A few days after my low blood sugar scare I went for a hike with a friend and our dogs (man, I miss the hikes in the beautiful Pacific NW!) armed with my blood glucose meter and a stash of glucose tabs. I was afraid of hiking alone again until I got a bit more confident with my new self, so the company helped. She didn’t know anything about diabetes, but told me to put her number on speed dial and give her a call if something scary ever happened again when I was alone. Luckily I never had to call her, but it was nice to have an emergency plan. In fact, I think I have been extremely lucky that I never ended up in the ER, since from what I hear that’s how most people find out about their condition.
To help me out of my blues my friend invited me to go clubbing with a bunch of friends of hers. That was the first time since my diagnosis so I was a bit nervous. At that point I had cut out all alcohol from my diet because I did not know how it would affect me, in fact I didn’t think I could ever drink again. So I went to order a soda just so I could hold something in my hand and the barman thought I was the designated driver so he gave it to me for free (I didn’t even know they did that!). I drank my boring sugar-free soda (and I don’t even like sodas!) while everyone else was chugging down beers and cocktails. Of course that made me feel even more of an outcast. I never got drunk when I went out but I do admit a couple of drinks definitely helped me take the edge off in social situations. Most of all, people who drink are only funny to other people who drink. The sober eye sees the drinkers (or drunks…) through a whole different lens and, well, sees that in reality they are not funny at all. I painfully made it through that night and decided that I no longer wanted to go out anywhere if that’s how it was supposed to be.
One of the biggest problems I found after my diagnosis was really the lack of education, or the lack of an experienced ear to talk to. It almost felt like I had to live with an imposed death sentence. I know now that I didn’t have to renounce to anything, I just had to learn how to deal with it. I never had met anyone else with Type 1 diabetes, so I didn’t have that kind of support. The dietitian and the educator nurse at the doctor’s office really don’t go through all those details, so at least in my case I was just left there as a deer in the headlights. This was probably the hardest part: I needed to have a good support network because in the beginning it’s too tough to face alone. I did hear that they organized kid’s camps for newly diagnosed children, but there was nothing for adults. Granted, the majority of Type 1s do get it when they are kids or teens, so getting it as an adult is still not as common, but adults are just as lost as kids, if not more!
At first, having to deal with all the diabetes related things seems so overwhelming. I thought it took so much time out of my day and made me nervous thinking about a future with diabetes. How was I going to deal with all this when I got old, and most importantly, how well would I be aging with it? When I was … Continue reading →
My new life had started, one where I would forever (or until a cure is found, if I’m feeling optimistic) have to be injecting insulin in myself.
I had a pen of Levemir and I was supposed to start using it once a day – I started with basal insulin only, baby steps. All day I was nervous because I knew that the time would come when I would have to give myself that shot, I really couldn’t stop thinking about it. I wasn’t feeling well so I went to bed early – the time had come. I laid in bed trying to get some courage – my Dad’s words resonated in my mind: he said it was unfortunate that I had gotten diabetes, but it was great that it was a treatable disease and in the grand scheme of things needles are nothing. True, but still those needles were going to have to go through my own skin. It sure didn’t help that I have a very vivid imagination, so whenever I think of something I actually see the whole film run through my mind. In this case the film had a huge monster size syringe that was going to have to break through all the skin cells, and those cells were struggling to make space for this foreign object trying to cut through them. I felt like a kamikaze on the final mission, there I was piloting my plane ready to crash it down over the enemy, but instead I kept on making circles above because I was too scared to bring myself down with the plane. It was not going to happen…I was probably in bed for a couple of hours holding the insulin, when finally my husband showed up and saved me from my misery by doing it for me. I just wanted to have him do it all the time, but he was right that it was something I needed to learn myself. I knew he was right but I still didn’t want to do it.
The day after the time came again, and I promised myself that no matter what I had to do it, also because my husband had already told me he wasn’t going to do it anymore. So there I was, I went to lay down in bed again – mainly because I was always afraid I would faint and fall – and convinced myself that I was just going to take the plastic protection off the needle and do it . So, once the cap was off, there would have been no turning back…and I kept on looking at the syringe, then at the site that I had prepared on my belly, and I didn’t feel one bit more courageous than the night before. Needle, belly…why on earth would anyone willingly want to stab themselves? I sucked….it felt humiliating not be able to bring myself to do such a simple yet essential act…so I had no choice: I held my breath, uncapped the needle and…bang! There it went, OUCH. It wasn’t the fast and easy stab it was supposed to be, instead it was a slow unsteady one that did indeed hurt….but it worked, I was finally a graduated Kamikaze!
When my DH and I got married, 12 short years ago, I didn’t think I ever wanted to have children. It was not that I didn’t like children, but I cherished my life the way it was and probably deep down I felt like I had all the time in the world to change my mind.
So I went on to enjoy my carefree life, and any motherly instinct I had was satisfied by giving love to my shaggy dog. I had him since I was a teenager, and he actually moved across the globe with me, so he was pretty much my first son.
At the beginning of our married lives, DH and I attended a preconception workshop offered by a local hospital. I wasn’t ready for kids, so maybe I thought that the workshop would help scare the baby thoughts away from my DH’s mind, since he felt ready to take the plunge at that time. The only thing I remember about the workshop was the speaker telling us how important it is to hold our babies, because all of the tools that parents nowadays deem as necessary for babies are simply things created to take “the load” off of them (swings, bouncy chairs, etc.) and that was why many babies had flat heads. Nothing much changed after that workshop, and we continued our journey of 10 more years as a couple.
In hindsight that would have been a perfect time to get pregnant: we were both much younger, but most of all I did not have Type 1 Diabetes yet, so it would have been so much easier to go through pregnancy.