It's All Connected

It's All Connected

Friday, January 6, 2012

I'm a Little Bit Angry, You're a Little Bit Rock and Roll

Being a diabetic sucks.

There, I said it. I don't say it very often because, well, 1) it's all I've ever known and 2) there's not a damn thing I can do about it.

There is no cure, though promises were made to the contrary to a baby me three decades ago. Honestly, I don't see a cure happening anytime in my lifetime. Mostly because of television commercials talking about advancements in medical science making it possible for you to go from Jean-Luc Picard to Wesley Crusher in one month*. I'm not sure why medical science should be spending it's time on such trivial things as hair loss, but that's the way this world works.

If you can't tell, I'm a bit depressed about my disease today. There are certain things that most juvenile diabetics have in common. A need to over-achieve, hopeless loyalty, and extreme discipline are some of the better qualities most have, but one of the most devastating is depression.

I have been working really hard to get my health back on track. Falling into that discipline was easier than I thought it would be. But the frightening realization that I was experiencing my first side effect of the disease has helped me keep my eyes on the prize. I am down from smoking a pack a day to four and a half cigarettes yesterday and so far one and a half today. I have a quit date of a week from Wednesday but I don't like to think about it. It causes a bit of anxiety.

I know many of you have to be thinking, why not just quit now, are a few cigarettes a day really worth it? The answer to that is, yes they are. At least right now. On top of everything else I am trying to do, those few smokes a day (and a wonderful thing called Wellbutrin) have kept me from committing murder on numerous occasions.

I have been keeping really tight control on my sugars. Maybe a little too tight. Normally, I would want my sugars to be between 80 and 180. I have been trying to keep mine below 120. I guess it comes back to that discipline.

Most people don't understand what it means to take care of yourself when you have Juvenile Diabetes. They think all it takes is to cut out sugar, sweets, soda. God, if it were only that easy. You see, go into your kitchen, open your fridge, pull out your milk. See on the nutritional guide where it says total carbohydrates? Yep, even milk is an issue for me.

Fruit, yogurt, some veggies and even some meats are as well. It is very difficult to find anything that doesn't have carbs in it. Now, I'm not allowed to cut them from my diet completely, but I do have to account for every single one of them. There is no such thing as a free carb for me. To be honest, if any of you are trying to count "net carbs" or "digestible carbs" you are all fooling yourselves. Carbs are carbs folks. Yes, things like milk or fruit are better carbs than cake or candy, but that is because of the sugar. Carbs are carbs, no matter how creative companies get with their packaging.

Now, imagine a home where every meal is made from scratch. Where there aren't those handy little guides to tell me how much insulin I should be taking for my homemade spaghetti. It's been a bitch to keep such tight control, and this is a lifetime thing. I haven't always been good about testing, but worrying if I am taking too much or too little insulin has always been an issue.

Here's why I am so down right now.

I made a nice meal Wednesday night. Ham with a homemade glaze and a seasoned veggie medley. After Googling carb values for carrots, potatoes, horseradish and brown sugar, I gave myself what I thought was the proper amount of insulin. While eating my dinner, I could feel my sugars dropping. I had Jero grab me another piece of bread and butter, to no effect. I ate some peaches, nothing. I remember saying I was scared. I remember telling Jero that something was really wrong. Next thing I knew, I was lying in my bed with my mom hand feeding me some fruit. I had a sandwich in my hand and was refusing to eat it. I do not remember going to the bedroom. I do not remember the massive amount of applesauce I ate. I do not remember being combative about the food they were trying to feed me.

My mom and Jero saved my life that night. I have not had an insulin reaction like that since I was a very young girl. My blood sugars were apparently in the thirties for quite some time. I ended up going into work late the next day because I felt like I had been hit by a bus full of pixie sticks. My sugars were sky high and my eyes hurt along with just about everything else in my body. My stomach was rolling because I simply do not eat that way.

I still don't know where I went wrong. I still don't know how I bottomed out so fast. All I know is that I AM PISSED.

There is just no way to keep things like that from happening. It's going to happen. I'm trying to keep my sugars at a rate I would have difficulty keeping them even if I was on an insulin pump. I am so damn stressed out. I am quitting smoking, trying to lower my cholesterol, and living in a house where I have had no personal space for over two years. Supporting my mom has become so financially burdening that I never know how we are going to pay our bills let alone support my disease. The lack of privacy is hard on Jero and I. And I am angry.

I am at war with myself all day long. I am angry that nobody gets it. Angry that after the last time I mentioned my eye surgery I got responses about "asking for help" and "doing this to myself". Angry that my diabetes takes over six thousand dollars a year just to maintain WITH INSURANCE. Angry that I can't find support out there because I have a job. Angry that my home isn't my home and nobody seems to understand that I just want some time to myself. Angry that I have to postpone our wedding for an unknown amount of time. Angry that I have to apply for service after service with the goal of being denied so that I can qualify to have my next eye surgery paid for. All of that anger? Well, it leads to guilt. The guilt? It goes straight to depression.

The depression makes me angry. It's a vicious cycle and I am just so overwhelmed.

I think some of that anger has come from fear. When I was young, those lows never really worried me, they were just part of being diabetic. Just the normal response of my body to swimming, P.E., riding my bike, my dad's death, my SATs. My body has never responded well to stress. It's just...normal. But that night scared the shit out of me. I find myself so insulin shy that the easiest response is to just not eat. But I have to eat, and I am, but I'm all jumpy, which leads to the anger, guilt and depression.

I love my mom, I don't want to feel so resentful.

There is another side to that though. It's the side that wonders how a woman can see what this disease has done to me since I was a baby and still eat her way into it herself. People make jokes all the time, or lightly say, "I'm sure I'm pre-diabetic", and it infuriates me. It feels like a personal bitch slap. Like, oh, this disease is no big deal, I'll just eat another cookie, la di da. So, the resentment isn't just about my lack of personal space, or the fact that I can't just be by myself for a little while, it is also about her and TOO MANY OTHERS choosing to have a disease I have been waiting 30 years for a cure for.

Okay, I have vented and wasted your time for too long and I don't really feel any better. I know the comment I made about type 2 diabetics is going to get some nasty feedback. I do know that not all type 2 diabetics choose this or have done this to themselves, BUT many of them do and have. That is just the plain truth, and if I have offended you, well, I'm not sorry one bit. If you have the rare type of Type 2 Diabetes that was not caused by poor diet and exercise, I was not talking about you so get your panties of that wad and relax. Stress isn't good for us remember?

If you ARE one of those diabetics who continues to do this to yourself, do me a favor and hand over your health insurance to someone with cancer, Parkinson's, MS or one of the million real chronic illnesses that are causing people to go bankrupt all over the country. Because I honestly feel that the studies into your type of Diabetes are just as silly as the ones focusing on male pattern baldness.

I am now stepping off my soap box to go prepare my bucket for cleaning the eggs off my car that are bound to be there tomorrow.

Hug those babies, eat a pickle (they are a diabetic free food) and don't hate me forever.

*Come on fellow nerds, that was one SWEET** Star Trek reference.

**Pardon my pun.

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