Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Diabetes, the great motivator
Diabetes has motivated me to do many things: The majority of the time to take very good care of myself, sometimes to stop taking care of myself, to reach out to others, to go back to playing sports or doing martial arts...etc This time, it has motivated me to try blogging.
July 7th will be the 20th anniversary of my diabetes diagnosis and while I have been wearing my 20 years like a badge of honor for the last month or two, a sort of mild mourning has settled in too. It isn't overwhelming, but it's there. I think that acknowledging 20 years of diabetes is noteworthy has made me aware of the fact that had I treated myself differently I could be in an entirely different state both physically and emotionally. For instance, my father was diagnosed with diabetes 48 years ago at the age of 8. Within 14 years, at the age of 22 he was blind, at age 30 he began to have slight kidney problems, at 38 he had his first major heart attack, and at 41 bypass surgery on his legs. There have been 3 other major heart attacks, a cardiac arrest, he just found out he has lost about 75% of his kidney function, and to top it off, he now weighs close to 300lbs. Now, this is an EXTREME situation, I know that, but it does show that if a person with diabetes doesn't care for herself, she may end up with a quality of life that is far from desirable. It has made me feel a sense of mortality that I have denied for a long time. Even though it stares me in the face everytime I see my father, I have choosen not to spend time thinking about the complications that can come from uncontrolled diabetes. But recently, I've realized how much I have had to work to keep myself well. Diabetes is not a death sentence and it no longer means inevitable complications, but it still requires a lot of hard work, and sometimes I don't feel like doing the work. When I say it I feel like a 6 year old who doesn't want to clean up her toys, or take a bath, or go to bed. "I just don't wanna. You can't make me!!" The wonderful and yet sometimes scary part of being an adult is that no one can make me! I am in control. The point at which this moves from great to scary is when I don't feel like doing it and there is no one there to make sure that I do it anyways. There are days when I look at my meter and realize that I have tested 5 times in the last 8 days, and when that happens, I give myself a pep talk, and get myself back on track. But there are times when I give myself those pep talks for weeks at a time and it doesn't seem to help, the 6 year old part of me won't let go of her willfullness. She really does not want to have diabetes anymore. What I realized is that it's ok to acknowledge that part of myself, to recognize that there is a part of me that feels this way. It's ok to be tired, and to hate diabetes, and to wish that I didn't have to deal with it, but the important thing, is to not give into those feelings. To notice them and then let them pass, because if I give into the option of not testing, and not taking insulin, and not exercising then then the consequences will result in me focusing even more of my time on diabetes. When my eye sight changes or my kidneys start to suffer, I will have to think even more about diabetes, and it's not worth it.
So what does all of this boil down to? I guess it has left me with the following thoughts:
-It's ok to acknowledge that diabetes bums me out/pisses me off/sucks.
-I should be proud of the work I have done to keep myself healthy.
-In the long run, caring for the everyday parts of diabetes will spare me the pain of dealing with diabetes and complications.