Carte blanche.

When I hear folks refer to life as a roller coaster ride, I can’t agree more.

Don’t get me wrong, I love roller coasters. FREAKING LOVE roller coasters. (I actually haven’t been on one in quite a while, but I’m fairly certain that I still like them A LOT.)

The only roller coaster I’m not crazy about lately is the one that my blood sugars sometimes ride. I had one day last week where I would be high, and we’re talking like 250+ high, here, then 2-3 hours later would have a low somewhere between 65-75. This happened no less than three times. Just another reminder that no matter how much I may think I have “control” of this disease and my body, I am clearly not the one making the choices.

On the other side of what “low” means in my life, a dear friend of mine has been going through some really tough times. She’s about my age, and just found out that she has Type 1 diabetes. It’s very surreal to watch this from the other side, because I think this must be how my family felt when I was diagnosed. Helpless. She keeps reaching out to me for support, and I am incredibly happy to give it, but it just feels so strange to be the one doing most of the giving in the support department. A part of me is pretty sure that this may be one of the reasons why my body decided to do whatever it did that caused my diabetes: I’m supposed to help others.

I can’t help, however, feeling a little sad for her sake because I know what’s coming. I know the frustration that goes along with “making it work.” I know what it’s like to have people that you care deeply about walk out of your life because they “can’t date you and the diabetes.” (That one really hurt.) I know what it’s like to have to tell your whole life story to your employer/coworkers because you’re paranoid that no one will know what’s going on if you have an extreme high or low, and I definitely know what it’s like to field ridiculous questions and have others give you tips about how to manage a disease they don’t have themselves.

But I do know something else, as well, and I hope I can impart it in some way: I know the incredible joy that comes with just living. It’s so easy to take everything for granted, and I know I did once upon a time, so much so that you can lose that sense of joy or forget to appreciate the things you have. I have so many “giving up would be so much easier” moments, but I have twice as many “boy, am I glad it’s today” moments as well.

Sometimes, the promise of a new day is just what you need. A new beginning. A chance to make it better. To be a better you.

Carte blanche.

On complications and being cured.

I just rolled in from a really great cast party with my friends from Carmen, the opera I wrapped tonight. (Little known fact about me: I sing opera for fun.) I can’t even tell you how much wine I had, just that it kept flowing as long as we were laughing and telling stories, and that was basically from about 11PM until 4:30AM-ish. I was in a huge rush to get out of the house earlier, having taken a nap and put myself very much behind schedule, and I forgot the little pink bag that holds my D-supplies. Duhhh, stupid. I was slightly on edge all night wondering what my sugar could be, as I should have been. Thank goodness I wear a pump, otherwise I don’t know what I would do. That little thing keeps me so consistent; I love it so so very much.

Long story short, I just tested my BG a few moments ago, and it was 135. Wow, I thought. That’s not bad at all. I didn’t feel the need to bolus all night. Am I cured? I had a relatively good endo visit the other day; found out my A1c is 6.3, and my kidneys, liver, and thyroid are all in really good shape. Dr. Z couldn’t stop saying how happy he was with my progress, and it made me feel good as well. I mean, we try so hard to live normal lives and, yeah, your A1c/BG readings are just numbers, but just hearing that everything else is working fine made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside. I know I’m doing a good job (although, granted, some days are better than others), but it sure is nice to hear someone else say it as well. I may have a bum pancreas, but it seems like everything else is in good working order, and hearing that is music to my ears.

I don’t look forward to having complications in the future, but I embrace the fact that they may become an eventuality. I’ve already had one scare this year with a spot on my retina, which turned out to be nothing anyhow (whew), and that was enough for me. But I see the issues that my mother is having, and I see the issues that her cousin is having, and I wonder, what will be my experience? Dr. Z has assured me that if I keep managing myself as well as I am right now, I will have few, if any, complications. But there is always that what if — what if something does go wrong? What if I develop thyroid disease? What if my kidneys fail? What if, what if, what if.

This brings to mind another possibility — what if a cure becomes available in the near future? Will that be something that I will be interested in? Will I be so used to this lifestyle that I won’t want to go back to “the way things were?” Will I even remember what that was like?

I don’t like to think of my life before D because it was a really difficult/challenging time for me. I was kind of lost, in every sense of the word. I didn’t know what the heck I wanted to do with my life. At all. D came at just the right time, a time when I needed something to really live for. In a way, D saved me. It showed me how fragile life is, how easy it is to lose the things that you take for granted. But it also has taught me many things — how to be flexible, how to be understanding and, most of all, how to take care of myself. Because, let’s be honest, I’m the only “me” that I have. But the most important thing was that it showed me that the budding passion I had for nursing care wasn’t just a passing fancy. I finally understood that being a nurse what was what I was destined to do — because I needed to share my experience with others. My diagnosis was the push I needed to lead me down the road to my life’s work, and I honestly don’t know where I would be without D.

It’s so easy to think of a diabetes diagnosis as the end of the world — it certainly feels that way when you’re sitting in the ER and the nurse looks at you with sad eyes and you just know. I was the third one in my immediate family to go through that experience, and I never thought it could happen to me. But it did, and I’m grateful. So grateful. I do have days where I’d like to return to sender but, on the other hand, I also have days when I feel like Superwoman because I know that I’m strong, and that I can do this and, most importantly, that I am certainly not alone. I would be loathe to be cured of the one thing that has truly helped me find myself.

As I celebrate my 25th birthday and soon my 2nd diaversary, I find that I don’t really want to think about who I would be had things turned out differently. I just don’t. Maybe I’m in the minority when I say that I like my D life, but I don’t care. I wouldn’t have wanted things to turn out any other way. 🙂