Hello friends! Yesterday was World Diabetes Day which is held every November 14 in recognition of Frederick Banting’s birthday. Frederick, along with Charles Best, discovered insulin in 1922, later selling their patent for a mere $1. That low price was due to the fact that they wanted insulin to be available and affordable to all who needed it. Boy, have times changed!
For those who have read most of my blogs, you know that I often talk about positivity and finding the good in not-so-good situations. You also know that I always add a disclaimer that I never mean for my advice to sound like it’s “just that easy.” Nothing is “just that easy.” Losing weight is not easy. Fighting a chronic illness every single day is not easy. Overcoming an addiction is not easy. Anything worth fighting for is not easy.
I have a long history with diabetes, over 31 years now. I would never dare say that diabetes is easy for me now. Easier yes, but easy? No. My problem (and this has always been a problem of mine) is that I’m stubborn, too stubborn sometimes. With stubbornness comes pride, and with pride comes a whole host of things we won’t let ourselves do. For me, that’s resting when I know my body needs a rest but I just keep pushing when I know I shouldn’t. But more than that, it’s letting myself feel how I feel. I know I will always have diabetes, so my mindset has always been, “Do the best you can, girl. Be positive and never let this disease get the best of you. Help others, share what you have learned, and keep educating yourself.” But, if I’m honest with myself and all of you, some days I just want to scream and cry and complain and throw a pity party. And darn it, that’s OK! I’m human and I am learning to let myself feel what I feel. It’s not reasonable or even possible to be positive all the time, but I know that I can’t beat myself up on the days that it’s not possible. When you’re stubborn like me, you convince yourself that feeling sorry for yourself is unacceptable. Feeling sorry for yourself and staying there is one thing, but letting yourself have a moment is quite another. I am learning to embrace my moments and letting them happen.
I often have people tell me that they forget I have diabetes because I “never show it” or I “never complain.” After so long, it just becomes second nature to do the things you have to do to get through the day and I’ve never been one to let people know every little ache and pain that I have (Um, except for my mom. I turn into quite the baby when I tell my mom every single minute detail about my ailments. Sometimes they are followed up with pictures, but whatever. Don’t judge me. Y’all do it too). Anyway, I just don’t like to complain about it, and quite frankly, people don’t want to hear complaining all the time. Most of the time, I really don’t feel like I have anything to complain about. I feel grateful that there is so much technology that wasn’t available when I was first diagnosed. Notice I said “most of the time I don’t complain.” Last week, I finally let myself unleash, which I haven’t done in a very long time.
My husband and I attended a wedding, and while getting ready, I had a severe low blood sugar. I just got out of the shower and my sugar dropped rapidly. I was soaking wet from sweat and laid down on the floor with the ceiling fan on high. It took 40 minutes for my sugar to come back up, and by that time, I felt like I needed another shower from sweating so much. That night, I wore a floor length form-fitting dress. There was absolutely no place to put my insulin pump where it wouldn’t show and where it was easily accessible. I ended up wearing an insulin pump garter belt that felt like a tourniquet. You could still see the outline of the belt because it was a tighter dress and the pump had to be on the inside of my leg so it wouldn’t bulge on the outside. So, I was wearing a tourniquet and a pump between my thighs. Not to mention I had to reach way up my dress to take insulin in church. Not the place you want to be reaching up a dress.
Later that same night, something finally snapped in me and I told my husband I couldn’t hold it together anymore. I told him that I try so hard not to complain about diabetes but I just couldn’t do it in that moment. I was tired. I was tired of checking my blood sugar around the clock, I was tired of constantly figuring out where to put my pump, I was tired of the alarms that go off every day and throughout the night, I was tired of counting carbs, I was tired of carrying snacks for lows and extra insulin everywhere I go, I was tired of feeling tired because of the blood sugar roller coasters, I was tired of worrying about the price of insulin and where I will be when I get old, I was tired of worrying if my girls are going to become diabetic because of me, I was tired of having to think about every crumb I put in my mouth, I was tired from 31 years of worry. I was done and I just needed to cry. And then I was ok.
It’s OK to be mad. It’s OK to be sad. And it’s OK to be OK. Just feel what you are feeling and don’t be afraid that you are “giving up” because of it. I had myself convinced that because I am typically positive about diabetes, because I have a blog that emphasizes positivity, and because I pride myself on never complaining that I couldn’t EVER complain. Everyone needs a release sometimes, and sometimes that release is all it takes to feel good again. I know for me, it takes serious work to be OK with a disease that takes so much from you. But, as I have said before, I am grateful that I can feel OK more than I don’t. It’s a long, long, long journey, one that looks different for each of us. Mine took over 20 years, but the things I learned in those 20 years I wouldn’t trade for anything. Those lessons are all part of who I am. When you are wishing and praying to come through whatever situation you are in, remember that the hard parts are the parts you will look back on and know where some of your greatest lessons came from.