Invisible and Invincible

Diabetes is, for the most part, an invisible condition. Unless you spend a bit of time with me, you may never know that I walk the never-ending tightrope of blood glucose management.

Even if you do spend a bit of time with me, you have to pay close attention to notice the seemingly little tasks that make up parts of my day. Checking my blood sugar, manipulating my pump – those are pretty much the only things that you can see from the outside. And like any seasoned veteran, I am good at being discreet when I want to be.

Even when not making a conscious effort at going unnoticed, these tasks are done quickly. A BG result in less than 10 seconds, a bolus in a matter of a few presses of well-known buttons.

Except for extreme situations, where things spiral out of control, I am able to keep it all under wraps. I have not needed help with a high or low blood sugar for many years. And unlike other conditions, where the person struggles physically with symptoms, diabetes does not manifest in external signs for a very long time – possibly not at all, ever.

But this does not mean that I do not struggle a great deal with the management. It’s just all inside. On the outside people see me as a strong, independent, successful person with few worries. But on the inside I am fighting for every second of decent blood sugars, constantly wary of diabetes invading and interrupting whatever activity I am doing, or planning on doing.

It’s like taking shifts on guard duty – except your shift never ends. There is no one to take over for you.

It all weighs on my heavily at times, and eats up more than it’s fair share of my energy. I am tired. Not in a physical sense, and almost not even in a mental sense. As ada said “Tired to my soul”.

As I look out the window. The sun is bright and happy. It looks inviting. Makes me want to be outside. But I step out of the door and am hammered by the sharp cold sting of the wind.
Looks are deceiving. Just as if you were to step into the world of diabetes. Something that many of us make look easy – but living life on a tightrope gets old quickly.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. Patient Success Manager, USA for mySugr (All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer).

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…