diabetes awareness month – week 1: privacy invasion

pump it up, ride the highs, the secret life of, Uncategorized, well rounded wellness

sugarsSo for this post, I attempted to take some selfies of what my back looks like at the moment. But my selfie game is abysmal, so…maybe later…after I drink up some liquid courage at happy hour.

Anyway, this post is going to be dark and interactive because misery loves company. Buckle up, my friends, because we’re taking the express train down to Wompwomptown. Throw on the new Banks single, an Adele song, or something equally bummerific, and pretend that every man they’re singing about is actually the surface area of your body that you’re tearily waving goodbye to.

Okay, JK. That’s way too intense. I’m not trying to make anyone feel sad, or a deep longing for anyone or anything they can’t have anymore. But dramatics aside, that’s genuinely how it feels sometimes.

Being a diabetic can is a lot like being a pin cushion. Or a voodoo doll. Whichever you’re more in to. On the day I was diagnosed, a doctor looked me straight in the face and said, “you’re going to have to prick your finger with this lancet now, and when you’re done, stick this needle in your thigh. Oh, and also…you’re going to have to do this many times a day, every day, for the rest of your life.”

I distinctly remember sitting there on the hospital bed staring at her like she just told me the the earth was actually a cube shaped planet and that all dogs are secretly Russian spies.

What the actual fuck was I going to do? At the time, I had no idea. And to be honest, I’m still not sure I do. But as the surprisingly obedient 17-year-old girl who was missing her boyfriend’s playoff lacrosse game, I was in no position to talk back, walk out, or rebel against these instructions. The faster I completed their dubious requests, the faster I could GTFO of the hospital where people were actually very, very sick and needed far more help than I did.  I even remember rationalizing with myself that maybe I’d get extra attention at school or something because people would feel bad for me…classic Libby move.

Now here I am 10 years later with an insulin pump clipped to my bra that hardly anyone knows I have, and a CGM digging into the back of my desk chair that definitely no one knows I have. Welp, surprise! Here I am! A bionic woman, reporting for duty.

On that fateful day that feels like so long ago, I essentially forfeited my body and my body’s privacy to the sticky infusion sets, needles, tubing, and lancets that would dictate my schedule (and hefty medical bills) for the unforeseeable future.

I would be lying if I said I have a great attitude about it now that I’m all grown up as the exquisitely responsible adult that I am today, but that would be the biggest lie anyone (even Donald Trump) has ever told you.

Actually, just this Tuesday I rolled into work a little late with red, post-cry eyes because the morning after I replaced my first CGM I found myself in a very dark place. I think I even went so far as to moan I was playing God with all of these things stuck on me. Which, first of all…God? Since when did I talk about him? And second of all, the only person allowed to have meltdowns of that capacity while still being “cute” is Britney Spears.

My meltdown was textbook. I was upset because I let it get to me that I’m kept alive by technology and medicine. By these little foreign objects that buzz and click and pinch and prick and give me numbers that, frankly, I don’t even know what they mean. I just know which ones are good, and which ones mean I need to go eat some sour patch kids. I can’t just BE without the help of something synthetic. The stubborn, control-freak in me was exhausted by the thought of just one more day of keeping up with the routine diabetes has forced me to have. I want to be free. I want to wear a god damned bikini. I want to go pee in the middle of the night without almost dropping a $4,000 device in the toilet because I forgot it was clipped to my PJs. I don’t want little kids to only know their bodies covered with infusion sites. I want them to know how amazing it feels to climb a tree without the fear that their tubing will snag a branch. Or the joy of being spontaneously pushed into a pool without the threat of destroying thousands of dollars worth of technology.

But. At the end of the day, as much as I sound like I despise my pump, and my test kit, and my CGM and all of the stress and responsibility that comes with managing diabetes, I am so incredibly grateful that this is what I have to deal with. It is doable. And as my mom frequently says, “It can always be worse”. And though what we all go through as type 1’s can be stupidly frustrating and tiring, it’s still not the worst. I am still able-bodied and able-minded. I still have an amazing job with people that make me smarter. I still have incredible friends and family that make me laugh everyday, I still have the world’s most patient boyfriend who motivates me to keep going, I still have my independence, and my ambition for a bangin’ future. It’s hard. But it’s not all bad. And even on the worst days, I need to remind myself that I am incredibly lucky.

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One thought on “diabetes awareness month – week 1: privacy invasion

  1. yes! thank you! i soo feel you. i’m 3 weeks into using a pump and i could not feel less attractive. even when i unclip the tubing, i still look down at my belly and see a weird looking infusion set thing and my dexcom…i look like a robot. i buzz and beep all day. i’ve worn the same few shirts over and over since i started using the pump because they’re the only ones that can conceal this damn thing. i want to wear a thin t-shirt with a sports bra and not have a brick sticking out of the middle of my chest! i want to wear yoga pants and not worry about them getting yanked down by my clunky pump. i want to go grab a coffee quickly without running down a checklist first and bringing a gigantic bag full of supplies. i thought getting on a pump would be the answer to all my diabetes problems, but it’s not. this shit’s still hard and i’m still seeing numbers that are crazy high and crazy low. sometimes i look at the tubing and it reminds me of an IV. it’s hard to feel like a young, healthy person.
    …and then i feel like a gigantic jerk because i’m so lucky to have access to all of this technology. if i have to have this stupid disease, i’m super lucky to have it now – when these machines can keep me alive and safe. and i’m so lucky to not be a teenager with diabetes – like it’s not hard enough to be a teenage girl…my heart breaks when i think of how impossible it must seem to be 14 and have to look at yourself with all these weird robot parts. i have an awesome husband who sees me and not all my gadgets and tubes and tape and scars. and i’m so lucky i have a job with good insurance and an income big enough to pay for these things. i’m a teacher and i have a student this year with type 1 diabetes. his family doesn’t have a lot of money, and i know it would be a dream for him to have access to these things. so who am i to whine and complain?
    did i just repeat everything you said? i’m sorry. but thank you for writing this! you know, i spend most of my day pretending to be totally cool with diabetes and brushing it off like it ain’t no thang…it feels so good to know there’s someone else feeling the same way (even though i wish you weren’t feeling it too). keeping writing please! i can’t wait to read more!

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