Last night I attended my first #dsma (Diabetes Social Media Advocacy) online chat. This is where a lot of the other T1’s have a virtual “get together” on Twitter and answer a series of pre-determined questions. It was very interesting to read other’s replies. And I was even a little surprised by some of my own answers. The topic of last night’s forum was Acceptance.
For example – one question was “At what point did you accept that your child’s development of diabetes was not YOUR fault, or Adults – when did you accept that diabetes wasn’t your fault?”
This one hit me. I have never felt like it was MY fault (or anyone else’s for that matter) that I have diabetes. It’s just always been what it is. It’s who I am. I’ve never questioned it. And honestly, I don’t recall ever even having a “Why me?” moment. I’m sure that thought must have passed through my brain in the early years … but not enough that I even recall.
What I do feel like is my fault, though, are the complications that I’ve had so far, and ultimately will have in the future. I know, to some extent, that is unreasonable because some of it just comes with the territory. But it’s true. And I am pretty sure I’m not the only T1 that feels that way. There are a lot of “if only’s” in my world. If only I’d recognized the symptoms earlier, then I wouldn’t have shown early signs of kidney failure by the age of 19 (which is better now, as of my last 24 hour test a few years ago.)
If only I’d paid better attention to my pump site/BG’s in college, it may not have kinked and I may not have gone into DKA those three times, which likely did irreperable damage I haven’t even seen yet.
If only I’d been better about taking my blood pressure medicine all those years, then maybe my heart would last longer than the “average” age of a T1.
If only I’d eaten healthier all of these years, then I wouldn’t have such a hard time losing the weight that I never should have gained in the first place.
If only I hadn’t eaten (insert “bad” food item here) then I wouldn’t be so high right now and feel like crap – sluggish, exhausted, thirsty, blurry eyes, running to the bathroom every 5 minutes, grumpy, and the list goes on. All because I didn’t have the willpower to not eat it. Or the sense to take enough insulin to cover it. (Note – not all high’s are avoidable, but we all know there are times that ‘in the moment’ we feel it’s worth it. Until an hour or so later when we quickly realize it wasn’t.)
One of the other questions posed was “What are the things about living with diabetes that you accept? What do you have trouble accepting?”
I think that is the same answer as the one before – I accept the fact that I have diabetes. And I likely always will. What do I have trouble accepting? That I am in control. I will say out loud that I have control. And that diabetes doesn’t control me — but is that really true? I mean, come on – if that were the case, I wouldn’t be awake off and on all night with my CGM alarm telling me I’m either going too high or too low. I wouldn’t be sitting on the couch, with a juice box in hand, telling my 4 yr old, “Hold on, honey. Mommy needs a quick minute and then I can come to your room with you.” Or I wouldn’t be at work, making frequent trips to the bathroom and water cooler, all the while fighting off a horrendous headache, all because of either something I ate, or the amount of insulin I took/didn’t take. None of those things would be happening if I was in full control.
In a perfect world, if I was in full control, I’d tell my pancreas to get back to work and stop being lazy and wasting space inside my body. So, no, I am not in control. But I will continue to be in the best control that I can be, even with the circumstances I’ve been given. What I won’t do is give in and let it win. And in my opinion, that’s probably more important than trying to be in control.