The bottom line...pride?

Within the span of 15 minutes, I shamefully eat a candy bar (sans testing, sans bolusing), show the Professor ads on blood glucose machines for an assignment, (which leads to a mini-discussion on the advances in diabetes) and say “I wear an insulin pump.”

Notice that I did not say “I have diabetes” or “I am diabetic.” No ownership of this disease that, like or not, is mine. I will however talk about, educate about it or use it as my trump card when it is useful to me.

As soon as the conversation with the Professor ended I wondered whether or not anyone had seen what I ate and then heard what I had said. Paranoid, maybe?

It was this strange sort of awakening in how I deal with diabetes. The bottom line is that I don’t want it. Don’t want to share my body with it, don’t want the lows, the highs, the restrictions, the complication or the guilt it brings. I don’t want any of it…unless, of course, it will benefit me in some way. I have made no real commitment to this disease.

I look at myself and wonder how I can still have such a twisted, complicated relationship with diabetes after over20 years. Have I really learned so little along the way? Why can’t I "just put on my big girl panties and deal with it"? How do all you other PWD’s accept it? From my very limited viewpoint it seems like there are people who have done a much better job of the acceptance and commitment to taking the best care possible of themselves than me.

Yeah, sure, none of us asked for this. Not one of us honestly likes having diabetes, although some are much better at finding the silver lining than I. It seems to me though that in order to effectively manage diabetes and live with it you need to take some ownership of the disease. How do establish some sense of pride about something you loathe? I’m not thinking the kind of pride where you tell every single person you meet about the disease or have it painted on you forehead (although isn’t wearing a trusty medical id bracelet pretty close?) but more along the lines of enough pride that makes you (me) want to the best job possible in managing diabetes*.

I’m not sure where I got it from but I have a picture in my head of a grandpa type saying something along the lines of whatever you do, do it well and do it with pride. That is sentiment that for the most part I believe in. But how do I have pride in and do the best at something I simply don’t want?

*side note: as I was typing this, the spelling correction I was given for my spelling of managing that came up was: mismanaging – hmmm?


George said...

Being a Born Again, i can totally relate. I think that what it comes down to is, I like myself and diabetes come with it. I actually said this to myself this weekend. I spent way too many years hating myself and my situation. I am done.

Don't know if that helps but it keeps me getting out of bed each day.

Kelsey said...

This sounds really lame, but I find myself motivated by the idea of being "good" at diabetes. Meaning, when it's time for dessert and I pass it up, people look at me with admiration. I've had many people say "wow, I could never do what you do!" We know that's not entirely true, but somehow the idea that what I struggle with is tough, actually makes me want to succeed at it.

melissa said...

Not lame at all, Kelsey. Actually I was just writing another post and had just typed the line ("this was something I was good at" - taling about when I was little and how I dealt with the D) when your comment popped up - weird. I think you are definitley onto something. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Anonymous said...

We all have these days. I just started on a pump yesterday, and have experienced more highs and lows (emotional as well as blood sugars) than I care to remember, and it is absolutely frustrating. After 25 years of shots and "not-good-enough" results, here's what got me off of my butt and motivated me to take care of myself: other people. My wife has put up with the grief of living with me through this disease.. and she consciously made the CHOICE to stay with me and marry me despite the current and potentially future issues. I can't bear to think that, years down the road, I become a burden and she begins to regret that choice - I owe her whatever I can to make that difficult choice she made easier. Plus, I just found out that I'm going to be a daddy (yay!). I want to be there for my child, to raise and help my child, to help him or her through the complexities of growing up, to see him or her graduate, get married -- I want to enjoy parenthood, and want to be a part of my child's life. I don't want to be a burden, an embarassment, or an absent parent. And I need to stay healthy to do that.

Melissa, there are people who care for you, who made the choice to stay by your side even though you've got this affliction. It's easy to give up on yourself, but it's really tough to give up on other people. I hope this gives you some strength. Good luck.

And please keep writing your blog. Your "scribblings of a real girl with a real disease" are a welcome step back into reality from the role models we hear about in magazines and on dLife TV. Know it or not, you give us all motivation, encouragement, and the comfort to know that everyone screws up once in awhile - and that's OK. Thank you for that.

(because the baby news hasn't been made public yet)

Scott K. Johnson said...

Hi Melissa,

Dealing with diabetes is a very tough and tangled thing to get your head around. Something I'm fighting with all the time.

I think that we each come to a point where we recognize the importance of taking care of ourselves, and work to do so. But because we want to do it, it is less of a burden.

That is a point that I've not come to yet, but am working on. Each of us has our own time for it, and no one can make you do it.

I think it is important to listen to the emotional side of dealing with diabetes, and try to work through whatever issues come up. It's not unreasonable to ask for help either.

I don't know if anything I'm saying helps at all, but I guess I just wanted to convey the message that I understand what you talk about in this post.

Thanks for sharing!