Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Celebrating successes is easy, and just plain feels good. Poking fun at the quirks and inconveniences of living with diabetes is something I enjoy doing. These two manners of blogging are both comfortable and familiar for me.
But they don't paint the whole picture of what "living with diabetes" is.
Because if you're one of the chosen few who carry this burden, you know that sometimes those good days and happy numbers are few and sporadically placed - and that means you know what Real Diabetes looks like.
Real Diabetes is the combination of poor choices, untimely boluses, and that mischievous leprechaun in my pancreas that kept me above 200 the majority of Tuesday.
Real Diabetes is the guilt and self-scolding that follows.
It's discovering a failed insulin pump site shortly after finishing your restaurant meal, which you weren't sure about the carb count to start with. It's wondering how much of that insulin actually absorbed, how much leaked out, and if you can get home before the ketones start spilling.
It's being stuck in a subway terminal with a blood sugar of 54 mg/dL and discovering you've run out of glucose tabs.
Real Diabetes is interrupted REM sleep; it's carrying a bigger purse than most; it's sometimes looking at food as medicine.
It's weird lumps under your clothing, made of plastic, metal, and science. It's blood smears on important documents and favorite shirts. It's hypoglycemia at the most inconvenient moments - while working out, while at work, while trying to sleep, while attempting intimacy.
Real Diabetes is the weight and relief inherent in doctor-spoken phrases like "nothing has changed", "looks great", and "everything's normal", and the sadness, defeat, and frustration of hearing anything but that.
It's looking at every out-of-range number as one step closer to complications - except no one knows how long and winding their road is, or if there's even really anything at the end of it for certain.
It's wondering how life would be different if you weren't spending that large chunk of income on simply being alive.
Real Diabetes is sometimes feeling lost, frustrated, angry, or complacent. It's just that - real. It isn't always full of 104s and skilled insulin dosing.
The fact that I blog about and advocate for diabetes doesn't make me an expert; nor does how long I've lived with it. I'm not a shining example of what to do, or how to succeed at managing it. What I am is a person with diabetes sharing my story, and trying hard, and putting out there as many sides of this as I can - the good, the bad, the annoying, and the difficult.
We do the best we can with it, because that's all anyone can do. Because it's not about how many times you get knocked down - it's about how many times you get back up to keep fighting.