6th Annual D-Blog Day

Happy D-Blog Day!  For the past six years our friend Gina has coordinated this event, and I always appreciate it.  I’m hoping that this year we have even more people joining in than ever.

This year we are talking about six things we wish people knew about diabetes.  Where do I start?

Diabetes is hard
Living with diabetes is difficult.  Just because we all make it look so easy most of the time, it is very hard.  George came up with a great analogy.

Imagine having to pump your own heart because it didn’t do it by itself. And when you want to sleep you have to pump it slower. For exercise you would have to speed it up. You would have to know the rate of pumping for every activity. Do you think you could do it? Do you think that would be easy? 

It takes a lot of energy to live with diabetes
If you take the heart analogy above literally, you’d need to keep one hand on your heart to pump it, and a bit of your brain focused on telling your hand what to do.  You would have to figure out how to get by with only one hand, and you’d never be able to use that bit of your brain for anything other than pumping your heart.  Life with diabetes takes a lot of energy, and I often wonder what I could be doing with those resources if I didn’t have diabetes.

Diabetes is not just physical
Emotional health is the most important part of life with diabetes, yet it is often overlooked or completely ignored by today’s medical professionals.

Food is complicated
Food is not ‘just food’ with diabetes.  It is fuel for our bodies, treatment for our lows, a weapon for emotional struggles, complicated math and unanswerable questions.

Exercise is scary
Exercise adds so many variables into our diabetes management.  It is scary to willingly submit to the chaos that exercising sometimes brings to our blood sugars.  We are told that the benefits outweigh the complications.  Sometimes I see that, other times I get lost in the difficulty exercise brings to my blood sugars.

Not much has changed
I am very thankful for all of the tools we have today, but the basic treatment of diabetes has not changed in almost 90 years.  We squirt some stuff under our skin, cut our fingers on purpose to get blood and see if we squirted the right amount or not.  It is all very crude if you step back and think about it.  We have better tools to squirt the stuff, but we’re still just squirting stuff.   Insulin is not a cure.

Insulin is not a cure
Insulin is a treatment that has many unkind side effects.  If I calculate the wrong amount of insulin I am either subjecting myself to risk of death quickly (low blood sugar) or slowly (long term high blood sugars).  It is a mess.  We deserve a cure, not a treatment.

We are amazingly strong
The strength to keep getting back up and facing every day with diabetes is unimaginable.  We are shining examples of resilience, whether we believe in ourselves or not.

That’s more than six, but I couldn’t stop once I got going.

Bank on your strength, count on your resilience.  Keep trying, keep trying, keep trying.  Focus on progress, not perfection, and know that there is a lot of love out there for you.  Diabetes sucks.  You do not.

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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…