Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Imperfection is Beauty.

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



  1. is it wrong that reading 'naughty hippocampus' made me grin?

  2. Awesome post! Thanks for sharing and yes, I too giggled at 'naughy hippocampus'. . very funny.

  3. Great post Kelly...really enjoy your blogs :)

  4. I really think most people don't realize what an effect diabetes has on how diabetics think, act, and live their lives. There is so much public focus on Type 2 diabetes, but hardly anyone realizes the extent of what Type 1 diabetics go through! My husband is diabetic, and we've been through some interesting diabetes-related things. Thank you for this post!

  5. Here's to 24 year Vets! Woot! Imperfect, fatiguied, grumpy, chubby and all! [clink]

    FANfreakinTastic post Kelly! Love ya, my Fabu Virgo New Yorker! ;-)

  6. I am a type 2 diabetic and I often feel alone. I've experienced everything you've mentioned and wondered if it has to do with my diabetes. Thank you so much for this post.

  7. I am going to get a lot of flack for writing this but having been a Type 1 diabetic for 20 years and also having thyroid cancer, I think it's okay for me to share my thoughts. Yes, type 1 diabetes can be very debilitating and yes we have to be more aware of what we eat and how much we work out, but in the big scheme of things I find myself feeling very lucky that I don't have something much worse, or that someone I love doesn't have a terminal disease. I will live forever with my diabetes and my cancer, and although I have a 5 minute pity party on the anniversary of my original diagnosis, but I have realized that dwelling on the disease isn't going to get me anywhere. I don't actually have time to think about my diabetes or cancer. I'm a business owner, a wife, a mother, and a two disease survivor.... bigger and better things ahead for me. I know that some people have a worse form of diabetes than me but I also experience all of the symptoms you described above. I just think looking forward in a positive way is my way of fighting my illnesses. If I thought about why I have two diseases, I don't know if I would get out of bed every day... I can't think about my symptoms of low or high blood sugar and how it makes me feel. I don't even call type 1 diabetes a disease... it's a sickness to me. Like an ongoing cold that I have to keep in check. My A1C is under 6%, and while I was pregnant I maintained a 5% and my son was born at 7 lbs, 8 oz... so I know we can all take care of our type 1 diabetes, because if I can do this, anyone can. My two cents, that in no way was meant to offend anyone... PS- have you thought about an insulin pump, or are you on one? I love mine and it keeps the weight gain in check because it limits the amount of insulin that's injected under the skin at once...

  8. Kate, trust me, I in no way, shape or form, view diabetes as a debilitating disease. My reason for this blog originally was to educate my family & friends not to come across as a negative Nancy. I am far from that. In fact, my doctors have always told me that I will be the one to beat this disease because I remain positive and strong. This is not to say that I don't have issues. I also am extremely grateful I am lucky enough to only have diabetes. My best friend has a daughter who has Cystic Fibrosis. Trust me, I thank my gods every day. So, no disrespect but I did not intend for this blog to be a negative portrayal of anything. I merely intended this blog to be of an informative nature. My apologies if it came across as anything but.
    :) Kelly

    Oh, and I am a pumper. :)