Never a day off
It’s been three years since I got my type 1 diabetes diagnosis. While it’s not the worst thing that can happen to you, there are days when it’s overwhelming. Diabetes never goes on holiday. There’s not a single morning when you wake up without thinking “What’s my blood sugar?” and pick up the testing equipment on the bedside table. It’s the last thing on your mind before you drift off to sleep. The constant grind wears you down at times. It would be nice on a day of a hangover to eat a bag of crisps and a tub of chocolate ice cream without thinking about insulin doses. It’s been three years since I had ice cream. I miss Reese’s peanut butter cups.
When these depressive spells hit me, I try to think positively. I’m not in an open war zone. I have plenty of diabetic supplies, which makes it possible to manage my condition well. Above anything else, I’m in control and can live a normal life. Most diseases have debilitating consequences, whereas diabetes simply means that you have to constantly monitor and inject. And if you want to avoid roller coaster blood sugars, trim down the carbs to a minimum.
I remember my first weeks with diabetes. It seemed so complicated. I had to weigh everything I ate to count out the carbs and inject insulin. I was scared of needles, so the food often went cold as I hesitated to stab my abdomen. I had some epic hypos where I almost passed out on the kitchen floor. What I couldn’t imagine was how life would ever be normal again.
Then a few weeks passed. I started to pre-bolus insulin, which really helped with post-mealtime spikes. I discovered Bernstein’s method for normalizing blood sugar through a low-carb diet. While I could no longer eat anything I wanted, life went back to being pretty much the same as before. Always testing and injecting insulin became second nature. When I get tired of diabetes, I think of how much easier things got because, at first, there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel.
Still, there are times when I’d like a day off. I’d have toast with orange marmalade for breakfast, spaghetti carbonara for lunch, and pizza for dinner without a thought of what it did to my blood sugar. I’d snack on peanut butter cups and have a tub of Ben & Jerry’s phish food for dessert. I guess everyone fantasizes about something. Three years into diabetes, an insane carb feast of a day is mine.