Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

That elusive thing called discipline

Discipline.  It’s one of the things that is required to manage diabetes. It is also helpful to be disciplined about things like work, managing a home, raising children – fun stuff like that.  But what I have been confronted with lately is that I am not good at persevering at discipline.  I want a vacation from having to be disciplined!

But of course, diabetes does not take vacations.  If I drop my guard, chaos ensues.  It’s a downward spiral of eating badly, neglecting exercise and then the rotten blood sugars that result from all of this.  That makes me grumpy and I feel hopeless, so it is hard to muster up the energy to fix what needs to be fixed.

So I am trying to get back on the discipline bandwagon.  Exercise is a good place to start. When I am exercising regularly, I tend to eat better. Something about how hard it is to make myself exercise makes me want to make better choices about what I eat so that I don’t sabotage that effort.  It is especially hard to motivate myself to exercise in the awful heat and humidity that we are enduring right now.  I do love to swim, but it is more convenient to walk, and I feel like I need to strengthen my knee a bit, so I am trying to walk as often as possible, despite the weather.

And here’s the good news.  Starting to exercise regularly makes me want to continue. Maybe it’s the endorphins, but whatever it is, I am grateful that it works like this.  There is also something weirdly satisfying about coming in after a 2 mile walk all sweaty and hot and knowing I DID  IT.

So, I will hopefully hang in there with this for a while, varying between walking and swimming as I can, and seeing good results.  Diabetes being what it is, there is no guarantee that just because I do everything I think I should that I will see great blood sugars. But at least I know I am doing what I can to manage this disease as best I can.  For now.

 

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Self centered? Who, me?

I had a disturbing insight this morning. Diabetes has turned me in on myself.  This has two implications that I am not really happy about.

First, living with T1D means that some part of my brain is always consumed by tending to the needs of my body.  As a result I find that I do not think about the needs of other people as quickly as I would like to.  I want to see myself as someone who is quick to care for and act on behalf of others.  But honestly some days (cough, today, cough) I am so tied up with dealing with how diabetes is making me feel physically and what my blood sugar is doing as a result, that I cannot see the needs of others.  I don’t like this.

Secondly, I find that I am quick to condemn myself, as if every high or low blood sugar is my fault.  Sometimes the excursions of my blood sugar into the stratosphere or down to the depths are definitely the result of a bad decision. But I did NOT cause my pancreas to shut down.  So while I can do some things to manage this disease, mostly it is a crap shoot.  For a number of days last week, I was living in lala land, not lada land.  My blood sugars looked beautiful for entire 24 hour periods.  I wasn’t being particularly virtuous about exercising or eating better. It just happened.  But then there were 2-3 days of sticking at over 220, coming down briefly into range, and then taking off again into the heights.  and today has just been a roller coaster, coupled with nausea. I have no idea what caused any of these things.  But my tendency is to blame myself, and I don’t think that is a very good idea either.

So how to escape this force of T1D to turn inward?  I wish I knew.  I do know I need to be intentional about caring for others. I need to go into times with friends with the aim of finding out how THEY are doing, and expressing my concern and offering help where I can. I cannot save everyone from all their pain, but I also don’t want to be so wrapped up in dealing with my own challenges that I miss  the opportunity to use what I have learned to help someone else. I have learned a lot from this disease, and even though I would be perfectly happy to be cured tomorrow, I am grateful for those lessons. I think I have some valuable experience to share with others, not just those with diabetes.  But I have to get my eyes off of me to do so.

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Day by day by day by day by……..

I have entered a new phase of living with LADA, or T1D or whatever you want to call my particular form of diabetes.  It’s the day to day slogging it out with a chronic disease.  Now that the distraction and complication of chronic knee pain is no longer messing with my blood sugar, and my work schedule is a bit easier to deal with, and family stuff is going great, I am left with the day by day attempt to be my own pancreas.

I was struck once again with the monotony and difficulty of this when someone asked me if I had “gotten my blood sugars under control yet?”.  I really, really hate that question.  How can I explain to someone that I will never get my blood sugar completely under control without sounding pathetic or stupid or somehow just not up to dealing properly with my diabetes? Once again I found myself fumbling around for an answer, that came out something like, well, yes, things are going better these days but I still have unexpected highs and lows that I will never be able to predict and almost everything I do affects my blood sugar differently than I think it will and no one with type 1 diabetes will be able to control their blood sugar as well as someone with a functioning pancreas. And yes, what I said was that rambling and long and lacking in confidence.

That question really does mess with my confidence.  Am I the only diabetic who can’t get their blood sugar under control? Could I be doing a better job at this?  If I just ate more cinnamon or less gluten, would my blood sugar be more predictable?  What am I doing wrong anyway?

Most of the time I feel pretty good about how I handle diabetes.  My pump, my CGM, the amount of time I exercise, my diet (well, maybe not right now….), these things help me to manage diabetes so that it does not interfere very often with how I live my life.  But that does not mean that it will always be that way. Diabetes is not going to go away.  Which means that everyday for the rest of my life, I will be in charge of my blood sugar.  Some days, that thought is overwhelming and throws me into a funk.  Some days, the questions people ask cause me to doubt that I am any good at managing this chronic disease and why don’t I just get my act together.

But on good days, I can just say “one day at a time”. Or maybe “one hour at a time”.  I can look at my CGM for that day and see that I have managed blood sugar well for at least part of that day and take encouragement from that.  Slog on, fellow T1Ds.  And slog on, Colleen, whether or not other people understand what that means.

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