Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

Ups and downs

It has been way too long since I have posted anything here. I am hoping to get back in the routine of writing every couple of weeks. Since we have a sabbatical coming up, I should have more time to write.  It’s not as if I have not had anything to say about life with type 1 diabetes.  On the contrary, the last few weeks have been way too eventful.

The main issue is that I have returned to more or less regular exercise. This is a good thing, and I definitely feel better because of it and have lowered my basal rate and overall doses of insulin. This is the good news.  The bad news is that it throws a wrench in managing my blood glucose before and after exercise, and I have had to endure way too many lows in this process.   I want to make exercise fit into my life rather than allow diabetes to dictate when I exercise.  That really does not seem to work all that well yet.

I won’t bore anyone with the details of all of this, but really, the numbers are not so much what I want to write about.  It’s my attitude toward the numbers – the thing probably all of us struggle with. I really do try to see them as just NUMBERS, but, yeah, I am not always successful.  After a particularly frustrating day and a rough low that I did not really deal with all that well, a good friend (with whom I had been texting throughout the ordeal) finally got frustrated enough with me that she said “I wish you would learn to coexist with your diabetes instead of fighting it!”

Wow. That stopped me in my (complaining and whining) tracks.  I have been living in a battle zone within my own body.  She is right – that needs to stop.  Oh how I wish this were a simple thing to do.  I don’t have a nice neat strategy for how to do this, it is one step at a time, one low at a time and one high at a time.

As a Christian, my attitudes are all tied up with my faith. Do I believe God is good and that He loves me? Do I believe He is sovereign over my life? Do I believe my trials have a purpose?  My head says ‘yes’ to all of these questions, but my heart is not so consistent.  I have been experiencing a lot of fatigue these past few weeks, and that contributes to my discouragement, making it harder to control my emotions and attitudes.  It’s complicated. But I am trying to walk in the light rather than the darkness.  One step at a time.

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Knitting as my ‘cure’ for diabetes stress

We all need strategies for dealing with the stress that diabetes brings into our lives.  The highs and lows and sudden empty pumps and sites that malfunction and awkward questions that people ask and….well, you get the idea.  I have noticed recently that I am handling some of that stress better these days and I have been wondering why. Some of it has to do with a change in jobs and working fewer hours, so I have more energy left over to deal with the stress – because the level of stress from diabetes does NOT seem to let up. EVER.

In a conversation with a friend recently, I realized that knitting is one big way I cope with the daily ups and downs of living with T1D. I think that it is the ability to have control that makes knitting a great stress reliever. I can look at a pattern and know that (within certain limits) I can reproduce that object in a way that will bring me pleasure.  Knit, purl, yarn over, knit 2 together, these are regular, repeatable moves that result in the same thing every time.  That is not true for anything related to diabetes.  That kind of predictability is comforting and soothing.  Sure, I might have to rip out rows of knitting to fix a mistake, but even then, I know I will be happier having done so and I can always re-knit what I took out.  I can try any number of things to ‘fix’ a blood sugar ‘mistake’ and the results are far less  reliable.

So I knit. And knit some more.  I am soothed, I can relax and for a period of time, I can forget that diabetes is just lurking around the next corner, waiting to surprise me with some craziness.

How do you cope with diabetes-induced stress?

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It’s all in the numbers. Right?

I will admit it.  I am struggling.  I know that is probably not the best way to start a blog post after being absent from my blog for months, but it’s true.  I have been driven back to this place of honesty and acceptance to admit where I am and hopefully sort out how to move forward in this fog.

It’s all because of numbers.  Numbers drive diabetes.  A1C, current blood sugar, how many days have I worn this infusion site, this CGM sensor and how many days until I have to change them, how many carbs in this meal (over and over and over everyday)…..you get the picture.  But really only a couple of those numbers are persecuting me right now.  It’s the blood sugar number and the A1C.

At my last appointment with my doc, I got yelled at (it wasn’t really yelling – it was genuine concern for my well-being, but to me it felt like yelling) by 3 different people because my A1C was too LOW.  Yeah, you read that right.  And I totally understand why they are concerned – the low A1C is associated with too many low blood sugars and they are dangerous.  So, why if I know all of this did it still feel like they were yelling at me? Because that number is my judge. And I felt like the number was terrific. Yes, I agree with them that I am going low too often. But still, when they encouraged (no, that is too weak – they exhorted) me to allow my blood sugar to run higher in order to keep a safety margin, it felt like judgment and I was a failure.

And that relates to the second number that is causing me to struggle. I KNOW I need to let my blood sugars run higher to keep that safety margin, and that I will still likely have a very acceptable A1C next time around if I do.  But.  (That word should be removed from my vocabulary.)  I admit it. I don’t like seeing blood sugars in the 150s-180s. I would rather see 100-120.  The problem is, when I am running in that lower range, it only takes a trip through a grocery store, or some yard or housework to plunge me downward to the 60-70s.  Thus, I need a safety margin.  See? I know this in my head.  I KNOW this in my head.  So why can’t I just accept it and get on with it?

Because the numbers are my judge. And 160 is a guilty verdict.  You ate something you shouldn’t have.  You don’t have enough self-control.  You did it WRONG.

That’s my struggle.  I wish I had a neat answer for how I am going to get out of this.  I don’t.  Yet.  I know where my hope lies.  And it is NOT in me. I know that God is teaching me important lessons that I must learn. I know that He is wiser than I and that He loves me.  So I rest in that.  And struggle on. For now.

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