Today I am talking about dealing with diabetes and all that follows. There’s lots of words for it – acceptance and adjustment being two of the most common ones, but what we are talking about here is being able to deal with the fact you have diabetes, and get on with your life. It is not a static thing and changes as your life and your diabetes, change and shift too.
I prefer to call it “allowing” – you allow diabetes to be part of your life and you make adjustments to accommodate it. I allow it to be something I have to tend to, but I don’t accept it, and I certainly don’t accept when it gets in the way of the things I want to do in life, which is not very often. Because I don’t allow it to.
I have been having a rough time of it lately with my diabetes. 35 years in with type 1 diabetes, and over 10 years with gastroparesis – a condition which slows down my entire digestive system due to nerve damage – and new things are starting to shall we say, pop up. First, a strange dip appeared in the outer side of my left calf. A few visits and investigations later and so far no answers. I ripped up the MRI request in disgust, after the ultrasound doctor said it may just be “diabetes”. Don’t you HATE that, how everything that happens is somehow attributed to diabetes. But now, a similar hole is appearing in my right leg and they both get sore and swollen around the area of the dips, along with nerve pain and burning….hmmmm says the GP, that is strange. Geez, thanks for that.
Off to the Neurologist I go again, head down, to ask for another MRI form and more tests.
My blood glucose has also been erratic, for no real reason, and I have had crashing lows and painful highs. I am sure many of you will identify with that. Yesterday I had my second episode in 2 weeks of unexplained highs overnight, followed by getting up the next day and ending up on the toilet floor, sweating like a pig, white as a ghost and almost passed out. Blood tests so far show no answers and I am off the the Endocrinologist Friday, who says it could be blood pressure related due to Autonomic Neuropathy (which goes along with Gastroparesis) or Adrenal or Thyroid related. Both of these things can be more common for people with type 1 diabetes, as with all autoimmune diseases. Or, as is usual, I suspect they will find no reason for this and I will be left to work out how I will now adjust to dealing with this new problem in my life, which may happen again. Or not.
To top it off, like many of you, I have had multiple ongoing viruses all winter, the latest one last week, knocking me around and now my wheezing chest is playing up. Yet today I went for a run. Do you know why? It may not have been all that much fun. I may have had to take enormous amounts of Ventolin to get through it. I may have sore calves. I don’t care.
I went because I have had a week down from exercise due to these things, and I do not accept that diabetes is going to stop me from the pleasures of my life for very long. Even when you are at your lowest and physically knocked down, there is always something you can do to regain a sense of control. For me, exercise helps me do that. I won’t accept defeat.
Sometimes in life you just have to find something you can do, one small thing. If you are totally flat on your back, maybe just being able to sit up in bed for a time is a step. Or if you have lots of physical aches and pains, finding a way through those to make sure they don’t take over your life.
That is why I run, despite all of these things. Yesterday I could not have even gone for a walk after that episode. Today, I decided not to allow it take away another day from me. Bring it on.
What about you – do you accept, or allow diabetes into your life? And what things help you to feel in control when things knock you down?