Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

Ups and downs

It has been way too long since I have posted anything here. I am hoping to get back in the routine of writing every couple of weeks. Since we have a sabbatical coming up, I should have more time to write.  It’s not as if I have not had anything to say about life with type 1 diabetes.  On the contrary, the last few weeks have been way too eventful.

The main issue is that I have returned to more or less regular exercise. This is a good thing, and I definitely feel better because of it and have lowered my basal rate and overall doses of insulin. This is the good news.  The bad news is that it throws a wrench in managing my blood glucose before and after exercise, and I have had to endure way too many lows in this process.   I want to make exercise fit into my life rather than allow diabetes to dictate when I exercise.  That really does not seem to work all that well yet.

I won’t bore anyone with the details of all of this, but really, the numbers are not so much what I want to write about.  It’s my attitude toward the numbers – the thing probably all of us struggle with. I really do try to see them as just NUMBERS, but, yeah, I am not always successful.  After a particularly frustrating day and a rough low that I did not really deal with all that well, a good friend (with whom I had been texting throughout the ordeal) finally got frustrated enough with me that she said “I wish you would learn to coexist with your diabetes instead of fighting it!”

Wow. That stopped me in my (complaining and whining) tracks.  I have been living in a battle zone within my own body.  She is right – that needs to stop.  Oh how I wish this were a simple thing to do.  I don’t have a nice neat strategy for how to do this, it is one step at a time, one low at a time and one high at a time.

As a Christian, my attitudes are all tied up with my faith. Do I believe God is good and that He loves me? Do I believe He is sovereign over my life? Do I believe my trials have a purpose?  My head says ‘yes’ to all of these questions, but my heart is not so consistent.  I have been experiencing a lot of fatigue these past few weeks, and that contributes to my discouragement, making it harder to control my emotions and attitudes.  It’s complicated. But I am trying to walk in the light rather than the darkness.  One step at a time.

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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.