This is a thought that has been running though my mind a lot the past week.
On Saturday night I ended up in the ER at Sandringham Hospital with a crazy HI blood sugar and extreme nausea, thanks to, we found out, my Roaccutane (acne medication). Apparently the fact that I am now diabetic caused a whole lotta side effects.
I had a bit of a sneaky cry when they told me. Granted, it was 4am on Sunday morning, I had a huge IV in my arm and I had been awake for nearly 24 hours, but I was shattered. Roaccutane was the final hope for getting rid of my horrible acne and diabetes had mucked that up as well.
However, one thought made me suck it the f*** up and wake up the next morning exhausted but relatively positive. It could be a lot worse.
Usually I hate it when people say that to me. I want to kick them in the face, I know they mean well but it also could be a hell of a lot better! Funnily it’s never the people who also have chronic illnesses or a serious medical condition who say that, it’s always the healthy people. Yet someone said it to me today when we were talking about it (it came up in conversation) , and I didn’t have that reaction. Due to my crazy diabetes weekend. I actually found myself agreeing with her.
I’m not denying that we’re not allowed to throw ourselves a pity party once in a while. That’s what my tumblr is for – to rant and rave about how shit this disease can be and be heard by other diabetics all over the world (and then delete the post when I’m over it). A bit of self pity is good for us, in small doses!
This girl made me think about my natural response to “It could be worse” and my whole way of thinking about it has been turned onto its head. I really do think that ‘it could be worse” is the key to staying positive. Not so much in the way that people say it to me – “Oh my god shut up you could have cancer!!” – but just keeping perspective on what diabetes is. Yes, it is a shit disease that is a 24/7 job. I’m not going to deny that it sucks. It does. I’ve had people say to me that they’d rather kill themselves than have diabetes (I know, I know, I was speechless too). You can’t pop a couple of pills and be done with it, you get way too used to injecting and pricking yourself, and you will never look at food in the same way again. It is so much bloody work for only a little bit of your body going wrong.
However I think that maintaining a healthy dose of reality is good for us. We can do whatever we want with diabetes – the only thing that holds us back is our lack of organisation (well, in my case anyway), or institutions not allowing us to do certain jobs (that’s another rant for another day). I’ve backpacked through more than 20 countries, am a high achieving student, work three jobs and spend time volunteering. Diabetes has affected all of these things, but it is the kind of disease that we can USUALLY keep on top of. I ran into trouble overseas because I was too unorganised to bring hypo supplies. I hypoed at work because I forgot to set a temp basal on my pump. Some things we can’t do at the moment, but we’re working on that (driving with a ‘poor control’ hba1c for example – 3 monthly average BGL does not show the level of control accurately, VicRoads are idiots).
Diabetes is unpredictable, that is true, and the hardest thing for me so far has been accepting that my body is not as invincible as I thought it was. I would say that 20% of the time diabetes is a bitch and I can’t control it, and have to run with whatever it has chosen to dish out. The rest of the time however, I can, and that is a lot more than many other people living with a chronic illness can claim. There’s no use dwelling on how much I don’t have, if I could be focusing on the things I do.