Sunday, November 3, 2013

Taking ownership

It feels as if I've been tapping a reset button the entire month of October. It has been a theoretical reset button since you cannot completely reset your life as much as we would like to. Each time I've tapped this imaginary button, I've been making a change. Thinking about these changes and decisions I've made, I'm in awe of what they all together represent. The changes and decisions may seem small alone but together they result in a huge decision. At least for me. That decision -- I will not let my diabetes own me. I will own my diabetes. I refuse to continue to be ashamed of having a chronic illness that I never asked for. I promise you, as a child I was not praying every night for my pancreas to stop working so I could start injecting myself multiple times a day and poke my fingers daily numerous times. I get why you might think a kid would pray for that because it is the most awesome way to live. Side note: that was 100% sarcasm. Diabetes isn't the worst thing ever, it just isn't the greatest thing ever either. 

Here is the thing. I've had type one diabetes for 23 and a half year. The majority of my life. And I have never been okay with it. I have been ashamed of it because I've suffered some horrible lows at school, on trips and even at work. Even to this day people that have witnessed those lows "tease" me. To me, it comes across as mocking and I'd like to tell them off but that isn't socially acceptable. I've been ashamed because it made me different. Elementary school stunk because I was moved to the front of the entire lunch line to get my "special" hot lunch. Classmates complained because I had to eat a snack in the morning and afternoon. I try my hardest to not mention my diabetes to men in the early dating process. Heck, I had a man use my diabetes as a reason to dump me. He just didn't want to "deal with all that diabetes junk." Having people constantly analyze what you are eating and unknowingly make judgmental looks on their faces - not fun. It gets overwhelming and makes you want to curl up in a hole and avoid humanity altogether. In fact, there have been points in my life when I just refused to acknowledge I have diabetes. That never turned out as it usually ended up with me in an ICU on an insulin drip. Which made me feel even worse because I was letting people down and I couldn't be the perfect diabetic. I still want to shut down and ignore my diabetes and say screw it when I have a high blood sugar but I'm getting better at not doing that. 

So, at the start of October I had a check up with my endocrinologist. She was telling me about a new continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and the pump. I've been pretty dead set against the pump. She asked if I wanted to do a trial run with the CGM to get some really good data on my numbers. 288 readings a day! I said sure, what the heck. And I promised to think about the pump. 

When I returned a few days later to have the CGM removed, the sales rep made it sound like it had already been decided I'd be getting the pump. Oh, okay. I was confused but went with it. Truth is, I needed that extra push to get on board with the pump. I returned at the end of the week to go over the data and get the prescription for the pump. My endocrinologist hugged me and said she wanted me to be a success. That killed me. In a good way. 

For the first time in forever I have an endocrinologist that doesn't judge me. Who wants me to be healthy. Who doesn't push me. Who lets me make decisions. Who works as a team with me. Who seems to believe in me. And that, my friends, is like winning a gold medal.

It was her hug that kicked my brain to where it needed to be. To make me realize I can't let my diabetes own me anymore. That I should not be ashamed of it. Oh heck no. From here on out, I shall own my diabetes. 

My pump, CGM and supplies ironically arrived on my birthday. Happy birthday to me? I just have to complete training and then *boom* I'll be a pumper. I'm excited and scared about this new journey and even if it turns out not to be for me and I return to injections, there is no going back - I will own my diabetes. 

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