There’s not too much that’s certain when you’re trudging through life with the big D. Will the battery in your insulin pump last through this job interview? Will 15 grams of carbohydrates really be enough to deliver you from hypoglycemia hell? Does it count as a fasting lab if you had seven sips of Diet Coke right before the blood draw?
It’s comforting, then, to know that there are a few things that are always certain when you’re dealing with diabetes.
1. Cake and ice cream ain’t got nothing on pizza.
People who don’t know much about diabetes (and who like to get all up in other people’s business) might express their concern about the effects of sugary foods on your health. Little do they know that pizza has always been the real enemy. There’s something about that magical combination of grease, protein, carb-y crust, lactose and tomato sauce that can destroy your blood sugar for hours. Popsicles and jelly beans just take a few extra units of insulin; two slices of deep dish demand complete mastery of all insulin pump features and a PhD in physics.
2. Paperwork, y’all.
If it’s not difficult enough to take over for one of your digestive organs, let me introduce you to the wonderful world of health insurance (or lack thereof). Life with diabetes means tracking blood sugars, health expenses, doctor appointments, receipts, prescriptions, those little instruction sheets that come with the prescriptions – it never ends. You’re always trying to prove to the powers that be that you still have diabetes and need a prescription for insulin, or that you shouldn’t have to pay ten million dollars for a life-saving piece of technology. The struggle is real.
3. Oral hygiene = low blood sugar.
You know what goes terribly with toothpaste? Orange juice. Or granola bars, especially when they get stuck in your teeth and all you want is to go to bed. While there’s currently no concrete evidence that the act of brushing one’s teeth contributes to hypoglycemia, anecdotal evidence tells me it’s for real. Do your blood sugar checking – and your orange juice gulping – before your pick up that toothbrush.
4. The grocery store is the best (and worst) place to crash.
On one hand, you’re surrounded by food. On the other hand – oh no – you’re surrounded by food. Hey, you haven’t eaten a Star Crunch in 17 years, but why not fill up the cart? Mashed potatoes and spaghetti sure sounds good for dinner. With pancakes and strawberry Crush for dessert. What?
5. It’s not really about the needles.
Of course, all the pokes and stabs and sharp objects that come with diabetes aren’t fun to deal with, but you get used to them. And while most people without diabetes might see the shots and finger sticks as the worst part of living with this disease, it’s everything else that makes diabetes such a struggle: the highs and lows (see #4), the doctors appointments and medical expenses (see #2), the twisted, nonsensical mathematics that go into enjoying a simple meal (#1). Compared to all that stuff, the needles don’t hurt a bit.