Reminding Myself That My Life Is More Than Diabetes

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By: Meagan Esler

Time after time, people without diabetes ask me how my diabetes is going. I always get a little tongue-tied because “Wow, great!” isn’t really accurate, and the alternatives are complicated. Usually, something like “Uh, good, fine, hard sometimes, but um, thanks for asking” awkwardly tumbles out of my mouth.

It’s hard to explain that although I do well most of the time, things aren’t always rosy when it comes to managing a chronic illness like diabetes. Life gets frustrating when you feel like it’s all about shots, doctor appointments, and blood sugars. But I don’t tell people what really happens on those days when diabetes gets on my last nerve.

Recently, I had one of “those days.” Just before a meeting during which I had to give a presentation, I tested my blood sugar. It was a little high, but I knew that it was due to nerves. I figured that my blood sugar would fall throughout the lengthy meeting, so I didn’t take a shot to correct the high.

After my presentation, the meeting still had a few hours left to go. I developed a headache and started to feel a bit foggy, which are classic low symptoms for me, so I began sipping periodically from a bottle of apple juice. I tried to drink enough juice to pull up my blood sugar, but not so much as to result in a rebound high.
 
As the meeting closed, I tested again and found myself dealing with a low blood sugar of 53, even with the juice. I felt so angry at diabetes in that moment. What if I had lost consciousness in the meeting? I had done what I was supposed to do, and I had still ended up in a scary situation.

Normally I bounce back easily by quickly treating the low and moving on with my day. This time, though, I felt utterly overwhelmed and fed up with diabetes. As I treated the low and waited in my car for my blood sugar to come up so that I could safely drive, I cried.

I called my husband and began ranting about diabetes. I rarely allow myself to go to that negative place with diabetes, and I’ll spare you the harsh words I used. Suffice it to say that “I hate my life” somehow spilled out.  My husband feels for me, and he knows how hard I work to stay positive after 18 years of diabetes. He was silent for a moment and then quietly said, “It hurts me to hear you say that you hate your life.”
 
When he said that, I instantly realized how much I have to be thankful for. I realized that I don’t hate my life at all. In fact, I love it. I may hate diabetes when it misbehaves, but diabetes isn’t my life, and I should never, ever confuse the two. Diabetes is relentless and definitely not for sissies, but it’s not my life.  My life is so much more than diabetes.  

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