Friday, March 28, 2014

Finding Stability in an Up and Down World

Literally. This is what it is about. Every day, for the rest of my life. As a person with type 1 diabetes I strive for stability and balance in a world of ups and downs. If it were just the numbers on my meter or Dexcom resulting from what I ate and what insulin or exercise I did, I'm beyond confident I would be an expert; well, almost! But it's all the things that feel beyond my control, like timing, stressors, sleep, emotions. Yes, I'm diabetic but I am human first. That's where it gets tricky...

This post could turn into a novel if I were to address all of the above so let's go with emotions. Not the ones that are caused by an argument or some really good news, but the emotions that are tied to those ups and downs on that meter. I've lived with diabetes for 34 years and I can't remember a time that I didn't see a blood sugar above range as "bad" and in range as "good," which automatically triggers the emotion directly correlated with it. I don't even know what label I would put on a low blood sugar but I know too well the rush of fear and frustration that goes with anything below 60 for me personally. Why? Why does a number on a machine stir such strong emotion in me? Guilt, failure, shame, and denial are all tied to anything above my normal range and on the other hand a sense of accomplishment, pride, security, and honest joy is what I feel when I see 89 on my Dexcom when I wake up in the morning (with a quick check on my meter to ensure it is close to 89 or right on, which still amazes and thrills me in itself! :)

I don't know the answer. But I do know these are the emotions that exhaust me, that cause me to be irritable when everything else in my life is pretty damned amazing, that cause me to be short with my daughters or husband when they are nothing but supportive. I consider myself to be a positive person and have an incredible outlook on life and think if you asked anyone who really knows me, they would agree. These same emotions are tied to food for me. I think that goes back to 1979 when anything with sugar simply wasn't permitted. I still remember the thrill of having swimming lessons for two hours when I was 7 and knowing my mom packed a Snickers bar cut into several pieces as a treat for running low. Of course, now with all our knowledge about fat and the absorption of those carbs in that little chunk of a Snickers post two hours of swimming probably wouldn't make that the best choice but I still have fond memories of Snickers, regardless of where it put me on that Glucometer!

Yes, I have ups and downs, just like anyone in life. Emotionally and literally on a meter. I try hard to not get too hung up on those numbers because I know what is up will always come down thanks to a little insulin or exercise and food or even Snickers in a pinch can bring me up, and the 89s anytime I will relish as long as I'm not dropping too far beyond that.
This was my blood sugar after a hard workout over my lunch hour a few days ago. I felt so good and was so proud of that 98 and the steady arrow. But I couldn't just look at that number, I felt bad about the numbers an hour before that workout when I was closer to 180. Some might consider that being hard on oneself but in the world of diabetes it is looking back at what I did and how it impacted my range, is it something I could change? This is part of the daily grind of finding stability and although it can be exhausting, knowing there is a possibility I might be able to fix that 180 to a 140 tomorrow gives me that same feeling of accomplishment that an 89 does.
Well, almost! :)

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