Friday, November 18, 2016

My Life with Type 2 Diabetes: It’s getting better

I haven’t felt compelled to write much lately. Sometimes I feel as if I’ve said it all, numerous times. Other times I feel as if I don’t have anything of value to say. Sometimes I’m just tired, you know? Another reason that I haven’t written too much lately is that there doesn’t seem to be anything new to add. My life with diabetes isn’t dramatic these days or noteworthy at all. I could tell you about what I ate for lunch or I could talk about how I feel about my latest A1c or fasting blood sugars but… meh. It occurred to me recently that my life with type 2 diabetes is pretty boring lately and then I realized that that in itself is newsworthy! (And two consecutive “thats” in a sentence is weird.)

It’s getting better.

I remember back when I was first diagnosed and how freaked out I was every time my blood sugar was “out of range”. I recall when I realized that potatoes and my blood sugar could no longer be roommates, or even friends and how that reality was devastating to me. I remember all the holidays when all I wanted to do was sit down and eat like everyone else instead of using a smaller plate and only having a bite of the foods I adored. Those things rarely happen these days. How strange is that?

I decided that someone out there might benefit from hearing that eventually it gets better. Eventually you can live your life with finger sticks, medications and carb awareness and not even bat an eye. Do you know that I had a fasting reading of 160 this morning and all I thought was “Huh. Well that’s dumb.” Early in my diagnosis I would have been in tears wondering what I did wrong. I didn’t do anything wrong, my body doesn't always work correctly. That's all. I was just living my life and watching my blood glucose so I could make adjustments and move on.

I’m extremely proud of the lifestyle changes that I’ve made over the 11+ years I’ve been at this circus. It’s been a lot of hard work with a lot of research, experimentation, tears and soul searching. Decisions are constantly made about what is most important to me: mashed potatoes or better health? Lounging in the recliner with a book or going for a walk? Guess what? Sometimes it’s mashed potatoes while reading a book in the recliner, but that’s extremely rare. Most times it’s real food that I know is better for my blood sugar and a walk.

I don’t want to give you the false impression that I’m somehow ok with my diabetes now; that I don’t care that I have a chronic illness (two, maybe three actually). HA! Of course I care! Of course I wish it could be otherwise! I also don’t want you to think that I have it all figured out and that I never stray from the better path. Double HA! If only. I still binge on occasion (just this afternoon, in fact). I still sometimes long for foods I no longer eat. I still feel sorry for myself now and then. But the reality is that my new lifestyle is satisfying. I LIKE going for walks and look forward to getting back to the gym once Ray’s recuperation allows him to go too. I LIKE eating healthier foods. I don’t even care for horribly sweet foods any longer, now that I make my own less-sweet treats.

It’s getting better.

Better doesn’t mean perfect or always right. Better doesn’t mean that my emotions don’t sometimes rear their ugly head and cause me to be depressed. Better means that my diabetes isn’t front and center most of the time. Better means that I’ve figured out the best way for me to eat and exercise and I do those things now, most of the time, without much thought. It’s my new normal. (Let me insert here that I’m rarely normal and if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ve probably figured that out for yourself.)

Someday my blood sugars could go south (north?) and my current plan may not work as well. Maybe. If that happens I feel like I’m prepared to deal with it. I feel like I can make adjustments because I already have. I’ve already proven to myself that I can do this.

So can you.

If you’re newly diagnosed, I want this post to be a beacon of hope that you can get here too.

If you’ve been at this awhile and are currently having a difficult time, I want this post to show you that that is normal and you can get through it. (More double that’s!)

Don’t give up. Don’t despair. Life is good, despite diabetes. I’ve said it before, don’t let diabetes rule your life or steer your ship. You are the one who can make a difference. Educate yourself, adjust when necessary and above all, give yourself a break. It gets better.