[Refusing to Die] -- 6 Minute Read
Knowing how to control your diabetes, as well as the mood swings that accompany it.
To all my Diabetics out there, I know that I don’t need to tell you that Diabetes can cause complications. These complications include health complications, relational complications, and life complications. What I probably also don’t need to tell you is that diabetes can take more than a leg or an arm, it can take your life. The fact that you and I are here today is likely due to the fact that you stood up to diabetes and refused to die. I know this sounds a bit bleak, but the honest truth is, diabetes can really mess you up. Many of you might even have family or friends that you have lost to diabetes. Life can be so much more than just refusing to die. Life SHOULD be so much more.
Once you have decided to fight back against diabetes and take control of your disease, you can begin to take back control of your life. You can focus on really living again and enjoying life. This is something that I had to re-learn recently. You see, for a brief time (about 3 months) I decided to see how going Vegan would affect and change the life of a Type 1 diabetic. Then to further experiment with diabetes, I decided to also remove the majority of fat from my diet and eat only natural foods. I was on the Low Fat, Whole Food, Plant Based lifestyle – a.k.a. the super strict Vegan diet. [If you are interested in my full experience from those 3 months, CLICK HERE]. The biggest change, outside of my unplanned weight loss, was my insane reduction in insulin needed. I had super charged my insulin sensitivity. I was below 4 units basal per 24 hours! To put that in perspective, earlier that year I was on 24 units per 24 hours. But overall, I was not happy. I had lost a ridiculous amount of weight, I was always hungry, and I had unexplained blood glucose drops. (There were good things too, just.. go read the other blog post haha). But after 3 months, I decided along with the council of my doctor, cardiologist, and endocrinologist, to make the shift back to eating a well-balanced diet that included meat. That transition was just as rough as the first transition from meat to being vegan. It meant insulin ratio changes. It meant unexplained lows and highs. It meant another month, or more, of documenting literally everything while trying to find patterns and find that sweet spot with all of my dosages to find balance once again.
It was during this transitional time that I learned some extremely important life lessons. You see, I spent every waking moment thinking about my diabetes because I am a perfectionist. If my blood sugars weren’t perfect before, after, and during meal times then I would get frustrated and demand to know why. But you know what? Sometimes I couldn’t find the why or the patterns. And I noticed that I would passively take that frustration out on those close to me. I would blow up in anger at the smallest disturbances. I would go hide by myself and sulk with my terrible blood sugars that just didn’t seem to budge for hours on end. I was sabotaging my relationships with everyone around me because my diabetes had taken over my mind. And as hard as it is for me to admit, it took way too long for me to figure that out. After those close to me began to softly let me know that I was being a bit short with them, I began to see how engulfed I had become. I had let my diabetes and my blood sugars determine the fluctuations in my moods. And it needed to stop.
I decided that I needed to make two significant changes for the necessary reparations to be made to my relationships as well as my own personal sanity. The first of these changes being that I needed to stop micro managing my diabetes. I realized that I was literally checking my CGM at every single update, which means every 5 minutes. How could I not obsess over my diabetes if I was checking in on it every 5 minutes? I needed to set some boundaries. I slowly forced myself to go 30 minutes post injection without peeking at my blood sugars. I then progressed to 1 hour. Then eventually the big, scary 2 hours. It wasn’t easy, but I was finally moving towards a place where I could once again go about my day without worrying about what my blood sugars were. (It obviously helped when blood sugars were cooperating, making it less stressful to go without checking all the time).
Second, I knew that I needed to prioritize the things that were important in life-- meaning relationships. I noticed that the majority of the interactions that I was having with my loved ones were just me expressing my frustrations with them and with my current blood sugar readings. There were no pleasant interactions to be had with me. I pulled each of my family members aside and apologized for my actions. They understood that I was acting differently because of my situation, and we were able to move forward. I promised to not let my blood sugars determine how I treat my loved ones.
You see, I chose to micro manage my diabetes BECAUSE I was refusing to die. I decided to do whatever it took to regain control over my disease, but at what cost? I had forgotten that there are other things in life that deserve my attention. Now of course, the goal is to have your diabetes under control so that you can truly focus the majority of your attention on others and enjoying life to the fullest. But my encouragement to you today is that even if you don’t have your diabetes under perfect control.. even if everything isn’t going your way.. don’t forget to enjoy life. And whatever happens, don’t let your frustrations destroy your relationships with others. They are the most important people in your life, and they deserve you at your best. Now go out there and have an awesome life! Let’s DiaBEAT this!
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