Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

Feelings

on April 27, 2013

I think one of the things that has surprised me the most about having diabetes is the new ways my body has surprised me. Of course the biggest surprise is that my pancreas just up and quit.  But there are other things about diabetes that provide smaller surprises day by day.

First is probably how much my blood glucose level affects everything else about me.  Just 20 or more points below my target BG makes me feel like a walking zombie, and 60 or more points above make me woozy and thick-headed.  It takes me back to when I was in a Nutritional Biochemistry class (yes, I really do remember it) in college and was absolutely amazed at the intricacy of the body’s ability to regulate all aspects of our metabolism so precisely through feedback loops and other mechanisms.  When it all works, it is astounding. I was struck then, as I am now, with the obvious conclusion that this could NOT have been a random design, but that God was and is an amazing Creator.

Now that I am the victim of a regulatory system that doesn’t work, I see the beauty of the system even more and experience the consequences of that lack of regulation.  I simply cannot duplicate the things my body did to keep my blood sugar in the narrow range that allows for everything else to function well.  And how amazing is it that such a small thing (well, maybe not so small) as blood sugar has such an impact on the rest of the body anyway?  So, thank God for all the things in my body that DO work, and I’m praying that nothing else gets the idea from my pancreas and just shuts down.

I have also discovered that I can feel when my blood glucose is changing rapidly.  I know, it’s a little creepy. But I have realized (and my continuous glucose monitor confirms that I’m not just making this up) that I get this weird internal sinking feeling – kind of like goosebumps on the inside – when my BG is going up or down rapidly.  I get this warning before my CGM usually catches it (the CGM buzzes when BG is changing rapidly to warn you to pay attention, since you will likely go high or low soon).  I’m torn between being happy that I am sensitive enough to these changes that I can feel them and being totally fed up by it.  My typical response is “rats, I’m going to have to pay attention to diabetes soon because I’m either going to bottom out or hit the roof”.  If the feeling persists, the response after that is “really, again?  I’m too involved in what I’m doing to deal with this!”.  After that it’s “OK, I’m DONE with diabetes. I want my pancreas back now!”.

Mostly, I have been struck by the fact that my feelings can be so intense about this disease. I think I am a pretty level-headed person, not prone to emotional roller-coaster rides (though my husband might disagree).  But diabetes has brought out my emotions in ways I would not have predicted.  Fortunately I have a good friend who is willing to be the sounding board for many of those emotions and I am grateful for her sympathetic and helpful responses when I am flying off on rants about how I feel.  The fact that she also brings her knowledge as a CDE to the table is particularly wonderful, since her calming messages are right on target when I’m feeling irrational.

Diabetes is not just a physical condition. It’s a highly emotional one as well.  I wasn’t ready for that, even if I thought I was ready to deal with the physical aspects of the disease.  I’m not sure I’m doing as well at handling the emotional aspects of the disease as well as I am the physical ones.  My A1C level shows me how I’m doing at managing the physical part of diabetes.  There’s no such measurement for showing how I’m doing emotionally.  And that’s just something I’m going to have to live with, and hopefully get better at.

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2 responses to “Feelings

  1. Colleen says:

    Yup, I also have those moments when I want my pancreas back!

    • Colleen says:

      My CDE just sent me an article about the discovery of a new hormone that stimulates the production of beta cells. Only works in mice at this point, but hopeful. Unfortunately it also said that it probably wouldn’t work in Type 1s since we don’t have enough beta cells for it to work on. *sigh*

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