This has nothing to do with research, but I need a moment to express how not excited I am about my Friday. I have a checkup with my endocrinologist, an appointment that I dread since, for reasons that are not entirely clear to me, I always leave his office in tears. Since I live about an hour and a half on public transportation from his office and he’s often running late, these checkups usually end up being a half-day affair. We talk about diabetes, he listens to my heart, he says vaguely reassuring things, and then I leave his office and cry. It’s awesome. Making it even more awkward is that the diabetes center is directly across the hall from Oncology, which means that I leave the office feeling not only upset, but guilty about crying: at least I don’t have cancer.
Anyway, this appointment is going to be even worse than normal because in addition to meeting with my actual doctor, I’m scheduled for a session with a nutritionist and a pump educator. I’m annoyed by this first because they’re spaced out by an hour apiece, guaranteeing at least a three hour stint in the hospital, but also because I don’t really know why I’m seeing any of these people. When I go to the nutritionist, this is what I tell her: I eat the same goddamn thing for breakfast every day (2 percent Fage yogurt with splenda and strawberries). I have a weakness for dark chocolate. I exercise compulsively. And I eat a shitload of eggs. And cheese. Then she pulls out those stupid plastic foods that all nutritionists seem to have on hand to show you the size of a three-ounce steak, and I have an urge to throw a rubber chicken thigh at her face.
That all would be okay, except there always comes a moment where the situation switches in my head and I’m no longer in a doctor’s office; I’m in a confessional. I am diabetic, and by having one and a half rolls with dinner last night (resulting in high blood sugar till 1 am), I have sinned. I think that’s why I start getting emotional — I try so hard, every day, every meal, to not do things to fuck up my blood sugar. But I’m not perfect. And, even worse, I don’t think I ever could be.
It’s the worst part of diabetes, the constant pressure to be perfect — and the feeling that you’ve failed if you succumb to the butternut squash soup. I had a teacher who once commented that the problem with being a perfectionist is that your only option is to be let down. It’s true. But the problem with diabetes, as I see it, is that you have to be a perfectionist. If you aren’t perfect, the only person you hurt is yourself. And I don’t want to go blind. But I also have to eat.