My Best Sick Self

Everyone knows I have diabetes.
What no one really knows is that after having pretty impressive control over the Beast, I lost it. And no one can say why.

I’ve been reading a lot of Greek mythology so forgive me if some of it seeps into this blog, but I can’t help but think of Icarus on his little man-made wings, who drunk on freedom flew too close to the sun. The sun melted the wax holding the wings together, wings dissolved, little Iccy-boy kicked it big time.

In February, I underwent all manner of tests to see how my body had been holding up. When the results came back, my doctor just about lost his mind. With joy.
He kept giggling as he interpreted the numbers for me.

My A1C, which essentially monitors how your body has been managaing blood sugar levels over the past few months came back in the non-diabetic range. My good cholesterol was strong, my bad cholesterol nice and low, my liver, my kidney all strong and beautiful, my heart strong as an ox.

In short, this little diabetic, mere months after having a baby (a tremendously stressful thing for a diabetic body, FYI) was doing not just ‘well, for a diabetic’, but superbly, for a human being. My doctor was euphoric! I was euphoric! I only had 15 more pounds to go to hit pre-pregnancy weight, well ahead of my self-imposed July 22 deadline (y’know, that ‘whole one year on, one year off’ thing).

My doctor, still softly giggling to himself, decided that I could manage a few tweaks to my regiment, and off I went with new prescriptions, new dosages, a new confidence in my ability to Do This.

Flashforward with me, if you will. It is now June.
My weight is still climbing up, despite me cutting everything but silverware out of my meal times. My skin and hair are freaking out. And my sugar levels? PLEASE get me started on that: I have been on a diabolical emotional and healthical rollercoaster.
No no, not rollercoaster, because those can be kind of fun.

How shall I put this?
It’s been like jumping off a bridge at night only to find out that your bungee cord is actually a yo-yo string, and who is holding the other end? D-Zilla.

Or y’know. One of these here Buckin’ Broncobetes type things

Ever since the shift in care, my sugar readings have lost their mind.
Some days I struggle to keep it above a 4.

This is no bueno. Generally, waking up you want to see about a 4.5-6, and 2 hrs after eating you want to see maybe up to 7. For me, I can feel when I’ve entered anywhere below 5, because the tremors hit, and I begin to see big, mean, evil stars that sparkle out the message: you’re totes blacking out right now. On the other end, I can take up to an 8 pretty well, then after that come the piercing, blinding headaches and the distinct feeling that I’m swimming through Jello and Must Lie Down And Sleep.

And yet, some days after eating almost nothing but veggies and lean protein I can still clock like 13.

I’m in constant dialogue with my doctor and medical nutritionist and we are trying everything, exploring everything, testing everything, (hello blood test central) and still we can’t figure out what has ticked my body off so much.

I’m constantly exhausted, and in weird, vague pain. My mood is unreliable- and it’s not all immediately related to what my sugar is doing AT THAT INSTANT (although let me tell you, a hungry diabetic is a force of nature. Throw a cookie and run for cover, those are your only options).

Duck and Cover, let the cookie do all the hard work
Duck and Cover, let the cookie do all the hard work

 

I’m frequently overwhelmed and scared.

As a rule, I don’t do scared.
But I am scared.

I’m marking papers and wondering what my blood sugar level is.
I’m starving and wondering what my blood sugar level is.
I’m sleeping and dreaming about what my blood sugar level is.

I could despair. And sometimes I do.
I could throw my hands in the air. And sometimes I do.
I could just eat whatever I want since nothing is helping anyways. And sometimes (but only verrrrry rarely) I do.
I could give up and wait for the myriad morbid side effects to come find me.
That I will never do.

SO I continue to medicate, ‘conversate’, medicate differently, repeat.
I continue to experiment with new recipes to make diabetic-friendly meals fun (my family doesn’t even know how perfectly balanced their plates are and colleagues crowd around my plates daily in awe).
I work out when I can (doing lunges/squats while singing lullabies to my 10 month old and arm curls while watching Food Network).
And I hope.

Hope doesn’t burn calories, and it doesn’t change my readings.
But it keeps me going, it keeps me trying, it keeps me determined to shift my routines and medications until I re-find my balance.

In short: Hope keeps me alive.

It’s hard, knowing that my body is host to a ruptured system, and that my life will revolve around the sharp points of a thousand needles in the days to come. I hate having people make assumptions about me based on my condition. I hate the soft, reassuring pats and the stupid advice ( “Just eat less sugar and lose some weight!” Well somebody GIVE THE DONUT EATER A PRIZE.)

…while brushing powdered sugar from their own chubby cheeks.

I don’t think having a chronic condition means you’re sick. Not all the time.
It just so happens that right now, I am.
And I’m going to be okay again one day.

In the meantime, I just keep going, trying to be my best, sick self
One sugar-free, low-carb day at a time.

Heads up, my fellow chronickers, whatever’s running rampant in your system.
We’ll get through this, I’m told.
Til such time:
Keep calm and have a cookie.
For courage.

 

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