Acceptance

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.

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About Shannon

I am a wife, a mommy, and a Type 1 diabetic (since '92.) I have had two successful pregnancies - one of which was with twins. I wear an insulin pump- - off and on for 17 years; currently on the Medtronic pump and CGM. I am not a medical professional, nor am I giving medical advice. I am just sharing my day to day stories of someone who lives with this disease every day. My ultimate goal is to raise awareness.
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5 Responses to Acceptance

  1. Scott E says:

    This is a very nice post. Like you, I’ve never felt like diabetes was my fault. But when back at myself in high-school and in college, I scratch my head and wonder how I ever made it through those times alive. In high school, I’d get the pudding, fruit punch, and maybe a cookie or ice-cream with lunch from the cafeteria — in addition to the high-carb entree — because I could. When I got home, I’d sleep for hours with a BG in the 300s til dinnertime. In college, my eating habits were marginally better, but my drinking habits were less than admirable. Somehow, without my parents to guide me or rescue me (if I needed it), I made it through that one too.

    But we can’t change the past, we can only control the future. I’m lucky to be in pretty good health (outside of D) right now, and since I’m now armed with better knowledge, better insulin, and better motivation, I hope to sustain what I’ve got for a long time.

    • Shannon says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I wonder sometimes, “How in the world did I make it this long??” I have always just slid by under the radar. But like you said, I am armed with better motivation, better equipment, and much higher motivation. 🙂

  2. Karen says:

    Oh yes, you hit the nail right on the head with this post!!!! The biggest trouble I have with diabetes is the GUILT. I have such a hard time accepting that every high or low isn’t my fault, that it’s not because I didn’t try hard enough or that I didn’t do good enough. I’ll be the first one to tell someone else that it isn’t their fault, that we can do everything right and diabetes might not play fair. But when it’s me, I have a hard time accepting that.

  3. Cherise says:

    Shannon-

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I know I have a problem with blaming myself for things I could not control. Diabetes is a crazy condition-every day isn’t the same. I’m getting better at not placing the blame on myself-I have a lot less days of “why is my bg high?”

  4. Alana says:

    This is such a great & honest post. Thank you for writing it & sharing it with the rest of us! Like you, and Karen the other commenter, I find that I experience a disconnect between *knowing* diabetes is not my fault, and that our bodies are unpredictable & sometimes uncompliant with what we try to do about control and *feeling* guilt & shame when I have a hard day. I realized the other day that when I was diagnosed (23 yrs ago), the reasons drs gave for managing diabetes were all about preventing complications. Of course, those are good reasons, but they set up a powerful equation for complications = bad patient/bad diabetic. In recent months, I’ve been trying to come up with other ways of understanding why management matters to me that aren’t so tightly linked to that equation.

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