I don’t often stop and think about what it takes to stay alive, mostly because it’s a dark path to travel. Whether I like it or not, no matter how hard I try to isolate it, diabetes is on my mind constantly. It has to if I want to simply be.
I could play the Kevin Bacon game with my life’s decisions and almost all of them, one way or another, can trace their origins or impact on diabetes.
Which makes the simple process of spending three minutes swapping out a cartridge in my insulin pump a much more complex process. Because those three minutes grant me another 3-4 days of life. Those three minutes are an investment in my future.
But I can’t plan too far ahead, because I know I’ll need another 3 minutes this weekend to re-up on my lease on life.
See how this can get dark in a hurry? And I’m just speaking in loosely cobbled together metaphors.
At first, I didn’t want to use that title, because escape feels oppressive, like something is holding me back. Escaping my Dexcom data for a weekend seems inappropriate when the reality of the situation is much different for other people struggling to pay for insulin. Saying I’m escaping from this device, its protections, its information, its everything seems inappropriately arrogant.
But that’s where I found myself this weekend, taking a break from the constant stream of data and decisions that are required to live my life with diabetes.
Choices like this are carefully thought out. Whenever I make the decision to take a step back from any normal portion of my diabetes management, I tend to do so in the safety of my own home – often over a weekend. I’m not a doctor, but I figure it’s best to be in a familiar environment in case things go bad, or I decide to get back on the horse and resume my regular diabetes management methods.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m better off remembering what life was like before my diagnosis. I don’t have many specific memories that are tied to food or a carefree lifestyle that didn’t exist before regular insulin injections and blood glucose checks defined my routine, so it’s not as if I can directly attribute a loss of life’s joys to diabetes.
I assume this kind of thinking, that diabetes is a thief, among the newly diagnosed. When the changes required to survive are still raw, it’s easy to draw immediate comparisons to a life that once was. I’ve lived with diabetes long enough that I don’t think about how my life has changed as much as how my life with diabetes has changed. I suppose it’s how I try to stay positive through all the easily-identifiable negativity. This Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor sure is great. Life with an insulin pump is a lot easier than managing insulin pen needles. The port light on my blood glucose meter is awfully handy.
Multiple times this weekend, I was thankful to be wearing an insulin pump and not worry about remembering my Lantus injection in the morning, or evening.
For all of the benefits this insulin pump has brought into my diabetes management, the quality of life improvement has been off the charts.
And even after all the blog posts, A1c results, and dexcom pictures, being happy is the most valuable measure of how much this transition has meant to me.
I started a fresh Dexcom sensor yesterday.
This was my first calibration number.
Somewhat recently I updated my Instagram profile to more accurately describe the stuff I share over there.
I mostly post pictures of my Dexcom and my cats. Occasionally, I sprinkle in some other stuff…but that’s mostly it. Says a lot about me, I suppose.
But, over the past week or so, I’ve been intentionally avoiding sharing any Dexcom lines because, for the most part, I forgot how to diabetes.
It feels like the only time my blood glucose levels are “normal” is when it’s en route to an extreme high or severe low. No amount of corrections seem to do the trick, and at some point I just gave up on the idea of control and started settling “I tried”.
Some days are good.
Some days are not as good.
But if I can learn something for the next day, that’s good, right?