I’ve written about the fine line between making people understand how complex and difficult living with diabetes is, while not letting them pity me or feel sorry for me. It is a never ending tightrope. I want to believe that I can do anything, in spite of diabetes. I DO believe that 99.999% of the time. Sure, there are pesky little things like being a pilot or being in the military, but I’ve done so many things in my life when diabetes wasn’t a huge in the “can I or can’t I,” just in the planning of the “I can.”
I’ve had diabetes for 28 years. Many years of living with a disease that factors into every part of my life. But I rarely let it get me down. In fact, I HATE when diabetes slows me down. And it does sometimes. As much as I don’t want to admit it. I will work through d relate sickness, and headaches, and low blood sugars and high blood sugars. I never bat an eye. Or if I do, the normal observer would never notice it as such.
The last time I had a time when I had to stop doing something (form more than a slight pause) or call in sick to work was almost ten years ago…until last week. In the past 5 months, my life has been turned on end. Instead of downloading blood sugars and adjusting basal rates for all the MAJOR changes in my life, I’ve been chasing problems. Fixing lows and highs as they come. Not the smartest thing to do, but for a while it was…. Working? Okay, not really working, but I was going okay.
Last week I was fighting yet ANOTHER low blood sugar. I had a friend over for dinner. I ate, and went low AGAIN. So, instead of testing and treating and testing again, I just ate. And drank. And ate some more. Needless to say, by the time bedtime rolled around, I was in the high 200s. I bloused, plus a little to treat said high. Less than two hours later, I was up again and I was in the high 300s. I bloused again. By 1:00 in the morning, I was nearly 500. I pulled by infusion site and started over. I tested for ketones (there were none, thank GOODNESS!). I was up again at 3:30 and had a “rant” on face book as I was still in the high 400s. I bloused again and went BACK to sleep.
I woke up the next morning sick. I still had no ketones. But my blood sugar was in the mid-200s. I had the pounding headache and I felt like someone had taken sandpaper to the back of my throat. And then I did something I haven’t done in nearly a decade. I called in sick to work. I was already scheduled to take half a day off as I had an early afternoon appointment with my endo (ironic, huh??), but the fact that I had to call in sick to work for something related to diabetes made me angry.
By that afternoon, I was nearly totally recovered. I was blessed to have an appointment that afternoon. After months of craziness, I talked with my nurse practitioner (who I see when I don’t see my endo) about all the changes in my life and about my blood sugars and about the adjustments that I needed to make to (hopefully) get me back on the right road. We talked about my lower a1C and about how I hated how I got there (roller-coaster blood sugars).
I walked out of the office feeling better physically and mentally. But I was still so angry. And hurt. And upset. And disappointed. Because I felt (feel?) that calling in sick because of diabetes meant (means?) that diabetes won. Somewhere in my conscious mind, I know better. But I can’t help the way I feel. I feel like I let diabetes won. Maybe just for that morning. But it won. And I hate that more than I hate anything. I hate it more than the shots, and infusion sites, and finger pricks, and the lows and the highs. I hate it more than I hate feeling bad because of diabetes. I hate that diabetes stopped me, even for a little while.
(Totally related note: Anyone who says diabetes affects only your blood sugar, hasn’t dealt with the mental effects of living with a chronic illness.)