Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

Two years

on December 31, 2012

It has now been two years that I have been dealing with LADA.  I can honestly say that my diagnosis changed my life.  For the better, and for the worse.  Two years ago I had never heard of LADA, or latent autoimmune diabetes in adults.  I still wish I never had.  But I have, and it’s mine for the rest of my life, so I deal with it. Hopefully, I’ll get better and better at it as time goes on.  Time to look back and see how I’m doing, and to look forward to what I hope will develop in the future.

Two years ago at my diagnosis my A1C was 11.7 and I felt pretty awful, despite having spent a month eating a diet as low in carbohydrates as I could stand.  I now understand why, and am amazed that I could even function considering that most of the time, my blood sugar was over 250. Now when it gets that high, I get very foggy and lethargic, so I can only imagine how bad I felt for months at that time.  I was also a bit in shock, as I dealt with the diagnosis of diabetes, and not just any garden variety type 2 diabetes that pretty much all other adults get, but my very own weird kind of diabetes, type 1.5.  Oh boy. My doc dealt with it aggressively, not letting me go months at a time experimenting with various ways of managing the disease, but seeing me about every 3 weeks, and making changes that improved things ever so slowly. Fast forward to six months later and another 9 months after that, and I had all the tools I have now, an insulin pump and a CGM that I am extremely thankful for, despite their seemingly constant need for attention. I feel so much better most of the time and have more energy now than I can remember having for a long time. I’ll chalk that up to having tighter control of my blood glucose and to exercising 5-6 times a week. Those early days seem like a long time ago, though in reality two years really isn’t such a long time.

What would I wish for as a diabetic? Well, obviously, getting rid of the disease would be my first choice. Since that isn’t on the table, we’ll move on. A cure would be nice. Ok, that’s not happening in the near future either (though I have become much more interested in what JDRF is doing and how I might help). So, for now, I look forward to the new version of my CGM which I’ll be getting in March. It has some nifty new features and will help me fine tune things even more than my current Dexcom. Beyond that, I look forward to a pump with an integrated CGM that actually responds to my blood sugar levels, especially by anticipating lows and shutting down the delivery of insulin. That’s not something I can look forward to in the next year or so, but perhaps in my lifetime…..

My biggest struggle? Lows. Always lows. They hit at the weirdest times. Lately it has been on Sunday mornings, which is just crazy since that is the opposite of what I had come to expect on Sundays. But I have had the worst and stickiest lows on Sunday mornings lately. One of the docs at church thinks I need a Holy Spirit basal program on my pump to deal with Sundays. Maybe he’s right. But how exactly would I program that? Leave it blank in the pump and just let the Holy Spirit plug in the numbers?

My greatest success? Making exercise a regular part of my life. This has had so many benefits and has brought me some interesting new friends as a bonus. I actually look forward to swimming or working out in the mornings, even on these cold winter mornings when it is still dark as I leave for the pool.

Two years. It doesn’t seem like much when I consider that for 54 years before that I lived without this disease. But diabetes has had a profound effect on my life, way out of proportion with the short amount of time I have had it. I’m sure I’m not alone in this and that others with chronic diseases share this weird time shift. But God gives grace that is more than adequate to cover even this. And so, in that grace, I’ll look forward to what the future holds.

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