NINJABETIC – Diabetes awareness
Diabetes Awareness Month is in full swing and one of the highlights for me is reading about change and how people manage that in their day-to-day lives.
Obviously a diagnosis of diabetes, whatever the type, can be life-changing for all involved, however change doesn’t end with the diagnosis.
People with diabetes manage change every minute of the day; through constantly moving blood glucose levels, adjusting medications and doses, carefully rotating injection/cannula sites, changing health care teams… the list goes on and on!
One thing that we all come to accept is that diabetes will rarely allow us a moment to sit still and relax, and that we must be aware of and prepared for change to happen at the drop of a hat.
Thinking like a pancreas isn’t always as easy as we make it look! Another consideration is that change can bring both positives and negatives, although for many of us we won’t know what effect it will have until it happens.
For that reason, I struggle to welcome change in my diabetes management and routine.
All too often change has resulted in negative outcomes, both physically and emotionally, causing me to become nervous about adjusting my regimes and moving away from the comfort of what I know and what seems to be working ok for me.
However, that word “ok” is what has caused me to make one of the biggest changes to my life with diabetes, because I’ve come to realise that being “ok” just isn’t good enough. I need to be fantastic and I shouldn’t settle for any less.
The decision that I made, after one year of intensive insulin therapy sessions, a structured education course, jumping through many hoops and weeks of insulin pump training, not to mention the conferences, meetings and training/teaching sessions, is to take off my much loved insulin pump and revert back to the regime that I was using four years previously on insulin pens.
It may not seem a big deal to many but for me, changing from one lifeline to the next was a difficult decision to make.
People who know me, who talk to me online, who read my blogs and watch my videos will know just how much my insulin pump meant to me and how I advocate so much for their use to those who need it.
But as my diabetes control began to change once again I realised that I couldn’t carry on the way I was. I couldn’t keep being ok.
After weeks of having blood glucose running in the high 20’s, doubling my insulin basal and bolus insulin requirements, using corrective doses on both my pump and pens, eating low carb foods, increasing my testing, doing almost daily cannula, insulin and set changes and even being sent a new insulin pump, I still struggled to maintain a healthy blood glucose for longer than an hour.
The physical exhaustion that came from weeks of high blood glucose levels, combined with the mental frustration from seeing that my efforts were being wasted, left me feeling weakened and defeated.
I felt I was failing and even the best tools I had to hand, the knowledge I had gained over the years and the expert support I receive was making little, to no difference.
As such, I decided to break the promise to myself that I had made from day one of using my insulin pump and I took out my cannula, turned the pump off and placed aside for a long winters nap.
I have to say, I let out a huge sigh of relief as I did, and I realised how tired I had become with my pump over the previous few weeks.
However, that’s not to say that insulin pumps aren’t fantastic tools for many people out there, I know they are!
When my pump is working for me it is the most wonderful feeling in the world. I feel carefree and confident, I feel motivated and inspired to inspire others, and most importantly I enjoy having diabetes.
It’s just that, currently, the pump isn’t working for me and I’m yet to understand why that is. I don’t feel let down by the technology, I value the way it has helped me in the past, I feel let down by whatever it is that has caused this change in my blood glucose levels.
Something is happening inside me that is beyond the control of the pump (even combined with CGM) and in turn that makes me feel that I am failing myself.
The change from pump back to pens, however, has taught me that although I felt I was taking a step backwards, I was actually taking a big step forward.
I had never liked injecting and in the past it was one of the biggest barriers that I needed to overcome when I started taking care of my diabetes.
Embrace the world
Making a decision to embrace the world of injecting again was a huge step and a change that worried me, but has proven to be a wonderful decision to make.
As a result, that carefree, confident, motivativated and inspired feeling is returning through the choice that I’ve made, and it feels like a wonderful time for it to return.
Diabetes Awareness Month will teach patients, carers and the general public many things about living with this condition, I hope this blog teaches people about one of the many challenges we face and overcome.
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”