Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

Life, interrupted

I have been thinking a lot lately about how diabetes has affected my life. And the word ‘interruption’ keeps coming up as the most appropriate descriptor. Diabetes interrupts my life on a regular basis. Just this week:

  • I was late getting to a church event that I supervise because I had to wait until my blood sugar came up enough to be safe to drive.
  • I lost an entire evening to a low blood sugar that would not respond, despite my feeding it more carbohydrates that it needed to come up from 55 to something resembling normal.
  • Then I lost that night of sleep to dealing with the rebound high blood sugar resulting from all the stuff I ate to try to bring my blood sugar up from 55.
  • The next day, I felt horrible, and though I could do a decent day of work, I was afraid to swim for fear of a repeat of the night before.
  • This afternoon I came home because I have no stamina for errands.   A walk through Walmart and Lowe’s sent me racing for lunch before I plunged into the depths of hypoglycemia.

So I have been thinking a lot about how to deal with these interruptions.   I want my management of my blood glucose to be perfect.  I would like very much to be able to go through every day knowing that I have programmed my pump to perfectly match my need for insulin.  HA!  There’s a dream that will never come true!  As great as the technology is, I cannot predict what my body is going to need each minute of the day.  A random trip to the grocery store turns out to be a major drain on my blood sugar. Who knew?  One day swimming a half hour sends my blood sugar up 50 points or more. The next week, the same swim sends it down 100 points.  I’m not making this up. It is simply how life is with T1D. Every day is a crap shoot.  I think I have said that before in a blog. It sounds familiar anyway.

The thing I have been realizing is that it is up to me to figure out how to adjust to a life with these interruptions, since they are not going away.  I have talked with some moms lately about how things change as our children grow up. The nights of being up to feed babies, or nurse sick children, or wait up for teens – all of these phases pass, and now my kids are grown and mostly out of the nest.  I can truly say I have loved every phase of parenting, despite the demands of each one.  Diabetes is different.  The demands will not go away, at least, until an artificial pancreas is a reality.  My sleep will continue to be interrupted by highs or lows.  My days might go just as I plan them, or they may be derailed by some diabetes oddity – out of range blood sugars, malfunctioning technology, whatever.

I will continue to work to control my reactions to the interruptions. I suspect this will be a long term project. Ranting and raving might make me feel better for a time, but honestly, it just leaves me feeling guilty and selfish.  I have read the diabetes articles that tell us that the reading on the meter or CGM is “just a number, not good or bad, just a number to be dealt with”. Yeah, right.  When that number is 101 or 115 or 92, great!  I can comply with that suggestion. But when that number is 57 or 297, it is hard not to get emotional about it and just deal calmly by treating the low or dosing with insulin to correct the high.  And waiting for the low to come up or the high to come down…..Let’s just say I am not the most patient at doing this.  (I can hear some of you laughing out loud. Stop it.)

I continue to grow in my ability to deal with the challenges diabetes tosses at me, and in some weird way, I am grateful for them.    I am also very thankful for friends who listen to me and encourage me, and who have stuck with me through this crazy ride.  If there is one thing I would like others to understand about me and other diabetics, it is that we didn’t bring this on ourselves, and we are (most of us anyway) doing the best we can to cope with an unpredictable disease that has life-changing effects on us.  This is true of probably all chronic diseases.  I can only speak for myself.  Hang in there with me.  I’m learning to deal with life, interrupted.

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