazy is a bad thing. That it is something to be avoided in oneself, and shunned in others. Why should I bow down to such a stern master?

(On second thought, there are exceptions. Laziness is not always bad. At times, when we are in a merciful¬†mood, we will¬†describe slothfulness with the phrase “laid back”.)

Conversely, why should I make laziness my idol? Is sloth a benevolent master?

————

Own thyself.

————

Both knee-jerk nonconformism and mindless conformity are less than ideal.

Admittedly, I have engaged in both. Who hasn’t? With that said, I prefer opening myself up to accusations of hypocrisy to selling my ideals for a little comfort.

————

I fall short. You fall short. We all fall short. Does this justify giving up?

¬†“I found that the men most in repute were all but the most foolish; and that others less esteemed were really wiser and better.”

~ Socrates

Having picked up on the contrast between my sister and myself, I began to think…

———–

Not all sloppiness is equal.

————

Examine & probe assumptions.

————

Exercise:

Periodically ask myself “have I been sloppy in managing my diabetes lately?” List them. Examine. Judge on case by case basis.

Practicing what I preach

My sister is angry about being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Do you remember being angry when you were diagnosed?

I assume it’s a common reaction. Assumptions – although necessary at times – are often incorrect. Therefore, I’m testing that assumption of mine.

As for myself, I don’t recall being angry – not initially. I do remember being in denial a week after being discharged from the hospital. That didn’t last.

Stone cold reality refuted my delusion of having complete pancreatic functionality. I soon accepted the circumstances I found myself in, and went with the flow.

At some point I began fighting against the current.

Loneliness. Alienation. That’s what I remember feeling early on. Perhaps those emotions morphed into anger. That’s just speculation though.

I am certain that I did go through a period where I was extremely angry. Most of this anger was due to school though Рat least, that is what I attributed it to.

Having spent the majority of my school career with undiagnosed ADHD, I chronically fell (woefully) short of my own expectations Рin addition to the expectations of others. My potential remained untapped. Teachers constantly reminded me of that fact. In a word, I struggled.

Naturally, I was angry.

Why was I struggling in school?! What was wrong with me? Why had I fallen through the cracks of the system for so long?! Why don’t administrators and teachers care about helping students who are in the greatest need of help? These¬†were¬†my thoughts…

In retrospect, I can see how these  thoughts catalyzed my anger.  I can also see how my type 1 diabetes might have aggravated the situation I found myself in. Again, this is speculation.

I communicated my emotions only on rare occasions. These instances were the exception, not the rule.

The causes of my lack of communication were numerous, not the least of which being the inherent difficulty of expressing one’s emotions. Perhaps diabetes compounded this difficulty.

As I mentioned earlier, diabetes made me feel alienated. Describing what it’s like living with this chronic disease is futile. The communication gap cannot be bridged completely.

You are marooned on a barren island. Whether you survive is – at least in part – in your hands. Will you adapt to your environment or will you let your environment destroy you? The answer is in your hands.

Amidst a sea of uncertainty, one thing’s for sure: you are alone in your struggles.

Nobody else understands what it is like having to go through life with diabetes. Nobody else can understand.

This is how I felt. I feel this way no more.

This post = me following the advice that I gave to some one else on tudiabetes
This post = me following the advice that I gave to some one else on tudiabetes

Anger, left unchecked, will destroy you. This realization – although seemingly insignificant at the time – was a turning point. It led me to seek change.

In  order to mitigate my anger (and other counterproductive emotions) I began:

  • practicing mindfulness meditation;
  • exercising (there were other reasons as well);
  • writing as a form of therapy;
  • absorbing myself in music

This is what I can think of off the top of my head.

These practices have enriched my life.

My anger has subsided.

I have come to learn that negative circumstances are transitory.

I have realized that there are positives and negatives to all situations. The world doesn’t exist in black and white.

There is always something to complain about.

There is always something to be grateful for.

 

Change of Plans

My 12 year old sister was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on April 1. Needless to say, my thoughts are centered around helping her to transition to her new life. Therefore, I’m going to put the series of posts that I was planning on hold indefinitely. Doing what I can to help her is more important than this diabetes blog.

With that said, I’m not disappearing from the Diabetes Online Community. The DOC is essential for my well-being.

If you want to stay updated, follow me on twitter @T1DME