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...

Oh.

Oh!


WHOA!

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.

http://www.mydiabeticheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/meetup-group1.jpg

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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Disclaimer

I am not a doctor. I do not have a medical degree. Nothing on this site qualifies as medical advice. These are lessons I'm learning at the University of Catastrophe. What I find to be correct answers in my classes may not be the right answers for you.

If you are enrolled with your own major at the University of Catastrophe, please consult your doctor, therapist, attorney, auto mechanic, veterinarian, plumber, dietician, arborist, acupuncturist, manicurist, mother, local dairy council, shoe shine boy, or other equally qualified professional, for advice and assistance.

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