5 things diabetes is affecting
5 THINGS DIABETES IS AFFECTING
++HOW I DEAL WITH IT
Diabetes is not a simple disease. Let’s face it, it’s not like a cold that you get for a couple of days. Diabetes loves you so much that it sticks with you for the rest of your life, and on top of that, it sometimes wants you to live your life the way it wants. How many times have you said to yourself: ''If I didn’t have diabetes, I would have been able to do this, eat this, enjoy this?'' To be honest, I’ve said that to myself a lot of times and on many occasions.
The thing is that you can tell yourself those affirmations, but you can’t let them make you sad or get you in a bad mood because things happen. A lot of people have those thoughts but don’t even have diabetes. Someone can be on a diet and tell him/herself: ''oh I shouldn’t eat that''. Same thing goes for us.
I am deviating a little bit from the topic of this blog post, so I am coming back to it. I decided to write an article about 5 things that diabetes is affecting in my every day life, and how I am dealing with every situation. I think it is important to write about this because I am sure that I am not alone. I know that diabetes can affect more than 5 things and that it is different for every person, but I tried to focus on the most important ones for me.
'' I slept so good last night''. This is a sentence that I rarely say during the day. I am sure that I’m not the only one who gets woken up by a low or high blood sugar, or like for those who have a Dexcom and/or a pump, by all the alarms, and I am talking here about ALL of the alarms: low cartridge, blood sugar rising too quickly, blood sugar dropping too quickly, and the list goes on. Oh and let’s not forget those nights where the BS is stubborn and won’t go up after 3 juice boxes, or won’t go down after 2 big injections. When all of this happens, I wake up the next morning so tired, exactly like I drank a bottle of wine just before sleeping. Then how do I deal with it? Of course, as soon as I wake up I am so grumpy. Who wouldn’t be? Then I drink a lot of water because it gives me a lot of energy in the morning and I have my morning tea (I don’t drink coffee anymore) .My body is going to be tired anyways so I start telling myself that my blood sugar is fine now (normally it is the next day) and if it’s not, I take action to reduce it or vice versa. I also tell myself that my body is strong and even though I had an interrupted night, I am able to push myself and go through the day. The best scenario is when I am able to take a nap in the afternoon but if I can’t, I just sleep early when it’s night night time.
I can’t count how many times I had to cancel plans because my blood sugar was way too high to eat at a restaurant, or because I wasn’t feeling well of consecutive low BGs. Having diabetes can certainly affect your daily routine: just think about all the appointments that you need to take, and all of the ''taking care of your body'' part. Sometimes I am about to leave my house when I notice that I don’t even have enough insulin in my pump to cover my day, so that means that I have to go back to my room, get my insulin, etc. and then I can leave. But I think the most annoying thing comes to driving, whenever I just got to my car to go somewhere, or even when I am actually driving. When I hear that low alarm, or even when I see my BG dropping, I know that I can’t go behind the wheel and that I need to wait. Again, how do I deal with that? It used to frustrate me so much because I'm the kind of person who doesn’t like to wait. So when I have to wait for my BG to go up to drive, it is not the most peaceful situation for me. I learned however to control my emotions and now when I get a low alarm before getting behind the wheel, I tell myself: so what? How is 15 minutes going to change anything? If I get to a place now or 15 minutes later, is it really going to make a difference? Same thing goes for my daily plans that can be affected by my diabetes. If I am not feeling well, well I am not feeling well. If I have appointments, well that’s the way it goes, I am simply taking care of myself. If I am too high to go eat out, well I can go if I am not feeling too sick and get a salad or even a tea.
I think that I am going to dedicate a whole article to anxiety, but I wanted to at least talk about it here because I think it is important. My diabetes brings me a lot of anxiety and I am sure I am not the only person who lives with the same fears related to diabetes. I used to be carefree about my disease, well I am not going to say carefree but I was just living my life without really thinking that I have diabetes. I actually trusted my diabetes because it was good to me and I was still getting those low symptoms. But then one day I decided to check my blood sugar before driving: I was alone in a city far from my friends and family (for my studies), and it was around 2.5 mmol/L. I panicked because I didn’t even feel it!!!! If I didn’t check it, I never would have known!! That’s when I noticed that my low blood sugar symptoms were long gone and that I need something to help me! Fortunately, Dex came to the rescue but the point of this story is to show how easily BG levels can give me anxiety. It's a good thing that now I started to feel the low symptoms again, but not as much as before. However, when I get a low BG level when I am alone at home I can tell you that I am not the calmest person. Sometimes I even call my mom just to tell her: '' Oh hi btw I just wanted to let you know that I’m low, okay bye!'' I always think that something bad will happen if I am alone and that nobody knows. So how do I deal with that? Well someone gave me a trick, and it can work for low and high BG levels; I simply ask myself first: ''Is the situation dangerous?'' And then : ''Is the situation urgent?'' I take a step back, think about that, and calm down. If I see that yes, I need instant help, I can tell or call someone, but if not, I just need to breathe and wait, it will pass eventually.
Diabetes can also affect your relationships, and I am talking here about all relationships: friendships, family, significant other. I don’t know if you know, but high BGs make you become irritated, and in my case low BGs too. When I’m high or low, nobody can talk to me. I need to be on my own. Of course it depends of the situation and of my blood sugar levels. If I’m ''normal’'' high, let’s say 14.0 mmol/L, I can still be friendly and smiling! I become irritated when I am extremely high or low. I am pretty sure that you all have seen this meme saying '' I’m sorry for what I said when I was low'' . Being low is the same feeling as being tipsy, well for me, so that works so perfectly. I think it is important to have friends and family members that can understand your mood swings and why you are being like that. In my situation, I have so many supporting friends and family members who always ask how I am feeling and they understand when I need to be on my own. Same thing goes with my boyfriend. When I’m low, I am in that ''leave me alone'' phase for 15 minutes and he totally understands that, he even waits with me with extra juice boxes just in case. So I would say that the way to deal with diabetes and relationships is simply communication and understanding. When you explain to others your symptoms and that they understand, you have found the key to having healthy relationships.
I have talked a lot about diabetes and food, and I know it is obvious that food affects your diabetes, but diabetes also affects the meals that you will eat. What do I mean? Well let’s say you made plans with your friends for a week now to try out this new trendy sushi place, or dessert place, or whatever is trending right now. The day comes and your blood sugar is at 16.0 mmol/L before going out. For me, I would not feel comfortable eating a dessert or sushi with that BG level cause god knows how high it can get, or maybe I’ll overreact and put too much insulin. So how do I deal with that? I will still go, but I will eat something with low carbs. It’s the same thing if I wanna go out to grab a couple of drinks. Diabetes can affect what I am eating, but I don’t let it ruin my experience of going out. Unexpected events can happen all the time.
I’m adding a random and funny 6th thing: mosquito bites!! I know it can be odd, but I went Ziplining in June and there were sooo many mosquitoes around me and I felt like I was the only bothered by this. Everybody was walking without any problem and I was waving my arms up and down like a crazy person. Then a guy who works at the National Park I went to told me that mosquitoes are attracted to sweet blood. My blood sugar was at 10.0 mmol/L so that was why they loved me so much. Well I guess I was too sweet!
Picture taken from: pixabay.com