August 19, 2010

In which certain complications ensue

It’s been so long since I wrote about diabetes that in order to make this post I had to hack into an ancient email account to retrieve my Blogger password. Funny how things ebb and flow: Other health problems, and plain old semi-normal life, have held my attention for some time. But diabetes has reclaimed the spotlight, and how.

I started this blog a few months after my diagnosis, less than six years ago. I’ve written about fear, hope, apathy, determination. I’ve tried to maintain good control, to focus on the Now, to adapt. Always to adapt.

Now I find myself adapting again. This summer I’ve found out that I have mild nonproliferative retinopathy and gastroparesis. Two complications diagnosed within two months. And certain evidence suggests they are probably not the only ones.

Mild retinopathy is practically ho-hum. Almost all of us get it sooner or later; if it remains “mild” it won’t even require treatment. But gastroparesis is life-changing (more on that later). It’s also a form of autonomic neuropathy—irreversible nerve damage that can happen in one or multiple systems of the body. Some of that damage isn’t especially significant; some of it can erode quality of life; and some of it can kill us.

I’m not here to whine about these issues, though I can guarantee that I will whine occasionally. I’m here because writing helps me with the work of adapting. Telling my story—and connecting with others around theirs—becomes a way of understanding who I am, which in turn helps me to live the most aware life I can. I can’t be healthy or happy without that kind of awareness. And I can’t be healthy or happy in isolation, either.

So here I am.

April 27, 2008

Head pats

1. Am now the owner and daily wearer of a medical ID. This time around I went with a much simpler look.

2. Am seeing eye doctor in May.

3. Am seeing endo in June. (She's too busy to see me sooner. Will try not to back out over the next, uh, two months.)

I am cautiously proud.

April 15, 2008


Whoa, Violet. Interesting last post there. Dark much?

Okay, here’s my excuse. The path to the light must traverse the darkness. Right? Right?

And, uh, there’s no way out but through. Yeah. That.

Actually, I do believe those things, though I certainly wasn’t thinking about them when I wrote Grim Post. Sunrise dispels the night, though, whether the night intends to be dispelled or not. Holding up my junk to the light is a good way to, at the very least, see it a bit more clearly.

What I see is that I’ve gotten stuck. I knew that already, but wow. When I reread that post, I *know* it, in that deep-in-the-bones kind of way.

What I feel, rereading that post, is that I’d like to unstick myself.

I would?

Yeah. Reasons for unsticking abound, as a matter of fact.

Aha. Going to the endo because I want to is much, much different than going to the endo because I’m supposed to, or because I’m afraid, or because I feel guilty, or because Mrs. Violet is chastising me about it. I can handle going to the endo because I want to--much as I just handled eating two scoops of ice cream because I wanted to. (Peanut butter & chocolate and mint chocolate chip. I regret nothing.)

So. I’ll go. Meemeep will go with me. We will report back.

April 9, 2008

Comfortably Numb: A Confessional of Immaturity

This month marks 3.5 years since my dx. My primary question is how it could possibly be only 3.5 years as opposed to, say, 35.

I’m bored. Diabetes is boring. This post will be boring too: It resays things others have said already, things I’ve said already.

These days I pretend to be as undiabetic as I feel I can possibly get away with. I test, I count, I treat lows and highs, I carry juice. I change the set every fifth or sixth day, I order supplies occasionally, I send Medtronic a few bucks as necessary to maintain the flow of said supplies. I eat pastries and ice cream in significant quantities. I drink more alcohol than is probably advisable for a person who takes insulin.

I don’t exercise beyond walking around the city. I don’t go to the endo. I don’t have my kidneys or eyes or any other parts of me checked for complications. I don’t wear a medical ID since my pretty one broke many moons ago. I don’t read the research, I don’t read blogs, I don’t send money to the ADA or the JDRF or any other acronyms. I don’t craft my diabetic experiences into small sparkling gems of creative nonfiction.

I just don’t.

Most of the time, most of me feels okay with all that. I don’t know my a1C, but then neither does the NYC Department of Health, which suits me fine. My control seems as good as it did when I did know my a1C. I screw up the insulin occasionally, but we all do now and then. I’m here. I’m okay.

I like pretending. It’s more comfortable than the alternative. It isn’t less boring, but it requires less engagement with the boredom, as well as less engagement with the parts that aren’t boring because they’re just plain scary.

Still, there’s a small corner of my brain that cannot repress the occasional flicker of recognition that I’m being Bad, to say nothing of childish, in a way that is not in the long-term interests of Violet. Hence this post.

My prescriptions are about to run out, and last time around the refill authorizations came through with a stern admonishment, delivered via the pharmacist, that I’d have to see the endo to have them extended. And if memory serves, my friends at Medtronic will be looking for a prescription renewal come July as well.

Fine, fine. I’ll go. But I refuse to be interested.

They can’t make me.