Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

What? Me? Diabetic? part 2

on March 20, 2012

For several months after starting on both long-acting and meal-time insulin, I was doing at least 5 or 6 shots a day.  Not much fun. I had read that with LADA, there was usually a “honeymoon” period where the person doesn’t require insulin, but it was apparent to me that I wasn’t going to have that luxury.  Soon after this, my diabetic educator (Betty, my best cheerleader, a huge source of information and encouragement and I’m happy to say, a friend) suggested I think about a pump.  Wow.  After only three or four months of living this new life, it seemed a bit drastic to be thinking about having my body tethered to a pump 24/7.  But, the more I thought about it and did the research on various brands and features, the better it started sounding. So six months after my diagnosis, I had a brand new pink pump.  In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the best idea to start using the pump in the middle of our church’s VBS, the hottest week of the summer when I was busier than ever managing 100 children and about 45 staff.

After a battery of blood tests that summer (I am not at all squeamish about giving blood, but it did freak me out to see how many tubes of blood they took that time!), there was the evidence we had been expecting.  My antibodies to both my beta cells and my own insulin were both way above the normal levels.  I’ll never forget the comment my doctor made in the letter that came with the results.  “…You will be on insulin for the rest of your life.” Wow. So final.  I had known that in my head, but it was another thing to see it on the paper. In print.  Even with the pump, this reality took some getting used to.

Long story short, after some initial adjustments to living with a pump, I was hooked (no pun intended, really).  The flexibility, the tighter control, not having to inject 6 times a day – it was great.  I still love it, nine months later.  I don’t have perfect control (will we ever?) but my pump is my favorite piece of technology.  Just last month, I added a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to my arsenal. Between the pump and the CGM, I have a much better idea of how I’m doing literally minute by minute, and feel much more confident about dealing with diabetes.

I’d like to say my A1C is perfect now, and that my the lines on my CGM always stay within the target range, but of course that’s not true.  Technology is great, but it can’t do the same job as the pancreas God gave me.  If nothing else, having diabetes has made me appreciate the wonders of how God created the human body and it’s endless ability to adapt to changing conditions seemingly effortlessly. By comparison, my efforts to control one little part of my metabolism are pathetically inadequate. But, I’ll keep trying and maybe someday I’ll get better at it!

So am I angry with God for “giving” me diabetes? No.  Am I happy about it?  Mostly, I’d have to say no.  But the truth is, I have learned a lot about God, and my relationship with Him through the last year that I wouldn’t have learned without diabetes. For that, I am thankful. One lesson I have learned from diabetes is that this disease requires discipline, patience and attention.  Those are the same things that I need in order to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  I need the discipline to read and study Scripture, to pray, to respond to the needs of others around me. I need patience to wait on answers to prayer, to deal with the hard parts of living with diabetes with grace and in a way that honors God, and to cope with insensitive comments made by people who think I brought this disease on myself.  I need to pay attention to the ways God is leading me to take my experiences with diabetes and use them to encourage and help others, and to care for myself (diabetes takes a LOT of time to manage).  In marshaling my efforts to give diabetes the discipline, patience and attention it demands, I have grown in my ability to give my faith these same efforts.  That’s definitely a good thing for which I am thankful.

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One response to “What? Me? Diabetic? part 2

  1. Jennie B. says:

    Colleen, you are such an encouragement!!!

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