Sometimes it stings when I test my blood sugar. The lancet springs forward and pierces my fingertip, hitting a nerve and making my eyebrows furrow.
“Ow!” I pull my finger back and shake it around a little bit to ease the sting. The blood is pulled into the strip and I wait for the result.
No one in my family knows what that feels like. My family and friends know that this is part of the routine I follow every day – testing blood sugars, taking insulin, watching carbs, carrying juice – but they don’t know how this feels. Do they know what it’s like to prick your finger every day? Or to experience the sensation of insulin spreading beneath your skin? Do our loved ones understand the settling mental fog of a high blood sugar? Or the panicked frustration of a low? What it’s like to understand that the future of your health lies heavily in your hands sometimes? They try their best to understand and they go to great lengths to make you feel like they understand completely, but they can’t. And I don’t want them to. I don’t want my family and friends to feel what I feel sometimes. I want them to be healthy and protected from this.
But those of you with diabetes – you know.You know what a three hour high blood sugar feels like. You understand how frustrating it is to do “all the right things” and still end up at 212 mg/dl. You have been at the bottom of the well, aching for glucose, clinging desperately to a bottle of Dole orange juice as you lean against the freezer cases at the gas station. You have felt those fears about the future.
You’ve also felt the elation at eating a piece of delectable strawberry cheesecake, accurately bolusing for the carbohydrates, and clocking in at a tidy 100 mg/dl. You know what’s like to go to the gym and work out hard and with great ambition, successfully keeping your glucose steady at 130 mg/dl the whole time. Some of you have challenged your body and created beautiful children. You understand how funny it is to find a test strip in your shoe. You have posted a lab result on your fridge with an A1c you’re proud of. You understand and appreciate feeling Good, because you know you’ve worked hard that day to feel that healthy.
We are the success stories. Even as I sit here, 20 years into this and with the beginnings of diabetic retinopathy in my eye, I feel successful. I can’t think of a single thing I have been unable to do because I was diabetic. I have ridden rollercoasters. Taken gorgeous vacations. Danced with reckless abandon with my friends. Moved to new towns and started new careers. Said goodbye to loved ones. Said hello to others. Fallen in love.
All with a pump in my pocket and a meter in my purse.
Every day we face this disease. There are days when we feel like we’re on top of the world and others when we feel like we’re trying to keep it from falling on us. But for me, every day is a easier knowing that there are people out there who Understand Completely. You, my fellow d-bloggers, are my heroes. Every day, every post I read, inspires me. You understand what it’s like to really live with this disease.
I’m not sure how my life would be if I hadn’t started blogging, but I’m so thankful for the life I lead. And I’m so thankful for all of you.
Happy D-Blog Day.