This is me on my kitchen floor. This is after pulling myself from bed and dragging myself down the stairs. Mo helped to wake me in the middle of a low blood sugar episode beccause of T1D. She stays near because she knows I am sick… and also my go to treatment involves peanut butter, which, in my appreciation of her doing her job, is shared. If she does wander off, it’s not far. She makes sure she can see me. Her worry is even tangible at times. I love her.
Managing a Chronic Illness – Type 1 Diabetes (T1D)
Managing a chronic illness is not an easy task. Some days, weeks, and/or months are harder than others. All you can do is keep moving forward, which has been a motto of mine for years.
Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar leaves me physically , mentally, and emotionally exhausted, my brain foggy, my body weak, breathing labored, the innate urge to save my life pounding behind my eyes, and the realization that if I was to just close my eyes and let the exhaustion take me, it could all be over – I’m less than three feet from that ledge.
It’s calling a support person because I can’t think clearly – I know what I should do, but I can’t make a solid decision and trust myself fully. It’s telling myself to focus, and that I can do it, just put one foot in front of the other and get to a safe space and food (the treatment), ending up on the floor because I physically can’t stand anymore, having used all my energy to get there.
High Blood Sugar
High blood sugar – even over 160 – (Explore Blood Sugar levels here) leaves me grouchy and overly irritable with a head ache and dry mouth. It’s feeling sick, wanting to eat – feeling driven to eat to try to make yourself feel better – but knowing that it won’t do any good without bringing my blood sugar down first. It’s needing to dose more insulin, but also knowing that if I over do it, I’ll be back on the kitchen floor… or worse.
A Balancing Act
T1D is an insane balancing act. It is the balancing out of eating, stressors, activities, insulin, hormones, routines and breaking your routine. It’s foods affecting you one way one day and the next differently. It’s knowing if the hot water of a shower will send your sugars plummeting or skyrocketing. It’s knowing how caffeine affects blood sugars, and how any and all drinks are made/mixed so you can prepare accurately (whether it’s coffee, energy drinks, alcoholic beverages, smoothies, or juices.)
This doesn’t only go for T1D either. Anyone who struggles with Blood Sugar control knows this battle. Sometimes you can control it and other times it’s out of your control no matter how hard you have been working and how well you have been doing.
It’s having to explain to medical staff how to help you and what will kill you even though they think they understand your illness. It’s having your hand picked advocates with you and prepared to fight for you when you are too sick. It’s standing up for yourself and your health at all times.
My Past Week as a T1D
This past week as been hard. I’ve struggled. I’ve been on a the blood sugar roller coaster and unable to get off due to things that were outside of my control. I’m finally starting to even out though and regaining some sort of control and composure.
Because of this, I don’t have a formal post ready for Strive this week… But, I have to be okay with that because this is my life. This is my real. It’s not going to change. I will always have to deal with it, and keep moving forward. Gotta keep moving forward, leaving the previous day in the past to focus on today and now.
The Importance of the Support System
Support those around you who are fighting with any type of this chronic disease every second of their day. Every second counts. Every second they are making calculations, planning for the next second, minute, hour, and day of their life.
Go a step farther and make their problem’s your problems. They forgot their blood sugar monitor at home and they need to know their levels? Go home with them to get it, or even go to a pharmacy and help them get a new one if its urgent. Have 15 carb snacks for them, because they might have eaten the last one they had while on their way to spend time with you.
Make them feel valued. Ask them how they are doing with it all, even when they seem like a normal human being, because I promise you, we are not normal human beings. We are people that deal in life and death every single day. We make 200 – 300 decisions a day just in managing our chronic illness, and that alone is exhausting much less the repercussions of the decision made and the responsibilities of being a normal human.
You can make a difference. Take some of the weight and be there with them. Don’t let them blame themselves for something they strive to control, making the best decisions they can each moment of their lives, from diagnosis on. That’s not fair to them, and it removes the ability for them to be real with you. This is their real and this is their life.
This is my life.
Thank you to all of you who have supported me in the past, present and future. I am strong because of you.