Changes

 While I don’t hold my breath for a cure, that is the number one change I’d love to see. That is obvious of course, and a sentiment that is probably shared by all kinds of diabetics. On a slightly more practical level, I would love to see the management of this disease change. I am so excited by the prospects of an “artificial pancreas” and what that would mean for our daily lives. As my boyfriend often asks me, “Why can’t they just make a pancreas? I don’t understand.” Of course, he says this jokingly but I do believe it’s also said in earnest. We have technology that can fly us to the moon for goodness sake. You’d think there’d be some way we could make an organ that each and every one of us has. Although, it doesn’t seem like it has much of a point in mine anymore. This speaks to the complexity of the human body and how there is so much we still don’t understand.
My doctor likes to joke that all diabetics are “non-compliant” because while we may monitor our blood sugar, we can’t possibly monitor every hormone in our body that a working pancreas does every second. Wouldn’t that be nice though? To my knowledge, the artificial pancreas (AP) doesn’t do that but if it does, let me know. If they cannot find a cure, it would be so wonderful to at least have treatments that legitimately made our lives like those of non-diabetics. It is so much work watching over everything. I still have not figured out my diabetes, and why my blood sugars can almost never just remain stable. I know they are making huge strides in diabetes technology all of the time. I’m hoping that what I’ve just described will be accessible to me (and everyone!) in the near future. For now, it just feels like a dream.
-Sarah

Clean It Out

Well, this is going well isn’t it? I’ve already missed a day…the SECOND day. I’m not going to beat myself up on that.

Luckily, my literal diabetes “closet” – a bag in this case – got cleaned not that long ago. I spent one glorious day doing all this during my Spring Break because I am that weird person that looks forward to cleaning on a day off. Before that, well… it had been awhile. I had glucose meters I didn’t know I had, 5 year old lancet boxes, old protein bars, chalk-like smarties – it was a mess. On top of that, I had extra supplies in an “earthquake bag” near my door since I live in California and you never know. That needed to be cleaned out as well, still working on replenishing it all.

Mentally, there’s still a ways to go. This will be elaborated on in a future post but I’ve certainly had some mental blocks in dealing with diabetes. I was diagnosed ten years ago but I’ve only recently started really taking care of myself. In that way, I have already cleared up some fears. I no longer feel like I will be “fat” if I keep my blood sugars in range. I’m no longer embarrassed by my diabetes and all of my supplies; I wear my insulin pump proudly.

And yet, I am holding onto the fear that all of those years that I didn’t take care of myself will catch up to me and that I will go blind, have kidney failure, etc. The complications we all know are possible for our future. However, I need to clear up the thinking that these are certainties. They are possibilities. Every year they create better tools for us the manage our illness. I recently spoke to my doctor about this who assured me that it is no longer true that a diabetic’s life expectancy is 10 years shorter than the average. We have a Supreme Court Judge, Sonia Sotomayor who has had type 1 diabetes since she was 8, diagnosed at a time when you still had to boil a syringe on the stove before using it. We have so many examples of people living healthily, joyfully, and powerfully with diabetes.

I am so incredibly lucky to have an insulin pump and CGM; these two tools have already helped my blood sugars tremendously. I can’t change my past, and I can’t predict my future; however, I can certainly change my outlook on the present. For now, I will take deep breaths and not worry. We all know what stress does to blood sugars. I choose to take my diabetes day by day. After all, isn’t that how a future is built?

-Sarah

“I can…”

Sometimes it’s hard to be positive about diabetes; especially on the tough, roller coaster days where it doesn’t let up. However, even those days are “I can…” days because I survive them. Even small accomplishments like not going completely nuts at the end of the day are worthy of praise because dagnabit, diabetes is tough.

I’ve accomplished ten years of having Type 1 diabetes. I’ve moved (many) times, worked full-time, supported myself, and I got myself into my dream school. I’ve traveled the country, and soon – Europe. I’ve volunteered at local organizations. I’ve rock climbed. I’ve done so much but I still have so much more to knock off my bucket list.

Most days, I’d still give T1D back to whatever diabetes fairy goes around bopping us on the head with it. Even so, there are positives. I’ve connected with so many incredible people who are part of the diabetes community. I am a more kind, compassionate person for having it. Having a chronic illness has given me empathy for others with chronic illness. It’s given me more sympathy for myself. I have a deeper understanding of what it means to truly be healthy, and what my body needs to remain healthy. I rest when I need it. I eat sugar when I need it… and sometimes when I don’t. I listen to my inner voice.

I can do anything with diabetes. It hasn’t stopped me yet.

Sarah

6th Annual Diabetes Blog Week

DiabetesBlogWeek

We, Alexi and Sarah, are so happy to be participating in Diabetes Blog Week. If you don’t know what that is, it is an annual event where diabetes blogs sign up and post every day for a week. This is actually the 6th year they’ve done it. Personally, I am happy that it’ll force us to blog more consistently.

To find more info on Diabetes Blog Week or to check out the other bloggers:
BitterSweetDiabetes