Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Not Diabetic Enough

For the past week I have been mildly obsessed with Twitter and the Diabetic Online Community (DOC). I did not know it even existed before then, and I completely jumped into the deep-end, cannon-ball style. I check the site throughout the day, following people and reading their blogs. Clicking their links that take me on a meandering course through the internet. I cannot stop and have little desire to do much else.
Perhaps I am making up for lost time...all of those years that I completely ignored my diabetes. I couldn't even call it MY diabetes because I took zero ownership of it. Complete submerged in this denial, I floated through years of my life blissfully unaware of what it was really like to live with the condition. I took my insulin, sure, but guessed my way through boluses and could go over a month (!) without ever checking a blood sugar. I am embarrassed to even type that, but I refuse to hide anymore.
Though the whole time I thought ignorance was bliss, I was simply fooling myself. I harbored a deep-seeded guilt that reared it's ugly head before Endo appointments that I desperately tried to cancel and re-schedule. And floating my way through the years is a bad description; I mainly trudged my way, feeling tried and grumpy and bogged down by sky-high sugars.
So over the past 7 months I've been slowly walking from those dark days into the light. And many days it felt blinding, overpowering, intimidating and I was tempted to hide again under the sweet, soft, dark comforter that is denial. But with each blood sugar I tested and each number I forced myself to face, I changed a little part of me. I learned that they're just numbers, and they can be corrected. Each day I got a little bit stronger and a little bit more determined to beat this thing into submission.
I always hid from my diabetes because I thought it was freeing me from the burden of it all, but the truth is that by owning it, I finally became free. No more overwhelming, ugly, shameful guilt. No more hiding who I really am.
So in my silent stalking of all of these online people with diabetes/type 1 diabetics, or whatever they choose to be called, I feel inadequate. For the first time in my life, I do not feel inadequate BECAUSE I am diabetic, but because I do not feel diabetic ENOUGH. These people seem to have such amazing control over their numbers, such openness with their issues the times that they do not, and such confidence in how they conquer the everyday, monotonous tasks. They know about CGM's, and fancy pump settings, and strategies to cover the craziness that ensues after eating pizza. They throw around puns and funny t-shirt designs. They are cool, knowledgeable people with diabetes. I feel so behind and so desperate to be a real part of it all, like a little sister stepping on the heels of her old sibling, trying to keep up and imitate all that she does.
Despite being diabetic for 19 years, the shedding of my denial phase has made me feel like I've gone through a diagnosis all over again. I'm not sure I even really went through it the first time around, the way many do when they are diagnosed at an older age. I also feel like an extreme newbie because I have only been on the pump for 1 week. The entire process is foreign and a constant adjustment.
So I'll keep looking to these sweet strangers for input, experience, and opinion and weigh it against my own as I build more of it. What a fantastic resource - and despite feeling so "little sister" about it all, I sure am grateful to be able to look up to all of these people.

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