I have been reading other blogs recently.. and sometimes get inspiration to write based on their stories. The one I read most recently that got to me was written by a girl named Leanne and she said that for most of her teen years, she lived as if she didn’t have this disease. For the most part, she ate and did whatever she wanted, and just made sure to take enough insulin to cover it. That statement hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized that’s what I have been doing for almost 20 years. Now, granted, I have probably done that in part because I have always said that I will control this disease, and not the other way around. But in hindsight, has diabetes been at the wheel, with me riding shotgun, this entire time to some extent? Being in the back of my mind. Whispering in my ear “Are you suuuure you want to eat that piece of cake or drink that margarita?” Yes, most T1’s can eat/drink whatever we want, within reason. But that is expected in moderation. For the most part, I have always been that way. Other than not gorging on sweets every day, I do pretty much eat whatever I want – pastas, pizza, sweets, etc. with very little regard to the ramifications, because I’ll just take more insulin. And I have recently realized that not only do I treat myself as if nothing is “wrong” with me, but I have also unknowingly created that fascade for everyone around me. I can honestly say that although obviously my friends/family know I’m diabetic, nobody really knows the ins and outs of it — nobody truly understands how my highs and lows feel. Or how when I’m too low, I get really bad “cotton mouth” and I may need a minute to come back up before I can concentrate and have a conversation. Or when I’m too high, all I want to do is lay down because I can barely keep my eyes open. I am not one to complain. I keep entirely too much to myself by nature. But I realize now that I am probably doing a disservice to not only myself, but also to my close friends/family…? I can see how when I do have an “off ” day … that it could come across like I’m complaining or using my diabetes as a crutch. (Disclaimer: Nobody in my family, or my cirlce of friends, have ever said these things to me … I’m just doing a lot of reflection and seeing as how any one of them could very easily think these things.) Honestly, if you asked most people in my “circle” what they know about my diabetes, they would probably say “She wears an insulin pump, and has to take insulin before she eats.” And that may very well be the extent of what they know
I desperately need some accountability. Reading these other blogs, and talking to other T1’s has been very eye opening for me. I feel like I’m brand new to all of this, all over again. And I’m realizing how much I’ve been deceiving myself all of these years into believing I’ve been in more control than I really am. People tell me all the time how proud of me they are, and how well I manage my diabetes, etc. But they don’t know. They don’t know that I’m taking twice as much as insulin as I should be to cover that carb-filled meal. Or that I’m going to shoot up in the mid 200’s after eating that pizza, or that slice of cake. But they say “Look at her, she must be in great control since she can eat all of that stuff and not get sick afterwards. Diabetes must not be that bad.” (Now I’m not saying I eat like that every day – but more often than I should for sure.) Looks can sometimes be deceiving.