Diabetes is a chronic disease. A sucky, sucky chronic disease (can you tell I like Big Bang Theory?). This sucky disease has forced me to give up some things. So I decided to make a list of the things I won’t give up:
1. My sense of humor.
Diabetes isn’t easy to live with. I can easily come up with a list of why it sucks but sometimes I need my sense of humor. For example, ever use control solution? For those who may not know what this is, control solution is used to make sure your monitor is working the way it should be. You put a strip in your glucose monitor, put a drop of control solution on it and the number should fall within the range stated for the meter. I have found out many times over (because I’m clumsy and drop my monitor a lot), control solution is not like blood. I have yet to get it on the strip without wearing it. And it stains. Ya, I love going to work with blue fingers.
2. Trying new things.
I like new and/or different. When you’re given a blood glucose monitor at diagnosis, it usually comes with some sort of a lancet device. I have had a few that were not lancets, they were harpoons! Once in a while I decided what was given, isn’t working for me. Over time, I tried other devices until I found one that didn’t hurt like a skinned knee. I also like new recipes that will support my diabetes. I’m more adventurous when eating out than when I’m at home, but I love trying new foods.
Let me clarify. I never started intentionally walking until I was diagnosed with diabetes. Now I look forward to my walks and look for ways to walk more. Parking on the third lower level at work instead of parking at the door. Looking for craft shows or other events that I can walk around at, even leisurely, because it means more exercise. I can take it at my own pace, and quite frankly, every little bit helps the blood sugar numbers.
4. My peers.
Where would I be without my family, my friends and all of you? Peers remind me that I am normal, that I can live with diabetes, that I have nothing to feel guilty about, that it’s ok to cry. In person or online, I know my peers are there for me. Even online trolls, that are peers of a different kind, move me forward to find the positive and allow me to challenge their thinking. They can be pretty negative which helps me open up dialogue and remember the positive.
5. Eating out.
(BUT not all the time). Food is medicine for diabetics. Eating healthy is good and diet can always improve. Sometimes, we eat out for fun, for lack of planning or to just be with friends. I like to eat out so I don’t see myself stopping this. I do see myself eating out as an occasion for the most part, not as a habit. There are always ways to eat out and eat fairly healthy. I have to live with diabetes but diabetes has to live with me too.
6. Believing that diabetes can be cured.
I will never give up hope. No one should have to live with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes carries a genetic component. I don’t want my kids getting diabetes now that the genetic coding has been unlocked through me. I want a cure, for all with diabetes.
7. Things that help me stay sane.
It would be very easy to go crazy with worry about diabetes; worry about what I’m doing, what I’m not doing, what the future brings and so on. I turn to my hobbies to help. I make cards, greeting cards, for my family and friends. I make cards to give for birthdays, anniversaries etc. but also to give away as gifts. Who doesn’t love handmade stationary? I can totally get lost in designing, then creating them. I love to blog. I love to read. These things keep me sane by distraction. They decrease my worry about diabetes.
Why would I need to give up technology? It can be expensive. Take for example, fitness trackers. Admittedly, they are not cheap. I rely on it to get my steps in every day. So if I lost it or broke it, I’d have to save to buy another one. That takes time but I wouldn’t give it up. However there is also much that is free. I love blood sugar monitors with new features. I read up as much as I can about the new ones coming out. If it’s time to replace my current one, then I may be able to replace it for free with the new one I’d like. I also love apps for my phone that assist with keeping my diabetes in line. Most are free. I love diabetes Twitter chats. I’m still learning how to use these types of platforms but it’s fun to explore them. At no cost. There is even an online game now that is improving A1C.1
9. Some ‘not so great’ foods.
Sometimes in my diabetic life I have to compromise. I like cream in my coffee. Milk doesn’t taste bad in it. It’s ok as long as I can’t see it. When I see a coffee with milk, all I can think is, “That’s just wrong.” So my compromise is I use light half and half cream. It only has 5-6% fat. I can live with that. Similarly, I like an alcoholic cooler now and then, even though I know it may have 45g of carbs. I can’t honestly say, “I’m diabetic. I’ll never have another one of those again.” What I can say instead, “I’ll only have them a few times a year.” I will likely have it during summer vacation, on Thanksgiving, Christmas and maybe New Years. That’s a pretty good compromise.
And last be not least:
Big Bang Theory makes me laugh. Re-runs of Mike and Molly makes me laugh. Many things on Twitter and Facebook makes me laugh. Diabetes is stressful. We have to be vigilant about what we eat, how much we eat, how much we exercise, how often we test…ugh!! Stress! There is nothing better to relieve stress than laughter. I want to laugh often. I want to laugh hearty. To the point of tears. Now that is how to de-stress!
These are the things I will not give up for diabetes. I wonder what’s on your list when this sucky chronic disease gets you down.