Friday, December 19, 2014

Couples Therapy

Another post in such a short time...I guess my inner blogger is coming out a bit more now! Or perhaps I'm just feeling especially that it's been a few months since my diagnosis, I feel like there has even been a few full days where I've managed to not have to share my diagnosis story/management techniques with ANYONE at all. Which is a really liberating feeling that I hadn't even noticed I was missing...

But apparently I want to talk about it more than I thought I did. Isn't that always the way? Also I am feeling inspired by the community online. I did a few halfhearted initial searches for blogs over the summer, but I mostly found parenting advice. Then last weekend, while googling "Dexcom CGM insertion does it hurt" (the answer is a big fat YES, imho), I found this blog:  and it's kind of sent me down a rabbit hole. In a lot of ways, it's been great to read about the experiences of fellow T1D-ers, especially since I've only found blogs of "lifers" aka people diagnosed as children. They are inspiring, offer great tips, and also commiserate over issues that were making me feel like a real fail-betic.

However, there's something they lack that I still have a lot of--and that's the SURPRISE. The dang novelty of HAVING A CHRONIC DISEASE. That's new to me, and right now, that's A LOT of the struggle.

I mentioned in my last post that the closest thing I could relate it to was a betrayal in a romantic relationship.

Cue my go-to breakup band:
Seriously. Try not to cry and lament over the last bad boy (or girl) (or non-gender normative person) who broke your heart. 

As a healthy young adult, I have always been lucky enough to assume that things will "just get better." At worst they might require a quick trip to the GP for a prescription. This explains why I spent 4 months of my life peeing every 20 minutes, guzzling water from the tap in public restrooms (not an exaggeration), popping 3 Pepcid ACs with every meal, and sleeping for 12+ hours a day...without considering SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION.

As "they" say, you don't cook a frog by plopping him down in boiling water (presumably he will hop out). You put him in water and slowly turn the heat up and he will cook without even noticing.

So once my frog was thoroughly cooked, and I went into and came out of the hospital, there was no real depression for me, as this song might suggest. Instead, I was more like, "I'm aliiiiiiiive!!!!" I had SO MUCH ENERGY! I felt SO MUCH BETTER! I was SO HAPPY with my body, and my body was like SO HAPPY with me, since now I was helping my pancreas out and whatever.

We had some great times together, sleeping through the night, eating spicy foods, walking 2 blocks without dying of exhaustion. There were even times when I accidentally walked too far without noticing, past my destination, simply because I was walking that much faster now. It was great. It was basically the makeup sex after the fight.

But then. But then, the real work began. The cracks began to show. My body and I had made up, decided to stick together, started (insulin pump) therapy together. Things should have been great, right? Except one day I was running late to get a haircut, and so I had to push lunch until after the cut. No big deal right? As a freaking adult who pays taxes and occasionally doesn't get carded buying alcohol, shouldn't I be the one to decide when I push lunch if I want to? As the poor hairdresser whose hands filled up with drenched and clammy hair while I scrambled to suck down a juice box can attest--NOPE. That was a dumbbb idea and I was not in charge that day.

Nor was I in charge the many nights when I had to eat a massive snack 40 minutes after dinner due to a bad carb ratio/basal rate issue. Nor was I in charge when the word HIGH (no number, just those shameful letters) flashed on my PDM screen after a slight popcorn binge during "Guardians of the Galaxy." Nor do I feel in charge when I have to test my blood sugar before every long walk, before every yoga class, before every time I drive or am left alone with a child.

I don't feel in charge when I walk into a commercial building and instantly think--low blood sugar or A/C? Low blood sugar or genuine exertion? High blood sugar or just tired and distracted? It's like flying on a trapeze and there's a net at the bottom most of the time.

It doesn't help that I'm used to being an independent adult who barrels towards challenges. When I hop out of the car for a quick walk during a road trip, don't bring my kit for 10 minutes, and realize I'm dropping due to a breakfast over-bolus? NOT COOL BODY.

The list can (and does) go on. But I guess I should focus on the fact that we, my body and I, we're working on things. It lets me down sometimes, definitely. But having felt the true powerlessness of DKA, I can still appreciate that at least I can walk for 10 minutes at a time without panting. When I balance in standing half-moon pose, I try to breathe in and out thankfulness for the muscles in my thigh, calf, and core, that let me stand in this pose. When I walk home from work, with TSwift buzzing in my ears and my basal rate reduced, and make it all the way without even a snack break (okay so the snack break's not always mandatory...), I try to thank my body.

Have we (my body and I) ever had a "no hitter" day? No. Not yet. But we will, probably. Have I gone 2 full weeks without a low? Yes, and that's something I couldn't say a month ago, so. Have I completed a hike without dropping low OR overcompensating while reducing my basal insulin? As of very recently, yes. Has my body regained it's natural shape and size after I unknowingly starved it for months at a time? Yes.

Am I thankful for this diagnosis? Honestly, no. Definitely not. There's so much more to think about now, and worry about (blurry vision or EYE PROBLEMS? Cheap shoes or PENDING FOOT AMPUTATION?). But I think that taking the time to realize that it's not ALL struggles, all the time, is important. It's not even all diabetes, all the time. There's more going on between me and my body. There's more to us than meets the eye. 

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