Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

The joys and snares of Thanksgiving

on November 25, 2012

It has been a wonderful Thanksgiving – a memorable one, even.  We had Sarah home from Miami (the one in Florida, not the one up the road in Oxford, Ohio), shared a delicious Thanksgiving meal with the Woods and 3 international students from UC, enjoyed a great day of mini-concerts and reunions with old friends at a Cincinnati Children’s Choir fundraiser, and generally had some great family time.  What a blessing that I no longer take for granted!  But the weekend had its share of pitfalls too, all related to diabetes.  I really figured I would just abandon all hope of staying in range on Thanksgiving itself, and I met these very low expectations. I didn’t see a blood sugar number without the number 2 at the beginning for a long time that day, starting in the morning before I had ever even thought about eating anything with carbs in it! So I was psyched for that, and fine with the result.

It’s the times when I did the right things and still ended up high or low that really got to me (as usual). I’ll take the blame for the night when we all had pie at 10:00 pm and then I went to bed.  When Jiminy (my Dexcom continuous glucose monitor) woke me a few hours later buzzing HIGH, I knew exactly why.  It’s the other nights that have me stumped. Why, oh, why did I go high on the nights when I actually showed some self-discipline and didn’t eat the ever-present pie – waking up either in the middle of the night, or, when I was able to completely ignore Jiminy, in the morning with a BG over 200?  My brain is screaming “IT’S NOT FAIR” while the more rational part of me is whispering “It’s ok, it’s just a number, now deal with it”.  If you think that’s an easy conversation to have with yourself at 3 am or 7 am, you are sadly mistaken.

So then came Sunday morning. Yep, Sunday Spike with a vengeance.  Spiked actually before leaving for church, and stayed high for a while, then plummeted during worship (as always).  But, God provided words of wisdom from the sermon (Thanks Rich!) that provided great encouragement and perspective.  The text was 1 Peter 1:6-9.  Several points stood out to me and are worth mentioning at the end of a holiday like this one.

  • Trials show me that God’s sovereignty is at work in my life.  I have no idea why I “need” to have diabetes, but God knows that and is using it to accomplish some purpose in His kingdom and in my life.  I’m still waiting to find out what those things are, but I am content to trust in the meantime that this is true.  It’s a great comfort to me to know that there is a “point” to having diabetes. I think I would do a lot of wallowing in self-pity if I didn’t know this.
  • When the heat of trials comes, it shows who I really am. Which argument wins out at 2 am? The “IT’S NOT FAIR!”, or the “Keep calm and deal with the number”?  Will the heat affect me like the plant in the parable of the sower that grows up quickly and then withers just as quickly from the sun’s heat? Or will the heat of diabetes be the heat of refining, proving the genuineness of my faith?
  • Our culture tells us that the easy way is the best way.  I am encouraged to think that my happiness is found in ease and comfort. There is nothing easy or comfortable about diabetes.  Shots, highs, lows, keeping track of supplies, maintaining all the technology that keeps me going – none of this is easy or comfortable (though since the alternative is pretty horrifying, I’m thankful to do it all!). It’s easy to start feeling really sorry for myself and wonder why I can’t just live the life I had Before Diabetes.  One day changed my life. (I know it didn’t happen in one day, but the symptoms developed from one day to the next, and so my life changed very dramatically in one day.)  Scripture reminds me that the life of faith is not like this.  The life of faith is the life of the athlete, training rigorously, exerting self-discipline, denying myself those things that would interfere with my performance.  This pushes me to spend some time this afternoon uploading data from my pump and CGM and trying to figure out how to deal with these new overnight patterns, rather than simply getting frustrated and giving up.  (The phrase “your diabetes may vary” springs to mind. Not only is my diabetes not like anyone else’s, my diabetes isn’t the same this week as it was last week!)

So it has been an eventful holiday weekend.  I also “celebrated” my second Dia-versary on Thanksgiving.  Two years with this disease. This doesn’t sound like much to the thousands of type 1s out there who have had it for decades.  But when I think about how different my life is now, I am stunned.   I’d go back to life without diabetes in a heartbeat, if I could.  But, since apparently I can’t do that, I will continue to trust in God that His plan is best.  And I will pray that I continue to be teachable, even when the lessons are not what I would choose.  Happy belated Thanksgiving, everyone!

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