Who Says It's a Disease?

I wrote this post on my blog Collegeveganista and thought I'd share it here too. Please check out the original post for the version with pictures :)

This may sound strange, but sometimes I forget that I have a disease. No, I don’t forget that I’m diabetic, but it’s tough to say the word ‘disease’ aloud, as if uttering the two syllables will cause my body to become riddled with sickness or something. Some people have a problem with the word ‘moist’ and I have a problem with the word ‘disease.’ We all have our irrational linguistic pet peeves.

Today, however, was one of those days that the universe chose to pound the word ‘disease’ into my head, as though a little gnome were sitting on my shoulder with a rock, hitting my temple in 4/4 time. The gnome would whisper in my ear, “hey you, had enough yet?”

My morning started out like any other day. Even though I still don’t have a job, I rolled out of bed around 7:30 a.m, checked my blood sugar (108), and bolused for my yummy vegan breakfast, a banana, mango, spinach smoothie with a coconut/almond milk mixture. I washed down my smoothie with a rice cake and peanut butter and then hunkered down on my task list for the day.

Look for more jobs…um boring

Clean out my car…um double boring

Halfway through vacuuming the seats in the car, I felt that familiar fatigue start to spread into my arms. My head grew fuzzy and I began to sweat. My blood sugar was low. Not a huge deal, but surprising considering I more often than not spike in the morning rather than plummet after breakfast. Oh well. I sipped on some sparkling pomegranate juice (yum!) and grabbed the hose to rinse off my windshield.

Then the ‘disease’ gnome struck again. My pump site came out, which felt exponentially more annoying since I’d just put it in last night. I finished bathing my car and put in a new catheter in my leg.

While I was knee deep in diabetes supplies, I decided to put in a new continuous glucose monitor sensor. I hadn’t worn it in about a week and thought it was about time to be responsible again. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the sensor transmitter anywhere. Crap! I tried to think of the last time I’d had it. I couldn’t remember, which meant I’d most likely thrown it away without realizing it. I looked in my purse, under my bed, in the trash, in my car, and even in my covers, but couldn’t find it anywhere. Admitting defeat, I called the sensor distributors and ordered a new one. Yet another diabetes-related copay to dish out.

After three diabetes mishaps, I assumed I’d been beaten up enough by the ‘disease’ gnome for one day, but the gnome had other plans. Every Friday I play tennis with my sister. I find that exercising on a consistent basis is the way to go for keeping a healthy life. Unfortunately, my sister is out of town and so my dad said he’d play with me.

Years of experience has taught me that I always go low during tennis and so I drank a preemptive juice. With 30 grams of extra carbs running through my blood, we started volleying the ball back and forth. Then the gnome smashed the rock into my skull again. Within 15 minutes, I started to feel dizzy and tired. I couldn’t track the trajectory of the ball right, which of course led to some embarrassing mishaps (like hitting the ball straight into the air and spinning around in circles looking for it). I needed juice, fast.

Sometimes I feel embarrassed to admit that my blood sugar is low, even when I’m with my dad. I don’t know why. I guess I hate to inconvenience anyone or draw attention to my “disease.” But, I felt low enough to warrant a break.

After the tennis incident, I figured I’d been tortured enough by my diabetes for one day. I don’t know why I would think that the rest of the night would be smooth sailing though. Within 20 minutes of returning home from the courts, my pump site somehow managed to get caught in the folds of my shorts and rip out…again.

So what did I do? I put in a new one because type 1 diabetes never stops. That’s how I know it’s a disease. I have good days and bad days, but either way, I’m fighting for my life each time the sun rises, sets, or moves an inch.

Hi Leanne. Try to foil that gnome one little step at a time. For instance, try taping down your infusion with cloth tape. Quick and easy, and it works. When I walk, I'm going to go low; it's a given. So I get one of those little bottles of Dex glucose, take the tape off the top and put it in my pocket. Again, it works. Still got lots of little devils and gnomes around, though!

I sort of think that it's more than a disease. I can't think of another disease whose patients have as much data to keep track of.

I agree with taping the suckers down. I use Opsite FlexFix tape, it's really strong. Last summer, after long runs in heat, I'd take a lancet and pop the bubble to drain the sweat out.

I don't think of it as a disease either I just look at it as something that's now part of my life.

Good idea about the taping down'

i liked reading your post, the mishaps as part of your life dealing with them one at a time without a huge reaction, but maybe that is how i read it, yes you are aware, yes you deal with what ever comes up, and yes you live your life to the fullest! am i taking to much of a positive twist to your post, am i putting my deal with it and move on attitude? of course this is how i like to portray myself but this isnt always the case, my son is now entering the rages of puberty and associated high bs's! we are dealing with it. i think i might need some help from his endo team this week. it gets jacob down a bit but i try to tell him i have his back and will do my best to work with him on this and that this was expected and it means at least he will finally have a growth spurt! best wishes fighting your fight one battle at a time while still seeing goodness within and wihout! amy

Thanks everyone for reading my post!

I don't ordinarily think of it as a disease, either. I sure did at first, but that was a lot of years ago. Though new to this community, I'm certainly not new to D; it's been part of me for close to two decades now. I've been managing it for a long time -- sometimes well and sometimes poorly, but managing. So I mostly relate to it as a management problem and not as a disease.

That is, until I see the look in someone's eyes when they first learn that I have it.

Only someone who lives with this thing 24x7 can truly know what it is to see life through this filter. We here share a mutual bond that can only be experienced, not described in words. Thank heaven for this community.