Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One Year With Diabetes

Today is my Dia-versary. A year ago today I was in the hospital. I had an antibiotic resistant infection in my tooth and a blood sugar of 380. I can't say it was the worst I have ever felt, because it wasn't. The day after cancer surgery was the worst I ever felt. Still... It was tough.

Nurses came into my room and explained things about diabetes. Several of the nurses had diabetes themselves, so they were helpful. I met the CDE and she explained even more. I felt like I had mittens on my hands when I held an insulin vial for the first time. I didn't practice injections on a pillow or an orange. I gave myself my first injection with a syringe. It was terrifying, but I did it. And I did the next one, too.

I learned to use a glucose meter. I learned to pick food off the hospital menu using carb choices. My meals were limited to 5 carb choices. I think about that now and just laugh. 75 grams of carbs at one meal is rare now. In the hospital I worried a lot. I worried about Thanksgiving and Christmas. Oh and Halloween. Was I doomed to a life choking down sugar-free food? Did I have to trade cookies for kale and cupcakes for tofu?

I spent a week in the hospital before I was finally well enough to come home. After greeting family and pets, I stood in the kitchen and opened the pantry door. Noodles. Popcorn. Cans of this and that. How many carb choices is a bowl of cereal? How many carbs are in this thing? Can I eat that? What about these? I felt like I was dropped inside a dangerous place, blindfolded and abandoned, armed only with my meter and my insulin pen.

In the hospital the CDE kept talking over and over about low blood sugar. I thought she was kidding. My blood sugar was never below 200. I didn't have to worry about lows. That was never going to happen to...




My first low felt like someone very large squeezed my head. I sat in the kitchen and followed the rule of 15's. Fifteen grams of carbs and 15 minutes later I felt better. When I was low I knew how to do. But what was I supposed to eat for dinner? And breakfast? And lunch? How was I supposed to deal with diabetes all day every day?

I was afraid and alone. Until I found the DOC, The Diabetes Online Community. I found a network of people who live with diabetes. I found bloggers who write about diabetes. I found people who have had diabetes for more than 20 years. I wasn't alone.  I didn't have to live with this alone.

So I don't.

Instead I am part of a community of people living with diabetes. Both online and in real life I have the support I need to thrive. And I am thriving! I don't eat kale instead of cookies, and tofu instead of cupcakes. I eat a healthy diet that has room in it for cookies and cupcakes. And caramel lattes, too! I look after myself and surround myself with other people who are doing the same. We all have to life the D-life. We might as well live it together.

I want to say that every day my blood sugar is stable and always looks like this:

But I would be lying.

No. I don't live a perfect life with diabetes. I live my life with diabetes. And my life right now is running circles around how I felt last year. A whole year with diabetes. I made it!  Yahoo! If you have diabetes, you can do it, too.

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