Reminding Myself That My Life Is More Than Diabetes

Meagan Esler

| Sep 21, 2012

Time after time, people without diabetes ask me how my diabetes is going. I always get a little tongue-tied because "Wow, great!" isn't really accurate, and the alternatives are complicated. Usually, something like "Uh, good, fine, hard sometimes, but um, thanks for asking" awkwardly tumbles out of my mouth.

It's hard to explain that although I do well most of the time, things aren't always rosy when it comes to managing a chronic illness like diabetes. Life gets frustrating when you feel like it's all about shots, doctor appointments, and blood sugars. But I don't tell people what really happens on those days when diabetes gets on my last nerve.

Recently, I had one of "those days." Just before a meeting during which I had to give a presentation, I tested my blood sugar. It was a little high, but I knew that it was due to nerves. I figured that my blood sugar would fall throughout the lengthy meeting, so I didn't take a shot to correct the high.

After my presentation, the meeting still had a few hours left to go. I developed a headache and started to feel a bit foggy, which are classic low symptoms for me, so I began sipping periodically from a bottle of apple juice. I tried to drink enough juice to pull up my blood sugar, but not so much as to result in a rebound high.
As the meeting closed, I tested again and found myself dealing with a low blood sugar of 53, even with the juice. I felt so angry at diabetes in that moment. What if I had lost consciousness in the meeting? I had done what I was supposed to do, and I had still ended up in a scary situation.

Normally I bounce back easily by quickly treating the low and moving on with my day. This time, though, I felt utterly overwhelmed and fed up with diabetes. As I treated the low and waited in my car for my blood sugar to come up so that I could safely drive, I cried.

I called my husband and began ranting about diabetes. I rarely allow myself to go to that negative place with diabetes, and I'll spare you the harsh words I used. Suffice it to say that "I hate my life" somehow spilled out.  My husband feels for me, and he knows how hard I work to stay positive after 18 years of diabetes. He was silent for a moment and then quietly said, "It hurts me to hear you say that you hate your life."
When he said that, I instantly realized how much I have to be thankful for. I realized that I don't hate my life at all. In fact, I love it. I may hate diabetes when it misbehaves, but diabetes isn't my life, and I should never, ever confuse the two. Diabetes is relentless and definitely not for sissies, but it's not my life.  My life is so much more than diabetes.  

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Categories: Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Magazine, Diabetic, Low Blood Sugar, Positive Attitude

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Posted by Anonymous on 25 September 2012

I cried when I read your post about diabetes. I have had type 1 for 40 years now and some days I am so frustrated that I know I take it out on others, most of the time without meaning to! Like you said, you try to do everything right and then you test and come up with an outrageous number, whether too high or too low. Your then start berating yourself mentally, even though you have done the right things. You may be able to tell someone you love (which I often do) about the frustrations of the disease, but you rarely get a chance to just cry or to totally vent. That's why I love to read other comments from those who know EXACTLY what I am going through.
I just got through talking to a clinical pharmacist from my insurance company and he was totally awesome. He and I were talking about why they recently changed the formulary for both insulin and for which test strips would be covered. I ranted to him about how patients know better than insurance companies about why they are on the insulin and test strips that they are. I told him that NO insurance company should dictate to us what can and cannot be covered. He then gave me a dose of reality in the nicest way anyone has ever given that to me. He was friendly and he made me feel so much better. He even agreed to email me the clinical documentation as to why they went with the pump they did. Not only that, but he agreed to send me out the most recent meter that has a touch screen. For heaven's sake, we even talked about how great the iPad is!
Moments like the one with the pharmacist this morning make me realize that there are people out there who care and who know what we are going through. This particular pharmacist has a mother with diabetes so he REALLY gets it! Hooray!
I just want you to know that your comments helped me enormously and I really wish we could correspond by email.


Posted by Anonymous on 25 September 2012

I am a mother of a son who was diagnosed with Type 1 when he was 17. That was just a short 5 years ago. Tonight - he had one of those moments. He was utterly frustrated with his numbers and testing, and shots, an no one to talk to that has Type 1. None of his friends understand what he goes thru. Tonight, I am crying quietly away from him. I have to show him I am strong for him, yet I am weak. At times I feel helpless = most times, I am strong for him. I guess tonight I am having my moment with him.

Posted by Anonymous on 26 September 2012

Thank you for sharing this Meagan... as a Type I, I can soooo relate. My 39 y/o son & I are also Alpha I Antitrypsin Deficient besides diabetic. Research is recently discovering the link between the two. Any diabetic that also has breathing issues (ie asthma or bronchitis) should get the blood test for it. I would have lived my life differently if I have know when I was younger.

Posted by Anonymous on 26 September 2012

I always look forward to your articles because they are usually always something I can absolutely relate to. I am a Type 2 diabetic and work very hard to keep my sugar under control but diabetes sometimes has a life of its own no matter what I do but your articles give me hope..Thanks :)

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