Monday, June 1, 2015

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

I recently saw a post on a diabetes Facebook group that made me sad.

A woman posted that her husband's family just didn't understand how horrid having a low blood sugar is and how it affects him.  She said that his family believes his Type 1 can be cured with vitamins and they won't listen to him or her as they try to explain how diabetes actually works.  She asked for suggestions for ways to get them to listen and to be more supportive.

I thought about this post for a while and realized how lucky blessed I truly am.

These tasted like crap. Literally.
I was diagnosed at the age of 7 and honestly don't remember NOT being diabetic.  My life has always included the hustle and bustle of blood sugars, insulin reactions (as we used to call hypos), glucose tablets (who remembers the square, hard as a rock, and gross tasting BD version?), insulin bottles, syringes, insulin pens, a pump, and most recently a CGM.

Growing up, my friends were always there for me.  They'd remind me to take my shots if we were in the midst of a crazy party.  They'd watch for lows and help me if I wasn't able to help myself (even calling an ambulance once when I was in college).  They never judged me.  They never acted as the 'diabetes police' by asking "Should you be eating that?"  The friends I've made as an adult are exactly the same.  How would I handle life if they didn't have my back?

Way back when, we were told we couldn't have any sugar.  None at all.  My childhood friends' parents were always aware of how to cook for me.  No judgement was passed when I DID grab some cake or ice cream.  There was always Tab or sugar free Kool-aid for me to drink.  They made sure there was plenty to eat for breakfast and snacks if I was at a sleepover.  They made sure everyone waited for me when I needed an extra minute or two to take a shot when everyone else wanted to eat or go to bed.

This sucked but it was all we had for a while.
Then this came along! Not much better really.
My family loved me and always, always helped and supported me in any way possible.  For heavens sake, they had to give me shots until I learned to do it myself!  They never judged or berated me for 'cheating' when I snuck candy bars in my pocket before school.  My Dad, when I was 7 and crying about having to take shots, always tried to cheer me up by suggesting that he could give me one in my tongue.  That always made me laugh!

My co-workers understand that I may flip my lid if my blood sugar is low or high.  They let me blow off that steam without getting mad at me.  They also know that I may need help if I'm low and have said if they aren't sure what to do, they'll call 911 and let the experts take care of me.

And most important of all is my wonderful and amazing husband, Angry.  When we started dating, I told him I was diabetic.  He didn't know squat about diabetes but he learned quickly.  I had several very bad hypos while we were dating and he never let it phase him (even when he was covered in honey and Pepsi while wrestling with me to force feed me).  When we got engaged, I asked him if he could "handle" that for the rest of his life.  He said he loved me and that meant he loved my diabetes too.  He's literally saved my life several times and can smell a hypo from miles away.  We've had ups and downs because of diabetes but he's never given up on me, or been mad at me, or judged me.  He's always supported any decision I've made and tried to whisk away my frustration when I've made mistakes.  When I was ready to get my CGM I was pretty scared.  He told me to think of it as a new, even better chapter in my life.  I couldn't ask for more.  His love gives me a lifeline that I couldn't live without.

My heart goes out to those that don't have the kind of support I have (and have had all my life).  I hope that those who don't can find some in the DOC.  There are lots of us out here in the cyber-world who are ready and willing to encourage, reassure, or give comfort.  Sometimes we just need to hear "I understand." or "I've done that too!" or "Keep up the good work." or even "It's OK, things will get better."