I have been uninspired to blog for a little while now. The Diabetes Hands Foundation asked me to help them on a project recently, which inspired me to write this blog. Thanks DHF. I needed a good kick in the ass. I’d like to point out right away that I’m not writing this today because anyone has accused me of not being sick. It’s because I realize, that to others I don’t look sick, yet inside, mentally and physically, I am. I think that for the first time in MANY years, I am experiencing a form of diabetes burnout (I can’t believe I’m admitting that here), and it’s affecting my mental state too. So I’m going to write this blog in the hopes that it motivates me and makes me understand myself, so that I can turn things around the way I always used to.
When you meet me, I look like any other average 45 year old. What you can’t see is the scar on my chest from emergency open heart surgery, that was caused by my diabetes. You can’t see the 3 weeks of recovery it took to be able to walk again. You can’t see the 3 months of cardiac rehab. You can’t see YEARS of re-education it took to try to prevent that from ever happening again. You can’t see the sweat from all the workouts to get myself healthy. Most importantly, you can’t see the emotions I feel every time I look in the mirror at my broken body.
When you meet me, what you can’t see is the tingling and pain I feel in my feet and toes. The neuropathy caused by over 40 years of high blood sugars. You weren’t there the first time I got out of bed, and fell down because I couldn’t feel my feet. You can’t see the self doubt I feel, and the depression it causes, because if I had been more diligent, I may not have this complication of diabetes yet. You can’t see the fear that fills my mind every day that I will someday be “disabled”, and unable to walk.
When you meet me, you can’t see the burning I feel in my body when my blood sugar is high, or the inability to think that I get when my blood sugar is low. You can’t see the seizures I’ve had as a child from hypoglycemia, or see the memories I have of seizures that should have killed me as an adult. You can’t feel the burning of lactic acid that I have RIGHT NOW in my muscles because of the acidosis caused by high blood sugar. (Don’t worry, I’ve got it under control . . . now.)
When you meet me, you can’t see that when I look at food, I don’t see food, I see math. The math of ((carbs – fiber / carb ratio) * fat grams = units of bolus insulin + (superbolus of basal insulin * number of hours basal is disabled)) When you look at pizza or cheesecake, you see pleasure. What I see is guilt, because it’s nearly impossible for me to get that diabetic algebra calculation correct so that in 3 hours my blood isn’t 400 or 40, and 400 I can live with for a little while, where 40 will make me unconcious, but I know that 400 leads to more numbness in my feet, or future blindness, or possible kidney failure a few years down the road.
When you meet me, you can’t see the underlying depression I experience. Knowing that my death will be a long slow death of multiple complications. Knowing that eventually, I won’t be able to feel my feet at all. Knowing that the only way to postpone this fate, is to get back on the wagon and become diligent again, but being completely uninspired to.
Yeah, I don’t look sick, but . . . . . live a lifetime in my shoes, and you’ll understand.