I’d like for everything I post to be uplifting and inspiring … to fill other diabetics and parents of diabetic children with some semblance of hope. To come across these vignettes and find solace therein.
But sometimes I am scared.
I can’t think of any other way to say it – I’m nervous tonight.
It will have been nineteen years for me as a diabetic this coming September. I don’t remember a life without it. Every memory in my life is marked with these streaks of hypoglycemia and the quick sting of a needle. I do my best to be a “good diabetic” and keep my head about myself, but I know I haven’t been perfect. I haven’t even tried, sometimes. And I can’t help but wonder when it will start to show.
I’ve had A1c’s in the 11’s, for months. I’ve had bloodsugar readings of 23 mg/dl. Or 535 mg/dl. I’ve had emotional lows and highs along the same range. I’ve experienced large ketones as recently as last month. I’ve drank the better part of a bottle of juice in the middle of the night as my bloodsugar violently crashed, only to collapse on the kitchen floor from the effort. I can’t keep a bloodsugar journal to save my life. I’ve gone to work out when I should have stayed home and rested. I’ve stayed home when my body craved the exercise. I’ve avoided testing my bloodsugar for fear of the result. I’ve not answered the phone because I felt I deserved to be alone. I’ve felt lost. And afraid. And alone.
“Would it not be better to mark the interval together, looking at what is really here, seeing others, telling the truth about our bodies, neither so perfect as we might hope nor so horrible as we dread?” – Lisa Roney, Sweet Invisible Body
I can admit to my mistakes. I can’t pretend to have been the perfect diabetic girl. And I am grateful for having this forum to confess.
But I haven’t been all wrong. I’ve also brought my A1c down to 6.5%. I have tested upwards of fifteen times a day for the last two years. I have taken on an aggressive workout regimen. I have constructed a careful insulin to carbohydrate ratio that works 90% of the time. I have fallen in love again without giving thought to diabetes. I have explained this disease with confidence and strength to complete strangers. I have let people tell me, “I would have never known if you hadn’t told me.” I have, perhaps, given hope to some. And reassurance to others that, even though we try to be “perfect,” there is comfort and support found in sharing the same mistakes.
Sharing, in effort to avoid repeating.
Tomorrow afternoon I have my biannual eye exam. The doctor will give me a standard eye exam and then she will dilate my eyes to look for hemorrhages and detachments. Every year, for the better part of the 45 minute exam, I hold my breath. My eyes stare luminously at the circle on the wall as she shines the light in my eye, searching for my failure. Every year I wait for her sharp intake of breath.
“Kerri, I’ve detected some problems in your eyes…”
I haven’t heard anything from any doctor saying that the complications have manifested from words on a page to a breakdown in my body. I haven’t felt responsible for any of this yet.
Eye exam tomorrow. And my appointment at Joslin in two weeks.
I sit with a pearl of fear in my mouth.
But it may just be small enough to swallow.