The 8th Annual Diabetes Blog Week is officially here! I’d like to give a shout-out to Karen Graffeo of Bitter-Sweet Diabetes for coordinating this blogging bonanza yet again. Thank you for your time and effort!
I’ll be responding to the prompts provided over the course of the week. I recommend checking out the topics and posts here to keep up with all the bloggers participating this week.
Okay, time to respond to prompt #1! Here it is:
The prompt: Diabetes can sometimes seem to play by a rulebook that makes no sense, tossing out unexpected challenges at random. What are your best tips for being prepared when the unexpected happens? Or, take this topic another way and tell us about some good things diabetes has brought into your, or your loved one’s, life that you never could have expected?
“Expect the unexpected” is one of the many taglines of the reality television show, Big Brother (of which I am, unashamedly, a fan). It’s a warning to contestants that curveballs could, and will, be lobbed at them when they least anticipate it, and it certainly translates well into the life of a person with diabetes. Over the years, I’ve experienced a number of mini emergencies—running out of test strips, forgetting my meter at home, dealing with failed insulin pods, coping with burnout—these are just a few examples of episodes that always seem to happen when it’s the least convenient timing.
How have I prepared myself for the unexpected? It’s become about anticipating all the possible scenarios: Maybe my pod will fail, so I’ll need a backup, extra wipes, and insulin. Maybe I will have more than one low blood sugar on the go today, so I’ll pack extra snacks. Maybe my PDM will run out of battery, so I’ll carry replacements in my purse. It’s a matter of being armed at all times with more supplies than it’s probably necessary to have, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. In fact, my T1D mom and I always say to each other that we’d rather have something and not need it, than not have it and need it. It’s much easier to deal with the unexpected when you do everything you can to prepare for challenges—I stress much less and don’t panic to the same degree when I have everything I might need on my person.
To address the second part of the prompt, I think that one good thing that diabetes has brought into my life is a little more control over my eating habits than I might have without it. Since I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of four years old, I grew up understanding the importance of portion control because it was detrimental to my carb counting and accurate dosing. As an adult, I can also see how this has been a positive influence on my weight management and knowing when I may be going overboard with portion sizes.
I have moments when I’m angry/frustrated/burnt-out from my diabetes, but every so often I like to remind myself that it’s not the worst thing in the world. It’s made me stronger in ways I never expected, and for that, I’m grateful.