Diabetes Blog Week: In the Driving Seat

"Living with diabetes (or caring for someone who lives with it) sure does take a lot of work, and it’s easy to be hard on ourselves if we aren’t “perfect”.  But today it’s time to give ourselves some much deserved credit.  Tell us about just one diabetes thing you (or your loved one) does spectacularly!  Fasting blood sugar checks, oral meds sorted and ready, something always on hand to treat a low, or anything that you do for diabetes.  Nothing is too big or too small to celebrate doing well!"



So today's topic also poses a challenge for me in that, being such a perfectionist, I seem to dwell on how everything could be 'better', and never really give myself any credit. However, after much contemplation, I did come up with one thing I am proud of myself for: not letting diabetes go in the driving seat.

I know I did a post a couple of weeks ago about how I don't have any shame about being a diabetic, and I completely stand by that. I have (to some extent) 'embraced' by diabetes, if you can call it that! Especially in the last month since I joined the dblog community, I have discovered this whole new world where my diabetes experiences aren't just ones which I have. I remember reading the diabetes comebacks on Kelly's Blog  and having the biggest smile on my face from beginning to end - personal favourites have to be:

Comment: Man, I could never be forced to watch what I eat!
Response: Yes, from the looks of things, that's quite obvious.

Question: You have diabetes?? COOL - Do you know Nick Jonas?
Response: Yes, and we're very good friends - we're actually meeting at Starbucks in 10 minutes. Want to come with?

So yes thank-you for Kelly as that did just make my day when reading, and I have the page bookmarked for a rainy d-day :)

However back to my 'proud' diabetes thing. I think for me it is mainly that, as much as diabetes may knock me down and often makes me feel like I am just not good enough, I'm still here and smiling. That for me is my way of saying You will not beat me. There are times when I do just think: okay, you've won - made your point! As it does seem, whenever I'm trying really hard to get control, that diabetes has its little rebellion.

Yesterday for example I had my first AS level exam (Spanish) and woke up with my Blood Sugar at 13.4 (241). For the past several months I've probably had my BG at a low reading 50% of the time, yet yesterday I hadn't had a reading below 10 (180) until an hour before my exam. And then of course, because I'd been pumping insulin through all morning, it  dropped from 10 to 4.8 (86) in the space of an hour, during the exam. I'd said to myself that if I had blood sugar issues I would say something and stop the exam (the teachers have said I could go up to the medical centre to lie down, and then finish the paper there) but it wasn't like it was so bad that I needed to do this. It was just frustrating that, when I should have spent the morning staying calm and having a proper breakfast, good old Mr D didn't quite feel like that.

What I'm proud of though, is that I did it. I didn't kick up a fuss, didn't let him control me. And all through my life that is what I've tried to do, especially at school. I'm the girl who laughs off a hypo, can be quite quiet when it's high but is always careful to never let diabetes hormones and mood-swings get too out of control! So my peers and teachers have never really 'noticed' it - and this is not a criticism of them, but how I've chosen to deal with my diabetes.

 I remember it went up to 20 (360) before my GCSE drama performance, but I didn't want to drink too much fluid; would be a bit awkward half way through the performance to have been like "I'm sorry Mrs Examiner, just need to run to the toilet!" So by the end of the 40 minute performance my mouth had gone so dry, and the only thing which got be through was adrenaline, even if I did feel like I was going to throw up towards the end (not sure the rest of my group would have responded to that so well!) And, without sounding like I'm showing off here, but I did get an A* for my drama, which for me was a real 'triumph' against diabetes. Sometimes it can feel like he has a vendetta against me! I just want to say what have I ever done to you?!  I haven't let diabetes stop me in anything. And having had it since I was 7, I think I've been good at not ever 'using' diabetes. Considering everything I have been through, there are times when it has been so tempting to play the sympathy card - I would be lying if I said I had never considered it, when I was feeling really awful. But I never have. And I'm not so sure many people in my position wouldn't have. That's why I get so infuriated with people my age, who make excuses for everything and 'play the victim' - try living my life for a week before you do that! So I am proud of myself for that.

And finally, I guess as I am approaching my 10th 'diaversary', I've been reflecting on everything I have been through. The numerous different injection regimes, getting the pump, the countless highs and lows and times when diabetes has gotten the better of me. But I am proud of myself in how I have dealt with it. Doing my own BG tests from day 1, doing my own injections (which, in a normal and fair world, no 7 year old should have to go through). And it isn't fair, it isn't right. But I've done it. I've done it without any airs and graces, and I don't feel I give myself enough credit for that. Yes, it isn't perfect, but it never will be. And as much as I can feel like a failure at times, everything I do for my diabetes is something extra that I do, that 'normal' people don't have to deal with. It is all an effort and takes a lot out of me. But I'm still here, still dreaming and still smiling, because I will not let this break me. I think this has only made me stronger (ok, now I'm starting to sound like that new Kelly Clarkson song Stronger!) but it has. I have 'achieved' so much with my diabetes, and for anyone with diabetes I really think that this is something which can be forgotten, but that should be acknowledged; not just by other people, but by yourself.

So to everyone type 1 diabetic out there, be proud of yourself! I've really loved today's blog topic, as it is not something I ever stop to think about. So thank-you again Karen :) and see you all tomorrow!

Sophie



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