Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

Three years…….

on December 10, 2013

My third Diaversary passed last month.  That is a euphemism for “I’ve had this blasted disease for three years now”.  I didn’t actually celebrate this milestone, but I did notice it.  It has prompted me to reflect on the impact of diabetes on my life, and to wonder what the future looks like (thought honestly I think much less about the future, since I have no idea what is in store and I’d rather leave that in God’s hands).  So I thought I would take some time to record these reflections, even if they are things I have written about before.

First of all the day to day, hour to hour changes that diabetes has brought into my life.  Pricking my finger 5-8 times a day, doing math in my head to figure out if I need to dose or eat, having robotic parts now attached to my body and carrying around a couple of wonderful but sometimes inconvenient pieces of hardware, making sure I have what I need to survive every time I leave home – all of these things have definitely changed the way I live now.  Taking time to refill my pump, change out the CGM sensor, order supplies, pick up prescriptions – all of these small but important tasks require my attention and time.  My schedule has changed to accommodate exercise on a regular basis. That’s definitely a good thing, and I am thankful that diabetes has driven me to be consistent with swimming since in addition to improving my blood sugar control,  I know it makes me feel better overall.  But it does require commitment and carving out time in my schedule, as well as the determination to get out on cold snowy mornings when jumping into a pool is the last thing I want to do.

Then there is the constant niggling in the back of my mind: Am I doing enough to manage this disease? Why do I go high, or low, when I least expect it? How did I get diabetes in the first place? Is it my fault? (This is a biggie – and a great guilt inducer.)  Why me? Am I using diabetes as an excuse or does it genuinely impair my ability to work at times? How will I cope with this disease as I get older?

On the other hand, there really are some good things that have come from having diabetes.  I try hard to balance the worries with these – I don’t like being a whiner.  I know I depend on God in ways I never would have without the stress of diabetes.  The Scriptures have come alive for me in ways I have never experienced.  I understand my weakness better (it’s hard to ignore it) and so I appreciate the strength that I find in Christ.  I appreciate the suffering of Christ more, which has caused me to see the abundance of grace in our salvation. I know my suffering is trivial compared to that of many other people, but this is what God has given me to deal with, and I am trying to learn what He is teaching me.

I have grown closer to friends and family.  I would not be doing as well as I am at managing this disease without the support and encouragement of so many people.  I am especially thankful for those who “get” diabetes (that would be you, Betty and Jane and Diana) – they are the ones who bring balance back to my life when I obsess on something related to diabetes. (And oh, how prone I am to obsession!)  I am thankful for the many who tell me they are praying for me. Wow.  That is humbling. I am thankful for those who help me through the lows, when all I want to do is curl up and sleep, or who help me wait out the highs until that I can cut through the fog in my brain.  It may just be a hand on the shoulder, or someone to sit with me or pray with me, or ask me if I have eaten anything recently. You know who you are and I am thankful for you.  I cannot do diabetes alone, and that has reminded me of the value of friendship and my need (and desire) to be a good friend in return.

So, another Diaversary has passed. I have dealt with diabetes for three years, which doesn’t sound like much when I say it out loud.  But man, it has sure turned my life on its head in ways that I never could have imagined.  I don’t think I can say yet that I am thankful for diabetes.  I’m still a ways from that. But I can say that on the whole, the good that it has brought into my life balances the bad.  For now, that will have to do.


3 responses to “Three years…….

  1. Betty Hollstegge says:

    Colleen, I have been blessed that you have shared your journey with me and your friendship means a lot to me both personally and professionally.
    You help me not to be self centered with my own problems (and you know about my struggles :)! I am thankful for you. Betty

  2. Karen says:

    I think three years definitely sounds like a lot!! It boggles my mind thinking about how stressful it must feel as an adult to get the diagnosis and have to change your life in so many ways. It is wonderful that you have found the good things diabetes has brought into your life too. Congratulations on making it through those tough three years – you should be very proud of all you’ve done!

    • Colleen says:

      Thanks for these encouraging words, Karen. I just went to your blog site – and I LOVE the socks that you posted last February with the cool cable on them! I’m hoping that pattern is still available. I’m ready for a new challenge in socks 🙂 How fun to find a fellow knitter and diabetic – though I much prefer the knitting part!

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