Friday, May 18, 2012

D-Blog Week: What They Should Know

If there was one thing I would want people who don't have diabetes to know about diabetes, it would be this:

Living with diabetes is like having a full time job.

Diabetes is a relatively "invisible" illness (other than the insulin pumps, and CGMs, I guess).  There are so many things happening "behind the scenes" that people just don't know about.  If you're doing it "right" or even semi-"right," it is way more time consuming than just taking a shot before a meal. And, when you are doing things like adjusting your basal rates/carb ratios/correction factors, or preparing to have a baby, or being pregnant, or dealing with a cold, or being stressed out from work, or on your period, it becomes an even bigger time consumer.  Heck, even small things like deciding to go for an impromptu walk take so much more preparation than a non-D would probably have to do.  

Let's take going on an impromptu walk as a good example:  If it was a particularly nice Sunday afternoon, and my husband said "Hey, let's go for a walk,"  I'd say "Sure." And then I'd have to do the following D-related things, in addition to all the non-D things you do before going for a walk. First, I'd take a few seconds to think about how I was feeling. Do I feel low? High? Normal? Then I'd think about when the last time I ate was, when the last time I tested was, and when the last time I took insulin was. Then I'd probably test my blood sugar, check my CGM and check how much insulin was on board my pump.  And if everything was in a good range we'd get ready to go out the door. But not before I grabbed some glucose, just in case I went low.  And if I was a really really REALLY good diabetic, I'd also make sure I was wearing the proper foot attire, like socks and sneakers instead of flip-flops, to help prevent sores on my feet (I'm good, but not always that good). 

I had someone ask me once to write a blog post about all the ways diabetes doesn't affect my life. I think I know what they were getting at, or what they were wanting to know. I think they were wanting to know how diabetes doesn't define me, or what I do that is just like everybody else, or worried that so much of my identity is wrapped up in diabetes or something along those lines. I totally get that.  But, I've hesitated to write that post, because diabetes really, truly does affect every part of my life. While it may not define who I am as a person, it has definitely contributed to my character and my personality, my choice of study in college, my financial situation, where I choose to live, who I chose to marry, if I decide to have children, my career path, my passions and interests. So, I feel like I could write a post like that, but it would be disingenuous.  

So, hear ye, hear ye! All you non-D's out there! Diabetes takes time and effort that you don't always see! We work hard to eke out our "normal" lives.   

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