Monday, 4 July 2016

What If

What if's fill my head on a regular basis - your decisions lead you to where you are now and if one event had not happened I might not be the same person I am today. Like the butterfly effect, all the small causes in our lives can cause large effects, directing us towards certain paths of life.

There is a reason for my questioning of fate today. What if I hadn't realised I was dreadfully ill? What if my parents hadn't made the decision to have me admitted to hospital at the precise moment they did? Quite frankly, and sadly, I would be dead.

Today, the 4th of July, ironically America's Independence Day the day I lost my own independence as a fully functioning human being. RIP my once perfectly functioning pancreas.  

Three years ago I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This year, I am feeling emotional about it. The last few years it hasn't bothered me, but something about this year, perhaps the fact I've been struggling to manage and control my blood sugars has got me upset. 

If I don't write about it I will probably spend the remainder of the day in bed feeling sorry for myself.

It is a day of bad memories, although the experience now is a little hazy in my mind. Leading up to my hospital admittance I was drinking litres of water - waking up in the middle of the night with the driest mouth you could possibly imagine and drinking excessive amounts of water making me urinate frequently and needing more water. It was a vicious and scary cycle, an exhausting one too. My body was weak, the previous week spent in bed, unable to move, unable to eat minus several pieces of toast which hurt to swallow. My body was fighting against me, eating away first at the fat on my body and then the muscle, by the time I was in hospital I had lost three stone in weight and was dangerously underweight.

What happened next was a blur, in the back of the car surrounded by pillows on the way to the hospital, not entirely sure what was happening or what was going to happen to me. All I can remember is waiting surrounded by the hospital's piercing bright lights, needles, medical machines beeping around me and the worry on my mum's face.

To be diagnosed with an illness I had never heard of before, or never paid any attention to because it's one of those things you never expect to happen to you is difficult. It is harder than difficult to deal with everyday life with type one diabetes. It is painful, confusing, unpredictable and gruelling. 

It is every negative word in the English language.

There is no way to sugar coat (accidental diabetic pun) this illness, I wanted to initially weigh out the pros and cons - unfortunately, there's more cons than pros. In attempt to be positive, I am alive. I was seconds away from dying but I am alive. I eat healthier, most of the time but let's excuse today because my sister made me a vegan chocolate and raspberry cake to celebrate and dear lord, it is delicious.  I fully intend to eat the entire cake to myself (and go to the gym tomorrow) and hope diabetes will forgive me. 

Diabetes is injections whenever I eat. It involves pricking my finger and testing my blood before I eat, anxiously waiting for a good number, then counting the carbohydrate content of my meal before adjusting my insulin ratio to carbohydrate ratio. Then it's considering all the factors that can affect my blood sugar.
  • Will I be exercising anytime soon? What kind of exercise?
  • Am I stressed or upset?
  • Am I unwell?
  • Am I on my period?
  • Is the weather hot or cold?
  • Am I eating more or less carbohydrates than normal?
  • Will I be drinking alcohol?
  • Have I slept well?
Not only is there that, hot baths make my sugars drop and likewise to Sylvia Plath there isn't much a bath cannot cure. Brushing my teeth lowers my sugars - I don't know how or why but it does. There's the persistent voice in the back of my head making me feel bad for a high sugar or an uncontrollable day. Waking up every day feeling like you don't want to do this for the rest of your life but still getting out of bed and giving yourself insulin because it is literally do or die. 

There's being scared of sleeping in case I don't wake up in the morning because my sugars have dropped severely. Waking up at 3am high, thirsty and able to feel the pain in your kidneys. Waking up again 3am the next night low, trying to find your way, stumbling with blurry vision looking for a pack of biscuits to scoff or just something with goddamn sugar in. The low blood sugar aftermath requiring me to have an nap and feeling hungover when I wake up again. Not getting up in the morning because of my night of highs. Making sure I have my blood sugar monitor with me 24/7 and making sure I have enough medication, equipment and supplies. Being in charge of putting in my prescription requests on time.  There's needles, blood and tears. Bruises from injection sites. Feeling like a burden when I go out because I need to be sure I can access food and drink. Having food in my bag all the time. Leaving your classroom midway through a lesson because you're sugars have dropped and you're acting weird and drunk at 11 in the morning and you're embarrassed. Injecting in a public place and feeling all eyes on you. Being irritable and angry when I am high. Resembling a zombie when I'm low.  


This is a full time job, without the pleasures of monthly pay, yet it is manageable most of the time and something I'm still learning to accept I have 3 years on.