I Am Not Invincible, I Am A Diabetic

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Time to listen to my own advice, but I feel like stomping my feet and telling myself “I don’t want to!” I had lab work done today to test my thyroid and cholesterol. While the numbers were not horrible by any stretch they were not exactly what I hoped for.

My doc called to tell me the results and to let me know that my thyroid meds would be decreased again (good thing) and due to this my thyroid levels are still in a period of adjustment. Not huge deal as I don’t (knock on wood) have any major symptoms from my over active thyroid.

I also had my cholesterol tested and it appears that all levels have increased. Not completely out of range my doc reminded me, but they have certainly gone up over the last year. She said that this is likely due to my thyroid being unbalanced as the two have a fairly common connection.

My ears heard this fact and I know all the things my wonderful, low-carb eating mom has researched, but my worry wart mind still needed to ask my doc about my diet which now consists of very little carbs, no bread or grains, and almost all protein and vegetables. I worried that if my two eggs every morning were causing problems I would be more than a little frustrated as it seems that eggs are the only thing that I can eat in the morning that don’t cause my blood sugars to shoot to the moon. If eggs are a problem then my mornings just got a whole lot more tricky.

She insisted that I should not even think about the cholesterol until my thyroid is back in range and that the levels are not in a danger zone so I need to just sit tight. I am not good at sitting tight or loose but at this time I have no choice. So I will use my diabetes given super-power to stop my brain from traveling the “what if” pathway and just put these worries in a box until someone with much more education than me tells me to pull it out again. Thank you diabetes for teaching me to compartmentalize. Not always successfully but I’ll give it a humble best effort.

We proceeded to discuss that I eat super low carb because it seems that if my blood sugars and my insulin were in a race after eating, my blood sugars would resemble Usain Bolt competing in a track meet of high school runners on Team Insulin. I have been instructed to pre-bolus my insulin 20 minutes before eating and I will admit this does seem to help but it is still not an exact science and let’s face it, sometimes life just doesn’t seem to allow for following this schedule. But I will be more diligent and do my part in giving Team Insulin the head start it so badly needs.

My doctor also mentioned that perhaps my insulin to carb ratio may need to be adjusted.

An insulin to carb ratio determines how many units of insulin I need in relation to the amount of carbs I am eating. For example, a ratio of 1:8 means that one unit of insulin will cover 8 grams of carbs. These ratios are different for each of my meals based on how my body processes carbs at different times of the day and are programed into my pump. So all I need to enter is the correct carb amount eaten and my pump does the rest.

The math seems fairly simple, but a list of circumstances and external forces too long to list makes this merely the starting point to stay in range.

It’s kinda like getting kids to school. Some mornings they are dressed and making breakfast before you even wake up, they practice piano without a complaint, all the dishes are in the dishwasher before you drive to school and you get to the doors five minutes before the first bell.

Then there are the other mornings where all the same pieces are there but it’s like someone took your morning routine and stuck it in a blender. One kid refuses to get out of bed, another hates piano more than life itself, you thank your lucky stars for hot lunch because you’re out of lunchmeat, and before you know it it’s ten minutes before you need to leave and you haven’t even showered, let alone made coffee. You get the kids to school five minutes after the first bell and you think “how did yesterday go so smoothly?”

So carb to insulin ratios are not perfect but my doc said that perhaps I need more insulin per carb. This always makes me panicky as I immediately jump to thinking “I’m getting sicker. I’m losing the fight. What else am I supposed to do??? I’m doing my best and it’s not enough!!!!!!”

It’s like you can almost see my thoughts climbing to the top of the roller coaster track until WHOOOSH, down the hill they go until I can finally pull the brake, park my brain back in the station and let all the passengers out, a little sick and dizzy but the ride is over for now.

My doc helped bring these thoughts back in as I expressed my immediate fears by telling me that I am not at any extreme levels. She shared that she has other tools in her belt, IF (not when) we ever reach the point of insulin resistance. She also told me that I still need to balance my thyroid levels which could be causing some difficulties in my sugars. Lastly, she reminded me that my job is to do whatever it takes to keep my blood sugars in range, with the focus not on the how, but rather on the end result of staying healthy and with my blood sugars low, but not too low.

I know these results do not define me and there is no GPA given based on the scores of your lab tests, but gosh it is hard not to beat the snot out of yourself for things that in many ways are out of your control. I would love to say I can just keep my chin up no matter what the day brings but that would be a lie. Life is not always easy and neither it diabetes or living with any other chronic condition.

Somedays you just want to be mad and hate everything about having this stupid disease, and I am a full believer in letting yourself have these honest feelings. I also believe that you cannot let these days define you, consume you and make you miss all the things in this life that are right here, right now to bring you joy. Be mad, be sad, be frustrated, feel hate and then be present. You cannot fix everything and you cannot control everything. Trust your medical team, lean on your family and friends, and realize you are not invincible. When you’re done being mad commit to caring for yourself in the very best way possible and commit to living in the moment so you don’t allow this disease to cloud your view of all the good you have in front of you.

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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