Monday, November 4, 2013

Type 1 By The Numbers: 4-letter words

Welcome to November, a month dedicated to “no-shaving” and Diabetes Awareness. Since I am having trouble growing my beard out, I will focus on writing about Diabetes Awareness. This year I will be basing my posts on the “numbers” associated with the disease, hopefully this will keep things somewhat interesting (although I’m not convinced an autoimmune disease that attacks one’s own pancreas is all that interesting, but I will try ;-). I won’t be posting every day, but these posts will, in their nature, cover a wide variety of topics related to the disease. T1BT#
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In my humble opinion being afflicted with Type 1 Diabetes is a great excuse to use the four-letter-word versions of dang, shoot, and fudge. In fact I use these words quite frequently (maybe too frequently) in relation to administering insulin, refilling insulin pump reservoirs or calling insurance peoples. But there are so many other Diabetes four letter words - and it just depends on the day as to which words are most appropriate. 

On bad days, when I wake up with an unexplainable high blood sugar or miscalculate a bolus or go low at the gym, I subconsciously attach words like: "fear", "hard", and "hurt" to these situations that Diabetes puts me in. So often the day-to-day interactions with the Diabetes beast are inconsistent and sporadic. Sometimes I get stressed or upset about "normal people" things and that's when Diabetes will show up with her sassy pants on. "Oh, you have a throbbing headache and are nervous for a test at work tomorrow? BAM, here's a low blood sugar that won't budge and you don't have any glucose tabs with you right now. Ha." It feels very un-"fair".  

Some days it's even worse...."ruin" or "hate". Thankfully these days don't happen very often, but Diabetes doesn't take days off...we don't get a "free"-be on Thanksgiving or a piece of birthday cake without consequences. So these words show up very infrequently when the emotional burden reaches an apex. 

Some days the four letters are just procedural, "shot", "test", "math", "skin", "lows", "high", "vial". These are the daily standards, used in abundance and usually without thought. 

But there are other words. Words which describe the future, my future in relation to the disease. 

"Live"
"Hope"
"Cure"

These are the motivators. They are the words that trump all the rest. They can move out the bad thoughts and bring clarity to the misguided, self-centered pity parties. 

Yes, they are only words, with a measly four letters each, but their message pumps through the veins of those who have the disease, who care for us, who advocate for us, and who love us. They aren't just words...they are actions. We "live" because we have been given a second chance, we "hope" because it empowers our thoughts, and we "cure" because we don't want anyone else to bear this struggle. 

"Fear" and "Hope" in the same instant...very similar to the feelings Diabetes imparts!
Diabetes Awareness month gives us a chance to share this message and initiate a conversation, thanks for listening, your "love" means the world ;-)