TypeofL1fe

Archive for the ‘perceptions’ Category

I went out with a friend from high school tonight – someone I knew in my pre-diabetes days, who didn’t know yet that I’d been diagnosed.  This presented a small dilemma that I’ve wrestled with for a little bit: In the first few months of being diagnosed, I kind of struggled with how to tell people in my life that I had diabetes. For a while, I ended up hiding it when I could.  It’s not exactly an easy thing to bring up in daily conversation:

“Hey! How was your weekend?!”
“Oh, I just spent the weekend in the hospital – diagnosed with diabetes! What were you up to?”

Hmmm, no.  I realize now that concealing it was not at all conducive to my mental health.  (One might say it was “detri-mental,” ha ha. sorry.)  Anyways, that’s one of the reasons that going to Paris was so liberating for me: I only knew one person prior to the trip, so I just went about my business out in the open, and my new acquaintances could take it or leave it as they wished, and I was more than pleased to field questions.  It was different and refreshing to be up-front and open about it from the get-go instead of figuring out a minimally awkward way of bringing it up.  “Coming out” played a big part in my self-acceptance of this disease.  So I’ve decided it’s in my best interest to adopt this policy in virtually all cases, but especially with those that I’ve known since before I was diagnosed.  I think it’s a whole lot easier and healthier that way.

But I digress (WOW I digress. haha)  The point of this post was supposed to be that while I was talking to my friend about diabetes, he mentioned (as most people seem to) that he should get his blood levels tested.  Depending on the situation, I’ll sometimes offer to test for them right then and there, which was the case tonight.  At this point, most people seem to get nervous for a variety of reasons: they’re afraid it will hurt, or they’re afraid of what the result will be.  I just have to laugh, because in all likelihood, they have nothing to worry about.  And sure enough tonight, the number was a perfect 96 (and this was after a small popcorn at the movies).  Whenever I’ve let my friends test their blood sugar before, I always get a little pang when I see that peachy-keen number on the screen of my blood glucose meter.  And I could never put my finger on what that feeling was, but tonight I realized that it’s jealousy.  Don’t mistake me, I am undoubtedly happy that my friends don’t have worrisome test results.  But it struck me tonight that that number has such a different meaning for me than it does for them.  When I get a number like that, I feel damn proud of the hard work it took to achieve that number.  Because more often than not, that’s what it takes.  But for them, that number is just the way things are, not the way they should be.  They don’t realize all the effort it can take a diabetic to get a lovely little number like that.  Which is a little frustrating. :-\

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Here’s what I want you to do: go on over to Six Until Me, and read this interview. It’s between Kerri and a non-diabetic co-worker of hers, after an experiment where he “lived” with diabetes for the day – testing blood sugar multiple times, wearing a pseudo-pump, considering what foods will affect your blood sugar and how, etc. It’s very interesting and I highly recommend it! And let me know what you think!

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the differences in my life before and after I was diagnosed with diabetes (type 1). Especially today. One of the symptoms of diabetes is that you feel very tired all of the time. And its not so much of a sleepiness-tired, it is more of an exhaustion tired. I think today I realized just to what extent I really suffered from this. I could fall asleep doing almost anything – babysitting on Wednesday mornings for two young girls in my neighborhood, I was so fatigued that I would have to take a break from playing with them and on occasion, I would fall asleep! Not for any long periods of time, but I always felt guilty and it is never, ever good to fall asleep while you’re babysitting. I remember watching the Super Bowl with my father and sister last year, and after half-time I was so tired that I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and I fell asleep on the couch. When I got up, instead of getting up like a normal person, I was still so groggy/tired that I rolled off the couch onto my hands and knees and (slowly) got up from that position. I remember my father and sister thought something was wrong with me (if only they had known) but I just figured I was still “waking up” from my little nap. We laughed about it then, but in retrospect, it was such a serious sign! It was so easy to attribute this fatigue to burnout from school and activities. I also think that I was somewhat desensitized to it, and I didn’t realize (or refused to realize) how bad the situation truly was because I had had these symptoms for so long. Other times, it would just require such a great exertion of effort on my part to even physically move. I remember in particular I found it physically exhausting to move when I was doing my volunteer shift supervising the Kid’s Club area at the gym – I always wanted to color with the kids so I could sit down and wouldn’t have to move. I sat down whenever I could. When exercising over the summer, if I wasn’t taking a class at the gym, I would use the treadmill – and I found it too difficult to run, so I would walk at a fast pace instead. I felt lazy for walking instead of running like I would at school. Additionally, pretty much any time that I tried to study, I would fall asleep – in the library, in the study “lounge” in the basement of my dorm, anywhere.

Of course, there were the other classic signs, but I found other ways to rationalize these: weight loss – I had just moved to college and started exercising more regularly; extreme thirst – no rationalization for this, really; peeing ALL THE TIME – I was drinking so much water! (hah). There are more, but those aren’t necessarily directly related to diabetes. For instance, I often wake up in the mornings with excruciating leg cramps, and I could not for the life of me why I was experiencing these. It wasn’t a potassium deficiency because I ate at least one banana every day (and still do – I love bananas!), it couldn’t be dehydration because I went through like eight water bottles per day – but it was dehydration. See, I didn’t get the leg cramps during the day because I was constantly drinking water. But I wasn’t drinking water at night, so I would be going without water for hours, yet I would still wake up in the middle of the night to pee, sometimes more than once. Hence, dehydration, and consequently the leg cramps. Dang, they hurt soooo much.

Things have changed so drastically since then. I’m still realizing how sick I was, and how much different life is now. Today I came to an acute realization when I was thinking about the physical exhaustion I experienced before compared to my level of energy now. I think that this is sufficient musing for now, but I will definitely be following up with more posts related to this in the future.

À bientôt!