Monday, January 12, 2009

Pity Party

Recently a fellow D-blogger's post reminded me a lot of my "wake up call". I think every diabetic has one. You know, the time where you have to tell yourself:
"Self, you're diabetic. Stop kvetching and get over it. Grow up and take care of yourself or prepare to live with the (really horrible) consequences. Because no amount of wallowing or ignoring it is going to change the fact that you ARE diabetic and you just going to have to DEAL."
Personally, I wallowed in self-pity a lot as a kid with diabetes. When I was younger, I wasn't under great control, but not awful either. My A1C's ranged in the 7-8's with an occasional 9 thrown in just to scare the crap outta my mother. I was consumed with the fact that I wasn't like other kids and it wasn't fair so I just decided to ignore it. Sure I'd test every now and then, usually when I felt like sh!t. But everything I did for my diabetes was just a quick fix so I could put the pump or meter or needles away and be able to forget about it again. But in college I finally realized that at the end of the day this is the crap card I was dealt and I'm only hurting myself by trying to pretend I don't have it and not taking care of myself. I think that's called being a grown up and I guess I was finally ready to do that.

Don't get me wrong! Trust me, I still have pity parties every now and then. Usually after a day of having to chase my blood sugars all over Creation. Up, down, up, down. Those days get to me. This disease is difficult enough to deal with but to have it throw curveballs at you just blows. It's not like other diseases where you take your pill on time, do the things you are supposed to do and it just stays in check. Hell no. Maybe it's that way for other diabetics, but sure as hell not me. For me, there are those days where I can be the model diabetic (taking the right dose, right on time, testing sugars often, eating well) and my blood sugar is through the roof. (Like last night where I had a snack before bed. My blood sugar was fine before the snack and I bolused for it appropriately. But this morning I woke up and my blood sugar was 346. WTF?!? Did I underestimate the carbs in my snack? Or was it my dinner earlier on? Who the hell knows!?! But it was so frustrating to know my blood sugar sucked all night long and I didn't know and couldn't do anything about it.)

That's when I get out the decorations, bake some cookies and throw myself a grand 'ole pity party. These are the times I want to pick up my meter and throw it at the wall. It's so satisfying to imagine it bursting into a million tiny pieces. (Ha ha, I'm joking. . . well, mostly. I mean it's not like I couldn't get another one for free, right? It's the stupid strips that break the bank anyway.) These are the times when I've done everything right and my blood sugar still SUCKS. No, I've never actually broken my meter (on purpose) but I do have downer days where I just get tired of all the mental and physical crap having diabetes puts me through. Sometimes there are tears, other times there are irate rants . . . my husband is there for them all. (Gotta love him.) But I think that's okay and it kind of comes with the territory. For me, it's cathartic in a way. This disease sucks and my thought is I'd rather vent every now and then. And the next day I feel better and can move on and keep taking the best care of myself that I can. Rather than bottle it up and get bitter and feel like the only way to handle it is ignore it and make myself sick.

To add to all of this, I worry a lot about complications. "Complications" is a word that makes any diabetic shudder. All these awful possibilities loom before us as reminders of what can happen when we don't take care of ourselves. When I was in nursing school, I saw examples of these conditions everyday and if I wasn't scared before, that did the trick. As diabetics, we are probably all waiting for the other shoe to drop. Will this be the day that the doctor comes back and tells me I have (fill in the blank)? Who knows? I'm very lucky to be able to say that after 18 years of being diabetic and being hospitalized with DKA 4 times in my youth, I still don't have any complications to show for my stupidity. I count my blessings every day. And I keep hoping that every day that I take responsibility for my diabetes and keep it under control now, will somehow erase one day in my childhood where I ignored it and made stupid decisions. I'm not naive enough to think that's actually how the universe works but a girl can hope, right? Of course the healthier I am, the less likely I am to get complications so I'll keep trying everyday to do my best. Still, it doesn't erase or excuse the past. So I'm just gonna keep on keepin' on. I'll do my best every day. And when I have to I'll feel frustrated and sorry for myself for a minute, breathe deeply, exhale and move on.

Praying for a healthy 2009,


  1. Bravo on a great post - and as you know, I understand the pity party stuff and the frustration and the feeling that it all just sucks. But you are right, we need to count our blessings. I also am complication free so far (and so scared that typing that is going to jinx me). When I look back over my 29 years with diabetes and think about my high school & college years when I just ignored it, I know someone out there must be looking out for me.

    And thank you so much for your encouragement and support. Today that dark cloud seems a little smaller.

  2. This post has me randomly thinking about the Baby Sitters Club Series - did you ever read those books? I remember reading the books from Stacy's perspective and thinking that there was NO WAY I could live with diabetes!! And yet some people have no choice. You are strong, Layne. And this is one of the weirdest comments I've ever written.