Diabetes is a disease that puts you through the wringer 24/7. If you are a diabetic, you should be aware of the number of things that you may feel or see or experience. There is a crap load. I’m not kidding. Once you think your cup is full, the waiter comes around and refills your glass. What really sucks is if the glass is full of iced tea and the waiter screws up your tea/Splenda ratio. Grrr…anyway.
It’s not only difficult being a diabetic, its difficult being the family, friends or lovers of one. Extremely difficult because there is no way for you to feel or understand what we are going through. No way. Thank your Gods. I know it’s hard for you, I do. All I can do is say I’m sorry and try to pass on some enlightenment to this disease. As someone with a chronic disease, we only hope for people to understand. Oh, and a cure. We hope for a cure, too.
It all goes back to the Invisible Illness post. Just because we look healthy, doesn’t mean we are.
I wanted to share with you some side effects of being a diabetic. Side effects that, as a 24 year diabetic veteran, I am or have experienced. I’m not talking about complications such as kidney failure, retinopathy or heart disease. I’m talking about the weird and obscure side effects that make a diabetic wonder ‘Is this because of my diabetes?’ ‘Could this be because of my diabetes?’ Or 'Would I feel like this if I didn’t have diabetes?’ Here are a few that I feel quite often. Unfortunately, so do those around me.
Fatigue. High blood sugars obviously can cause a diabetic to become tired. Also, many diabetics have thyroid problems which can also cause fatigue. Lucky me, I have both. My body gets exhausted every day by simply living. I’m pretty much tired of being tired but that’s my lot in life. So, I need to take a nap. I do. I am a much better and more alert person if I catch 30 minutes of sleep in the afternoon.
Anger. I am the queen of getting angry. I get angry because it’s easier for me to handle than getting sad. I get angry because I’m threatened and scared. I get mad that I am sick, that I do everything right and my sugars still run high or low, that I have all of these antibodies attacking my core and I can’t win this fight. I get angry for a lot of reasons. It’s normal. However, letting your emotions get out of control could put you at risk for more health issues.
Depression. Depression occurs in many diabetics. As a matter of fact, diabetics are twice as likely to suffer from depression as people who are not diabetics. Note…depression could also be a reason for fatigue. Feeling down once in a while is normal. Diabetics have a lot to deal with on a daily basis. These things can build and the stress becomes too much. You feel alone, you feel overwhelmed and, most of all, you feel hopeless. If you feel everything has become too much, please see your doctor. The world is a much better place with a happy you in it.
Forgetfulness. Poor control of your diabetes can lead to forgetfulness. Say hello to Ketoacidosis. I was poorly controlled for many years as a teen/young adult. During that whole self destruction phase, diabetes was something I wasn’t concerned with. Bad Kelly. The problem is that when you have an elevated sugar level in your blood stream, the blood flow to your hippocampus decreases. The hippocampus is not only fun to say, it is also responsible for your memory. So, don’t take it personal when I tell you I don’t remember. It’s certainly not that I didn’t care or didn’t find the experience as fulfilling as you, it just means I have a naughty hippocampus.
Weight Gain. Dr. B tells me ‘A chubby diabetic is a healthy diabetic.’ Oh. My. Gawd. Really? Really. Insulin makes you gain weight. Hurrah. The thing that keeps me alive on a daily basis also keeps my ass size on the rise. Keep in mind that this only applies to those with Type 1. Access overweight can be the cause of Type 2 and is quite the opposite. I’m talking gaining a reasonable amount of weight. Although, I struggle with 20 pounds being 'reasonable'. So, please do not tell me to go on a diet. I've been on one for 24 years. Please don't ask me to work out more. I work out as much as my disease allows me to. Love me, love my chubb. Note: Remember that manipulating your insulin to lose weight is a bad idea…one that I have had quite often. Luckily, I love my life too much to risk 10-20 pounds.
People don’t realize how much it takes for me, or any other diabetic, to simply survive. But we are surviving and we are doing the best we possibly can. Not only do we have a chronic disease, we are also human. We are all imperfect in some way, shape or form. I don’t know about you, but I find the imperfections of a person the most interesting.
“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet.” ~Mahatma Gandhi