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Twenty Things I Like About Diabetes

January 30, 2011

Diabetes can be a lonely affair. Sometimes you just need to plain cheer up.

I was walking to choir this morning when I got struck with a rare burst of emotion about my diabetes. Because I was handed this diagnosis so suddenly, along with the immediate responsibility to care for it, I never really “processed” it. I just couldn’t afford to. There was no time to cry about a life-long sentence to insulin injections, public-medicine dependency, and serious threats of complications. I had to get busy learning how to mimic an endocrine system using a whole bunch of machines, numbers, doo-dahs, and calorie charts.

I often liken my diabetes to an arranged marriage with absolutely no engagement period. I never got a chance to prepare myself mentally for the tasks ahead. Diabetes management is a 24-hr-a-day job. There was little time in my days to grieve.

So every now and then, I have to cry about it. A thought befalls me that my life changed so suddenly those eight months ago. Because I live the changes every day, I don’t usually notice it. My priorities zoomed in that day back in May to the immediate task of glucose management, and everything else (and I mean EVERYTHING) was forced to the side.

Things have changed. Everything changes when you have a serious medical condition. I am … same same, but different.

The tears came a’knocking this morning on my walk downtown, and I let them fall. Felt good, as crying usually does. Sure, I’ve taken this whole thing with grace and maturity, and have never failed to see the positive, but I sometimes must remind myself that diabetes is hard. While I’ve been making a whole lot of lemonade with these darned lemons (sugar-free, naturally), I also must accept that diabetes sucks.

Today I need to hang out on the sucks side of the fence. Today is a day when I need to cheer myself up. So I will list the little things I like about diabetes. Because in the end, it’s the little things that are what make my days post-diagnosis so very very different than they were before. These little things are the new characters in my life. The good guys.

Twenty Little Things I Like about Diabetes (a little exercise inspired by my Diabetes-Blog Crush, who I’ve just quoted now two posts in a row. Fan girl much?):

  1. I like the sound my clickstar pen makes when I shoot my 10 units of morning Lantus: “CLLLICK-ick-ick-ick-ick-ick-k-k-k-k-k.
  2. I like when I squeeze my finger after pricking it and little red dots of blood from the past few tests also pop up. It reminds me of a bunch of Cylon vipers appearing suddenly in Battlestar Gallactica’s Dradis radar.

    DRADIS CONTACT!!!!

  3. I like meeting nurses, doctors, and pharmacists at parties, because we always have something to talk about.
  4. I like when I test midway through a spinning class and my glucose is safely at a 10.0, with plenty of wiggle room to get through the second half.
  5. I like reading all the pamphlets and taking all the free samples and coupons at the endocrinology clinic.
  6. I like it when I hear about diabetes in the daily news. It makes me feel famous.
  7. I like it when I’m at 5.1 right before a meal. It’s the number on the box my glucose meter came with, so it feels like I’m doing something right.
  8. I like sweeping my floors to collect all the stray little used test strips that managed to accumulate under furniture and beneath carpets.
  9. I like giving shots into the soft fleshy part of my lower back. It stings less than my tummy but absorbs just as well.
  10. I like going to the pharmacy. I’m friends with them all now.
  11. I like going to the pharmacy to find out I’ve maxed my monthly deductible, so everything I order for the rest of the month is free. I like that a lot.
  12. I like it when my endocrinologist uses words like “outstanding” and “remarkable” to describe my A1C results.
  13. I like ordering whiskey-and-diet-cokes.
  14. I like it when friends have done serious research on type-1 diabetes, and are genuinely curious to know what my glucose level is when I test in front of them. That bit of interest means more than they know.
  15. I like when there are carb-free finger foods like cheese or crudites at a party or reception, when I’m hungry but am riding a bit high and don’t want to fuss with a bolus shot.
  16. I like getting comments on this blog from strangers who also have diabetes. It’s really nice to connect with other people going through the same thing.
  17. I like having an excuse now to say no to dessert, which never really made me feel any good even before I was diabetic.
  18. I like how the light on my glucose meter comes on right over the test strip, and then lights up the screen the second it processes the blood sample.
  19. I like being a little pushy about my rights: “No, I need a lunch break,” or “No, I need this doctor’s appointment,” or “No, I need my driver’s license.”
  20. I like getting a really stubborn air bubble out of my insulin cartridge…tap tap tap – BOOOOOSH!!! That straight-shooting air-shot is the mark of VICTORY.

The “changes” I’ve experienced in the past eight months are equal to the sum of all these little things. These are twenty ways my life has changed. These are twenty things I never even knew I’d like. Like new parents who say, “geez, I never expected to get so excited about healthy poop!”, I never really expected to delight at all these little things. But delight I do, and I welcome them to the landscape of my life.

It helps to be positive. It helps to remember how big of a deal all this is. It helps to remember occasionally to cry. And then to go on about my usual business: testing, shooting, eating/praying/loving – and thanking diabetes for making me appreciate truly this precious gift of life.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Katherine permalink
    February 1, 2011 12:09 am

    Dradis contact, bwahahahah! And I’ve never even seen Battlestar G (although I will some day, due to your rec.) Go Sarah, I really liked this post.

    • February 2, 2011 3:02 pm

      Thanks!! I might add that the only times I’ve actually eaten “dessert” in 2011 has been the few times I’ve gone to bed on the low side, and figure milk-and-a-cookie will tide me over through the night glucose-wise. And by “cookie,” I mean the marvelous gingersnaps you brought me for xmas, which I’ve kept in the freezer since and enjoy every morsel of when I indulge. Thank you!! They are not only delicious, but fighting off hypoglycemic episodes!

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