OneTouch Ping  (Photo credit: brianjmatis)
Browsing through my blog post files, I stumbled across a post that I wrote after my insulin pump arrived in the mail. Around that time, I started having internet troubles in my dorm room and I never actually published the post. It’s outdated now, but I wanted to share it anyway.
Something happened today that I didn’t anticipate. I started wearing my insulin pump. It came in the mail, all shiny and blue, on Tuesday. I’ve been looking forward to going on the pump since I’ve been diagnosed. I clipped it on this morning so I could adjust to the feel of it before officially starting on it on Tuesday. I didn’t expect that I would feel the way I do.
I feel odd wearing the pump, maybe even slightly resentful, because my diabetes now has a visible symptom. I’m clipped to something that reminds me of it all the time. Soon it will be attached to me with all those yards of tubing.
I want the pump. Don’t get me wrong. I want the fine-tuned basal rates, the precision blousing, the flexibility. I want the built-in bolus calculators that are capable of adjusting for tiny variables that would cause my head to explode. I want tight blood sugar management.
But right now, I want all of that without the shiny blue reminder of my diabetes clipped to my waist band.
I know I will adjust. It will become a part of me and I’ll no more resent it than I resent my toenails. But I didn’t expect it would be an emotional adjustment.
TARDIS Mk VII (Photo credit: >Rooners)
I did adjust. I adjusted very quickly, in fact; when I dosed for my first meal while wearing the pump, I knew this insulin pump and I were destined to travel together for a long time. Her name is the TARDIS and she carries me through all of time and space. And delivers the insulin that keeps me alive.
If you have an insulin pump, did you feel hesitant about pumping at first? How long did it take for you to adjust to having a visible symptom of your diabetes?
I’ve always been a perfectionist. In first grade, I cried when I missed my first point on a spelling test because I forgot that pesky extra l in baseball. One of my friends tried to assure me that my grade was a good one, but I wasn’t convinced.
When I was diagnosed with diabetes, my Uncle J, who has type 1 diabetes himself, warned me that dealing with this disease can be especially frustrating for perfectionists. You do the best you can to manage your blood sugar levels, but the numbers on the meter will never be perfect. I knew he was giving me sound advice, but it’s one thing to agree with advice and another thing entirely to live it.
It’s not like I feel like a failure when I check my sugar and it’s higher or lower than I would like it. I feel the same sense of warped frustration I experience when I hope for an A on a project and I get a B. I know the B is a good grade; I know I should be happy with my grade. I just want an A.
I’ve also began discovering odd, unacknowledged goals I’ve set for myself. My blood sugar should never ever go higher than it was the day I was diagnosed. My fasting blood sugar should be under 120. My meter average is “supposed” to be 100.
Most often, however, my perfectionism takes subtler forms. I know I can’t manage my diabetes perfectly, so I want to be perfectly imperfect. My blood sugar numbers won’t always be in range, so I want to react to those numbers perfectly. But my emotions aren’t going to be perfect either.
Acknowledging my perfectionism won’t make it go away. Writing a blog post about it won’t make it go away. But there’s something I want to tell myself anyway.
You have nothing to prove.
You don’t need to be a superhero. Some days your numbers won’t be what you want them to be. Some days you’ll feel completely out of control even though the numbers look fine. Some days you’ll feel completely out of control and the numbers won’t look fine. Some days you’ll make mistakes. Some days you’ll be sad for no good reason. It doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. You don’t need to be perfect. Just consistent, humble, and willing to learn.
To say I tend to worry is an understatement. And right now, I’m worried.
I called my mail-order pharmacy today only to learn that my insulin and test strip prescriptions were mailed to my parents, who live three hours away. They don’t have the packages yet and their local post office has a reputation for eating packages. My worry is completely justifiable and completely unhelpful.
After doing my fair share of ranting about the situation, the following verses came to mind:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matt. 6:25-34)
I guess God knows I need my insulin better than I do.
Diabetic foot ulcers and neuropathy are common complications associated with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, so a quick google image search for “diabetes” will turn up some nasty looking feet. But some diabetic feet look like this:
Clean, healthy, and free of complications. I plan to keep them that way.
Pixy stix are a great way to treat low blood sugar. Just know that they absorb smells easily, so it’s not a good idea to carry them in your purse along with scented lotion. Unless you like Japanese Cherry Blossom flavored pixy stix.
Rickety Stairs (Photo credit: KBDphotography)
Last night, I had a series of stress dreams. One involved attending a wedding and being mortified by an incredibly rude dream family. In another, I’m climbing stairs to some high up floor of an apartment building, only to have the stairs change into a rickety fire escape that’s about to collapse.
And in one, I’m trying to change out my pump’s insulin cartridge and infusion set site. In the dream, I had to go very slowly because I didn’t quite remember how to do everything. And the steps to follow got more and more complicated. The tubing got longer and thicker and tangled everywhere. I sprayed insulin all over myself. The abandoned room I was sitting in was covered in sawdust and paint chips and dirt and my infusion set got clogged. The part where I looked down at my legs and noticed that all my skin had peeled off and that my feet were covered in boils was disconcerting too.
It’s just the kind of dream I would expect to have after going to the pharmacy the evening before with my last bit of insulin already in my pump, only to have the pharmacist tell me that the insurance company wasn’t paying for more until September. Just as I was about to panic, the pharmacist told me that the 3 month prescription I had my doctor fax to a mail order pharmacy had indeed gone through and that the package would arrive any day. And the insurance company had mercy and let me buy another vial just in case the package took longer than expected.
Sawdust-clogged infusion sets and boils? I can handle that. The prospect of no insulin for three months? Nope, can’t handle that.