No, it’s not a dramatic Nicholas Sparks novel. It’s just what happened yesterday.
I’ve been waging an epic battle against the “Hormonal Hell Highs”- that thing that happens for the younger female crowd once a month and is emotionally and physically draining, diabetes aside. But then diabetes hears the terms “emotionally and physically draining,” and it is all about joining the party. It’s diabetes. That’s what it does. It’s just a fact.
If there were a diabetes Tampax commercial, it would show a bunch of insulin-pump-wearing, happy women prancing around the neighborhood with picture-perfect CGM graphs. Let’s get with the program here: That isn’t reality for most of us. Not many things are as frustrating as doing everything you’re supposed to do- checking your blood sugar often, increasing boluses, raising basal rates, trying to keep Grumpysaurus Dex in its lair, and more- and seeing that steady yellow line indicating “high” on the CGM for hours and days on end. Some months are better than others, and in typical diabetes fashion, what works one month rarely applies to the “hormone play date” of the next month.
For someone who is accustomed to working hard and seeing that hard work pay off in terms of job opportunities, GPA, and other objective measures of “success,” it has been a tough pill to swallow- rather, a painful injection of insulin to take- to make peace with the fact that I am trying my best and those blood sugar numbers, although elevated, are the best that I can do right now. I am not rolling over and letting the diabetes waves swallow me. Instead, I am throwing on the insulin life preserver and trying to stay afloat until the hormonal college mixer going on inside of my body quiets down. It is okay to have those moments of hormone-fueled tears, but I still have to ride the diabetes wave and get back to shore safely.
Yesterday at work, many of us participated in certification testing to measure how well we understand the medical and legal aspects of our job. It is about as un-fun as it sounds, but it has to be done. We all filed into the office like nervous teenagers before the SATs, coffees freshly brewed and pencils newly-sharpened. The test was divided into morning and afternoon sessions. After finishing the first half of the test, we had an extended lunch break with a heavy emphasis on coffee-refueling at the local shop.
My first word upon leaving the test-taking haze was not “coffee,” though. Instead, it was “LANTUS.” I went to the bathroom, jabbed the needle into my backside, and felt immediate relief as I watched the life-sustaining insulin leave the pen and enter my body. Must. have. insulin.
“Work Mom” texted me about getting coffee, but I neglected to respond due to the Lantus shooting up session. (The Millennials crowd truly cherishes our connections with “Work Moms,” those kind souls who keep a watchful eye on the young professionals in the office.) My Work Mom later found me in the coffee shop, where she knew I would be all along.
“Do you want to get out of here and go for a walk or something?” I asked.
And so we strolled through Providence until we found the perfect resting place: Adirondack chairs in the middle of a local college campus. We parked ourselves there and chatted about anything and everything, never pausing while I checked my blood sugar or injected Humalog into my abdomen. Work Mom’s empathetic presence in the Adirondack chair indicated that she understood what I needed to do and that diabetes did not have to interrupt anything in that immediate moment. Amen.
Here’s where I’ll sound like Nicholas Sparks in a corny, yet heartfelt, manner: How often do we get to pause and enjoy those little moments, removed from the hullabaloo of the world around us? As college kids bustled by our Adirondack chairs on their way to the dorms, we simply soaked up the sunshine and the good company of one another.
I am not happy that diabetes has run my patience rather thin during this time of the month. But I am thankful that this time around, I do not have guilt about how I have handled the highs and the lows. It does not mean that I have failed if I feel like crap sometimes. I am trying my best. Right now that means being present in the moment, sipping on coffee in the Adirondack chairs.
Thanks for the perspective, Work Mom.