Climbing A Mountain In Flip Flops: Living with a chronic condition doesn’t have to be mastered in one day

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Going to school I was the kid that would hit the immediate panic button when presented with a large project, especially one that involved working in groups. The thought of all the tasks and coordination that would be required to complete the project was like climbing a mountain when you are only wearing flip flops. Impossible.

I would love to say that the grown up version of myself has found a way to combat this panic by looking back on past experiences that seemed overwhelming and suffocating but turned out to be completely and 100% doable, but it seems logic is no match for my natural reflexes.

The first day of stating a large market research study for work is still like looking up at that mountain and immediately feeling the doubt and fear that I will never get it done. I, of course, do not allow myself to look at said mountain for too long, but taking that first step is absolutely the hardest.

This immediate gut sense of panic is present in so many places and diabetes or any health issue is no different. If I woke up every morning and thought of the number of times I that day I need to poke my finger, or the number of times my blood sugars would go high or low, or the list of foods that I now avoid and can’t eat you would most certainly find me still laying in bed tucked deep beneath the covers.

There are certainly days when this disease overwhelms, defeats and deflates me. Days when I just flat out say to my husband “It’s going to kill me because I’m not doing a good enough job.” (This is a personal favorite over dramatic complaint that I serve to my dear husband on a silver platter typically while he is very involved with some other task. He loves to get hit with unexpected deep therapy issues while making his lunch for the next day.)

These super deflating days pass. They always do. The guilt, fear, panic, exhaustion, and confusion of living with a chronic condition is not permanent.

With time you begin to focus on the moment and taking baby steps to get through this very big, life-long project. It is not about getting everything right and never making a mistake, it is about doing the best that you can right now.

There is no “absolute right” way to “do” diabetes. Yes, there are medical guidelines but every diabetic is different and every body responds differently. Sometimes the goal is not about doing diabetes “right” but rather knowing what you need in life to combine this disease with the things that are most important.

Living and being present in the moment is hard but it is important. We can’t allow ourselves to be constantly lost in a sea of worrying about the giant picture and the end of this giant project. Instead we need to take each moment we are given and identify what our disease needs in that moment as well as what our family, job, friends, pets, and most importantly our inner self needs most in that moment.

This disease is not a mountain we need to climb. It is a random stroll through unique landscapes, obstacles, and successes and we don’t have a map, but we do have people to support us and we have more strength than we sometimes give ourselves credit for.

Diabetic Mama of Twins fueled by my family, working out, eating, dog walking, getting lost in the woods and insulin. Writing to share the journey this Type 1 diagnosis has taken me on since 2007.

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