We all know the management of type one diabetes is a 24/7, 365 days/year sentence handed down to us by our immune system. Our immune systems killed all our beta cells, but here we are serving the time for an injustice we did not even commit.
This has all the great plot twists of a Netflix crime drama, I tell you.
I realized so many things about myself after my divorce 7 years ago. The most glaring, and most horrendous to realize, was that I was not caring for myself. During my toxic, ten year marriage I did not hang out with friends, or take up any hobbies, or exercise, or maintain a healthy diet, or even acknowledge myself. I most certainly did not take care of my body, or the broken parts of my body.
I got by everyday sometimes not checking my blood sugar at all, just taking insulin all willy-nilly when I ate something. I took my 20 units of Lantus at 9pm and guessed my Humalog when I ate. I was happy with a number under 250. I was not in the care of an endocrinologist, as those did not exist in the world of Illinois Medicaid at that time. I saw a random doctor once a year, (s)he asked how I was, looked at my feet, and wrote me scripts for the necessary items. That was it! I was going off of my sliding scale from when I was diagnosed at age 18, in 1999. Or just the “feeling” I had about how many insulin units to take. I was not educated past what I learned in the hospital at my diagnosis, and I had no interest in learning more. Pretty sure one time I had an a1c of 11. ELEVEN!
I was too god damn sad with my life to even care.
Reflecting on my current status as a #type1warrior, I am ashamed of what I let my bad marriage do to my life, and to my health. Letting go of that pestilent relationship not only freed myself and my children to live more sane lives, it lowered my damn a1c!
Mental health is such a strong component of caring for t1d. This is an all consuming, mentally challenging, daily frustration that needs attention. Low self-esteem, feeling unconnected to your world, feeling unloved or hopeless will undoubtedly lead to “uncontrolled diabetes”. Imagine losing your ability to have satisfying sex, losing digits or limbs, going on kidney dialysis, losing your sight, or slowly dying…all because you made the choice not to care for yourself. That’s pretty lame, folks.
Choose to care for yourself and put your endocrine health first. If you are in a toxic relationship, get out of it right quick. If you are being asked by your employer to put your job ahead of your health, hire a lawyer and then get yourself a new job. If you are in a living situation with family members or roommates that is not conducive to your diabetic health, move the H out. If you are battling mental health issues that hinder your ability to care for yourself, please find a counselor to speak with. If you do not have t1d frands, search #diabadass on IG asap.
There will be hours or days when we just do not want to do this anymore. Diabetic burnout is legit. The goal is to not let it last years, my #diababes. This disease is only manageable if we manage it. Let’s get Manager of the Year, shall we?