Once Upon a Blood Sugar...

There was a time when keeping on top of my diabetes management was more fairytale than real life.

Checking my blood sugars wasn't a common occurrence. Carb counting wasn't around thanks to my 2 or more shots a day, in the morning and evening, so it came down to a more stringent style of meal planning. And as my docs often said, I wasn't "compliant."

At some point in my 20s, I grew up.

Well, to be accurate: I started growing up. That came in waves. And it's still a work in progress to some degree.

But that's when I started accepting and embracing the fact that my diabetes wasn't going anywhere, that I wasn't destined for doom, and I could do something about it in the here and now. That sense of hopelessness still existed, but it became like a toy that I could put into a box and pack away in the closet. Every so often that toy would reappear, but not as often as it once did.

What changed?

For the most part, it was because I found inspiration to look beyond myself and saw there was a need to be hopeful.

But aside from that, diabetes wasn't something I let seep into every aspect of my life the way it seems to these days. Yes, I dealt with low blood sugars. And high blood sugars. And fears of complications and actual symptoms themselves. And all the stresses and issues you might think of. The difference was these weren't talked about in the same way as they are now.

These days, we have an entire community online talking about diabetes all the time. And we can connect to others in an instant, with the click of a keyboard or touchscreen. We have easier access to people we might want to meetup with in real life, to talk diabetes.

Yes, I don't feel so "alone" like I once did. But the flip side is that I always feel diabetes is along for the ride, because it's always on my mind for one reason or another -- even it's just a matter of looking at some blogs, tweets or FB posts mentioning D.

Now that I've taken my career in a direction where I am covering the diabetes world, along with living it and also spending my time advocating, volunteering and connecting with people about diabetes the rest of the time, it's pretty much diabetes 24-7 for me.

And that's very exhausting.

On one hand, we preach "We are more than diabetes." But on the other hand, it's all D all the time. Even when we're not sharing or wearing it on our sleeves for the world to see, we are always thinking about it -- whether it's a Low thanks to Dexcom alerting us, or constant blood sugar checks at all hours of the day and night.

Sometimes, I long for the days when I didn't know where my blood sugars were because I just dealt with it. I felt where I was, took care of it as needed and moved on with it without any need to share or connect or dwell on my diabetes.

I wouldn't sacrifice the Diabetes Online Community or people I've met through it for anything. Yet, sometimes we just need to disconnect and realize our own worlds are where we're needed most. And in those moments, diabetes is just along for the ride and not getting more attention than it deserves.


Laddie said…
I sometimes worry about those of you who have become professionals working with and living with diabetes. I can slack off and go a week or two without writing a blogpost and no one gives a rip. And I still can afford to go to the grocery store. I think people like you are definitely at risk for burnout. At the same time I feel so fortunate to be a beneficiary of everything you write.

Take care, Mike, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. And Abby the Lab sends special hellos to Riley and hopes that he will get more turkey than she does. We always go to my son's house and poor Abby does not get to come:-(
StephenS said…
Mike, I hope the Thanksgiving was great. I really do get what you're saying here, and I identify with things going in waves. I think what you're feeling here may be one of those waves.
Karen said…
Well said, Mike, and definitely what I've been going through lately. So thanks for sharing this!!

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