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.