Friday, November 18, 2016

What Being A Diabetic Is Really Like

November is national Diabetes Awareness Month, and as many of you may not know, I have been diabetic since I was nine years old. While I have made a post before about it and have briefly referred to my diabetes, it's not something I bring up often. But I thought since this month seems to be a special month for all of us insulin addicts out there, I thought what the heck!? (Here is the link to my previous post on diabetes if you would like to read it: Hashtag Live With A Diabetic.)

As so many of us know, we are often stereotyped beyond no return, and that's what I wanted to touch on today... All in good humor of course.

The reality of being a diabetic isn't all that bad, said no diabetic ever. There are days when our blood sugars rollercoaster around, meaning they bounce between high and low. This in turn always causes nasty side effects. Me personally, with a blood sugar over 230 I feel like I have the worst hangover of my life and quite frankly I'd rather feel bad from alcohol than a high blood sugar. 

Being a diabetic really means being a vigilante. Watch out Arrow, you have some nifty competition on your hands.... No seriously though, besides being crazed, mad scientists, we can calculate carb and correction boluses before you can even finish reciting your one by multiplication table. 

Often times too being a diabetic means the people at work throwing a birthday party and walking past your desk with a big piece of cake saying," Oh I guess you can't have any because you're diabetic." Of course this makes you furious because diabetics can indeed have sweets, we just have to take the insulin to cover it. Even though your original reason for avoiding the cake was because you're blood sugar was already high, you set out to prove them wrong and eat a piece anyways and take a dose of insulin. While you shock the panties off the person who thought they knew what they were talking about, you're steadily feeling nauseous and thirsty as your insulin fails to catch up and as a polite thank you hands you a low blood sugar later that night after you've gone to sleep.

Sometimes though the reality of being a diabetic is scary... Like the times you've lived on your own and cursed yourself for not putting candy or juice by the bed, as you death crawl to the kitchen. Or maybe even the times you took a shower hotter than hellfire just after a big bolus and you hope and pray your mom heard your feeble cry for juice. Sometimes too it's sitting helplessly on the floor with a sent text message asking your significant other to come to your rescue, while you can only hope he doesn't have the football game up too loud. 

The latter I can relate to all too well. I believe to this day, my mate saved my life. We were out hiking one day last winter after lunch, I had taken insulin, in fact less than I needed for the carbs I ate because I knew we were going hiking. I also took about 6 starbursts with me in case, God forbid, I got a low. After we hiked about a mile and a half through the woods, in the hills and through a creek bed, I felt it.... A big low coming on... Immediately I said we needed to head back and I started eating my candy quickly. Ten minutes later I wa buckling at the knees and couldn't carry myself. I tried convincing my boyfriend to go on and run ahead and get my emergency glucagon shot in the truck, I knew I'd probably be unconscious by time he made it back but I did know it would be in time to save me. He refused to leave me. He piggybacked me over a mile through the woods, up and out of a creek and down and over steep grades. I thought he was going to collapse of a heart attack, he was breathing so hard, I thought I was going to be the reason for his own death. But I've never seen one man fight so hard for my own life. We did make it back to the truck and I was consciousnes. Thirty minutes later after five glucose tabs, and two Capri sun juices my sugar was only 88.... So you can imagine.

And while we are on the subject of lows, you know all too well as a diabetic that grocery shopping while you're hungry has no comparison to the red eyed monster that bears it's teeth with a low blood sugar.... At one point your fridge is fully stocked, the next thing you know it's empty and their are food wrappers everywhere. Only your glucose meter's log history would tell the story of that 46 blood sugar you had.

In relation to the birthday cake revenge for being stereotyped, being a diabetic means being responsible. And frankly being responsible isn't always fun. Sometimes it's watching people stuff their faces with delicious goodies and other times it's saying no to that extra shot of tequila. And in some cases refusing to get a boob job even though you look like a boy when you have short hair and wear a heavy coat.... I mean one slip.... That could be disastrous... We diabetics don't do well around easily popped objects, carrying around our needles and all...

The reality of being a diabetic means we've heard it all... "You don't look fat enough to be diabetic", or "you can cure your diabetes if you stop eating candy", "I bet you are use to needles by now", and my favorite "well aren't you just sweet." *cue sarcastic eye roll*

Of course being a diabetic, all in all, reality isn't bad, we do have our good days, even if they are far and few in between. And I have to say, it's nice to have our own month. There are so many people that are undereducated about diabetes, even healthcare personnel. Cancer gets a month, we sure as heck deserve our month! To all of my fellow diabetics out there I want you all to know you are not alone, we will all keep fighting together until we find a cure!

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