OCTOBER! It’s been months since I’ve posted and I’m so sorry about that. I’ve been busy trying to get a company off the ground and also trying to manage all other aspects of my life. Wow, it’s been way too long.
Good thing though, I have some great ideas for blogs just for my readers out there. This particular blog comes from a few weeks ago while on DSMA en Vivo. We interviewed Anna Norton about living with Type 1 diabetes, something I know extensively about. Anyway, she was telling us her story when she got to a particular point that I felt very familiar. She was explaining that it took a particular doctor to show her and explain to her how to take care of herself. We all need to know how because like a lot of other people, we sometimes take for granted that all of our body parts are going to work and have a hard time understanding why it is that yours doesn’t. So when you realize how much goes into micromanaging a multi-organ disease like diabetes, you have to actually learn how to do it.
While on the call with her, I said, Yep! We all go through that, I feel, which is why it’s so important for parents of those children with Type 1 to explain to them exactly what’s going on in their body, including how exactly to take care of themselves without the help of their parents. Start young, because it’ll be easier when they get older.
I was reminded of this particular idea for a blog post last night when I got into the car. Ironically, it was the Christmas station that has a nightly advice call. Someone calls in, explains their situation and the host guides them into realizing their problem and possible resolutions. Last night, a young man called in explaining that he has juvenile diabetes. He went on to talk about how his father used to micromanage him, hovering over his son’s every move to make sure that his diabetes was under control. At a certain point, the father stopped and expected his son to take over the management of his diabetes, which he, quite frankly, refused to do. The young man explained that he’s been in and out of the hospital and that his father has been very angry with him because of it.
The host then went into the emotional aspect of the situation, telling the young man that he was resentful toward his father and his diabetes resulting in the rebellious nature of not taking care of himself, which in the end, is just not smart.
It took me back to the conversation with Anna. When you have Type 1 diabetes, you go through this weird stage of misunderstanding, rebelling and hatred for something you cannot control. It’s hatred. It really is. I used to find myself crying because of high A1c levels that I didn’t know how to lower. I would curse the disorder I have and would curse my pancreas for not making insulin. Why, oh why, couldn’t I be normal?
My parents were very supportive of me. My mother was my micro-manager. But, even though she explained to the best of her ability what was wrong with me, I still had to go through it alone, which for me was in college. I maintained my A1c at an 8 which was still high, but manageable, and I didn’t know I could make it any better. I didn’t understand my disorder and quite frankly, I didn’t want to.
But the young man on the radio said, as did Anna to some extent during our interview, “I don’t want to have anything amputated because of my diabetes.” And that’s the beginning.
When you begin to understand the repercussions of not taking care of yourself, the pain you suffer and the pain you cause others due to your suffering is the pivotal point in your life when you force yourself to learn about the disease or the disorder that you have. The more you know about diabetes, the easier it becomes to control it. The more you understand the relationship that insulin and diet plays on the way your body breaks down food and namely carbohydrates, the more you will want to be in control so that you are freed from the jail cell that is your body and, at times, your mind.
There comes a point when you accept the fact that this is a challenge and it will be for the rest of your life. But when you realize that you can control this monster, make it a part of your life instead of a hindrance, that is the day that you become a person with diabetes and revoke the idea that you are defined by it.