“Is your diabetic relative’s diabetes as ‘bad’ as yours?”
It was a fair enough question to ask considering the whole #nofilter hash tag often dictates my social media interactions. The good, the bad, and the ugly are relayed to my followers, and I make no apologies for that. This is life with autoimmune disease from my perspective, and if I’m going to share that story, I’m going to keep it real.
The question still kind of hurt, though. I truly didn’t know my diabetes was considered “bad.” Sure, my A1C is less-than-stellar. I was overly-vocal about my insulin pump frustrations, albeit I was fighting for my quality of life. I look back and see the desperation in my words- those spoken and those written– but I never thought that I was going to lay down and let the diabetes wave roll over me. I was, and I still am, going to fight this.
A good friend asked the question about 6 weeks ago, slowly articulating the words, immediately wishing she could pull them back in before I could snap. I said something along the lines of, “I mean, we’ve always more or less had similar results in our diabetes management. But it’s type one diabetes. There are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days even if you’re the ‘best diabetic’ out there, and the ‘best diabetic’ doesn’t exist in real life.”
Then we returned to our beverages and talking about our jobs, and until now I haven’t thought much about that conversation.
The truth of the matter is, 6 weeks and a complete 180 degree turn in diabetes management from insulin pumping to multiple daily injections later, I do indeed feel better. I’m almost afraid to say it because some kind of a diabetic hex might come out of the woodwork and knock me to the ground again.
My transition back to insulin injections is a bit less bumpy now. My quality of life has started to see sunlight again. Little things like eating a ranch chicken sandwich for lunch and sending a picture to my doctor (#yay!), bolusing insulin and knowing that it will do its thing to keep me alive when I eat that sandwich, bowling with friends and watching the exercise work its magic on my CGM graph, and having so much fun that for a few hours the CGM graph doesn’t really matter- these things that a few months ago seemed so far out of reach- are now suddenly part of enjoying life. It feels so good that I am scared of losing it again.
There is an element of “survivor’s guilt” in diabetes for me at times. I know that I deserve to be healthy and to enjoy my twenties. I know that feeling better can be fleeting if diabetes has its say in the matter. But I also know that feeling better is something I so passionately want and have fought for, so I shouldn’t feel guilty or afraid of the betterment, right? And even if it does eventually fade away, I will do what every diabetic does: lift my head up and find a different way to fight diabetes until I feel better again.
Moral of the blog post: Do what you have to do to feel better. If that means writing somewhat corny, sentimental blog posts far too often, tweeting in rapid fire to get suggestions on diabetes management, or completely changing your course of treatment- so be it. If an insulin pump works best for your needs and your health, utilize that technology if you can. If you want to take a pump vacation, book your flight. Using whatever floats your diabetes boat, just try your best to keep on floating. We deserve to feel better. And take it from someone who has been in the diabetes trenches: we can feel better.