Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

Hope

A friend asked me this week how my Christian faith affects how I deal with diabetes.  It seemed like a question I should have thought about a lot, but it turns out that I haven’t. I have thought  lot about what I am learning about God and my relationship with Him due to the daily unpredictability of diabetes, and so how diabetes affects my faith. But turn that question around – how does my faith inform my thinking and dealing with diabetes? – and I was stumped.

So, this is my attempt to work that out. I am leading a Bible study of the book of 1 Peter. Peter talks a lot about suffering and how our hope in Christ is the key to holding on to our faith while we suffer.  He emphasizes the precious nature of our salvation too, to underscore that holding on to faith is worth the trouble.  There is also a  troubling verse: In this, (the living hope that is being kept in heaven for us), you rejoice, though now or a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that perishes though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7

Two things strike me from these verses that relate to how my faith affects my life with diabetes.  First, if necessary.  God has deemed it necessary that I deal with this. I trust in the sovereignty of God as well as in the perfect goodness of God. That means that I believe type 1 diabetes was no surprise to Him, and that He has a good purpose for me in it.  And that good purpose is the second point: The goal of my having diabetes is that the tested genuineness of my faith will result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus returns.

This goal then informs how I cope with crazy roller coaster blood sugars, or the emotional roller coaster that goes along with that, or the exhaustion or burn-out or frustration of not knowing why my body is acting the way it is.  It is more important that I honor Christ in all of this than whether my management of diabetes is perfect (which it NEVER will be).

The other thing that 1 Peter is teaching me is that honoring Christ begins in my mind.  Controlling my feelings and my actions begins with a mind that is turned toward Christ. I need HIM to steer me away from self-pity and toward thinking about His suffering on my behalf. I need Christ to show me that there is glory in suffering, in sharing a tiny bit of what He suffered.  I need Christ to help me persevere when all I want to do is curl up in a ball and just quit trying to manage a disease that does not want to be managed.

Having faith in that Christ means that I have hope.  Hope that I am never alone in my walk in this world. Hope that He is always faithful to give me what I need when I need it. Hope that He is faithful to forgive when I need it, and to restore me to Himself so that I can move on. Hope in Christ is not just for heaven. It is for this moment, for every time I feel like a failure and that I will never get it right.

Hope in Christ.  That is how faith affects my life, not just in dealing with diabetes, but in every part of it.  It is just more obvious that I need that hope to cope with the ups and downs of diabetes.  Maybe that’s why it is necessary that I am being grieved by this particular trial………..

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Weird days

I have had some weird days lately. I am just coming off of a pump vacation. I took six weeks off of my pump and am really glad I did. I proved to myself that I could do just as well with shots (as I did at the beginning of this adventure) as I have done with a pump. That was helpful to know. I had become too involved with technology and just needed to go simple for a while.  I did. Now I’m done with that and happy to be back on my pump again. It was a little weird for the first few days to get used to that bump on my hip again, but that soon passed as my pump became part of  me again. (As an aside, I knew I was ready to go back on my pump when the shots actually starting hurting again!)

Last week I had a couple of days of roller coaster blood sugars that kept me off balance.  The weird part was that it did not frustrate me nearly as much as episodes like that in the past have done.  I am extremely grateful for this. At the time, I was working on writing a testimony of how God has changed me since being diagnosed. The relative calm I experienced has a lot to do with the things I said in that testimony. You can read it here if you are interested.  I am hoping that this relative peace through the rocky times  is my new normal.

It also made me realize that living with diabetes is really just a series of weird days. No day is like the one before it or the one after.  A new and mostly unwanted surprise is waiting just around the corner.  The low that hit me last night at midnight was the same as any other midnight low and not as extreme as some, but sent me into a sweaty panic, looking for something other than the raisins I had at my bedside to treat it. Why did I go stumbling into the kitchen looking for  something else?  I ended up just grabbing another box of raisins and heading back to bed, knocking stuff off tables and making a racket along the way.  Why was this low different than the others?

But here’s the thing. Maybe because of having to write that testimony, which required me to think back on how I have changed in the past five and a half years since diagnosis, I feel more capable of handling ‘weird’. I feel stronger.  More confident.  I am not idealistic about it- I know the challenges of diabetes have not changed. But maybe I will feel less a victim of those challenges and more equipped to cope with them.

God really HAS changed me.

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Pump vacation

A few days ago, I decided to take a vacation from my insulin pump. This is something my CDE has actually suggested before, but I had never been willing to do. This time it was my idea (well, mostly.  Ok, partly).  I have been having a lot of unexplained highs and lows (at least, unexplained by me) and have felt like the problems have often been with infusion sites (where the pump tubing meets my skin…), or perhaps with problems with the pump itself.  I have found myself spending a lot of my mental energy on figuring out why I am low or high and what I should do about it (Wait? Treat? Change the site? Hit my head against a wall?) and finally I have had enough.

A pump vacation, in case you have not figured it out, is simply removing my pump and going back on  insulin injections (Shots. Yeah, fun stuff).  I can never take an INSULIN vacation, not with a broken pancreas.  Having worn my little pink friend for 5 years 24/7, this has not been the quickest of transitions. I still reach down to look at the screen for information (I have actually been using my pump as a watch since my watch battery died about six months ago….) and there’s nothing there!  It took a few days to transition off of the basal insulin from my pump while the injected stuff reached equilibrium.  And I miss some of the features of my pump, like using it to calculate how much insulin to take for meals or corrections of my blood glucose, or for knowing how much insulin is still active after a dose.

But mostly it has been positive so far.  It is really nice that when I give a shot of insulin, I KNOW it has gone in. The new long acting insulin I am using seems to be doing a great job of keeping me fairly steady between meals, though we will see if it needs some tweaking overnight.  I am pretty surprised that I don’t miss my pump.  I thought this would be harder.

One reason for the ease of the transition (and one of the reasons I took the pump vacation in the first place) is that I was so frustrated with how I was dealing with the highs and lows. My emotions were on a roller coaster, completely controlled by where my blood sugar was.  High? Angry and obsessed with bringing it down. Low? Hopeless and tired of having to deal with it. I don’t like being controlled by my emotions, and needed to do something to break that cycle.

So here’s the question. When I put my pump back on (and I will, no doubt about that), will I be able to control of my emotions and not get so worked up about the numbers? I honestly don’t know.  I think it is going to take some serious thinking and praying to realign my thinking.  I was getting to be in a bad place, one that was distracting me from the things that are truly important.  I don’t think it is an accident that this pump vacation has come at a time in my life when my prayer life is more consistent than it ever has been.  More about that in the next installment.

So, we will see what the next few weeks will bring. I don’t know how long this vacation will last.  A month at least. Maybe longer. Long enough to root out the discontent that has developed inside me and see if it can be replaced with something much, much better.

 

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