Diabetes

About 2 ½ years ago, I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. Although I had been diagnosed with pre-diabetes before that, I still was in a state of shock. Shock then turned to denial. Now I acknowledge the reality that I have it but obviously am no fan of it. I cannot say that I am “proud” to be a diabetic. I admire people that can be. Right now it is something I live with and it feels like a major pain in the ass.

The very first thing I have to do every morning is stick a little needle in my finger called a lancet. Then I squeeze up a good sized drop of blood, and stick the test strip into the blood and then into the glucometer. The glucometer is a nifty little device that very quickly gives you a number. This is called a finger-stick test and should be done regularly. In fact, I only do it in the morning, fasting before breakfast but should probably take it several other times a day. Before a meal, the target for the finger prick is 80-130. I almost never meet that target. Right now I am in the high 100s. A few weeks ago I was in the lower to mid 100s because of a medication I was taking called Actos. Unfortunately it caused weight gain and severe foot pain and swelling so I had to go off of it. When my blood sugar was very poorly managed I would have 200 and 300 numbers and even had a 400 once or twice. I am starting a new medication soon and we will see how it A) manages the diabetes B) if it gives me various and sundry side effects.

After the glucose test, I take 128 units of insulin from a medication called Toujeo. I wipe my belly with an alcohol swab and then use a pen to stick in the insulin. It doesn’t hurt too bad usually, but once in a while it really stings and rarely has a small amount of blood come out. I have to prick myself twice because the toujeo pen only goes up to 80 so then I have to do it again for 48 units. Then it is breakfast time. Diet is a bug part of diabetes and I am basically Epic. Fail. I’ll have to write another entry about that because it is also very complex and there are a number of reasons why I fail to live up to what is expected of me diet-wise.

I also take what’s called the A1C test. It tests the average glucose readings for the previous 2-3 months. Your score is supposed to be under a 7. Unfortunately I have never had under a 7. I have had a 7.5, and 8.5 and a 9.5 [the ones I can remember]. I hope that the new medication that I am starting will help to get it under 7. But we shall see.

It is a very complex disease and I can see it is going to take a long time to get the insulin and medication right. [Not to even put diet and exercise into the mix.] I sometimes feel like my life is ruled by numbers. The finger prick, the A1C, the cholesterol, blood pressure, hormones levels, etc. It is weird how health is not holistic but much more quantitative in Western medicine. I have to constantly remind myself that I am more than the jumble of numbers used to represent my “health.” I think in the mad dash to “manage” and “control” diabetes we forget that there are flesh and blood people involved here with very strong emotions going on. Whatever my numbers, I am going to try to stress self-compassion and remember that we are more than physical health: we are also ruled by emotional, psychological, and spiritual health. I hope as time progresses my diabetes will not feel so difficult. Time will tell.