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.


  1. Thanks a lot for the information.Sometimes diabetes can be managed by suitable diet plan.With a proper diabetic menu,blood glucose level may be manage.

  2. I think there is a lot to be said about the value of putting words to our thoughts and feelings about things we experience living with diabetes.

    I'm quite happy to see a fresh post from you, as I can fondly remember when you started. :-)

    I hope that all is well with you, and would be happy to offer any help that I can as you explore this new territory.

  3. Hey, Violet! How wonderful to see you back posting! i've checked here fairly regularly and finally just figured that you were sailing merrily along and all was well. Well, it's still well, right? Anyway. i'm so glad to have checked back again and to have found you writing here.

    Okay, so, the two things that have come up for you: first, the retinopathy. Seriously? i know it sounds and seems scary, but if you have a good eye specialist who's keeping track of you, and it sounds like you do, and thank heavens for that, then it doesn't have to be anything that you have to get all freaked about. My retinopathy was diagnosed in 1978, i had laser surgery on both retinas in 1980, and my eyes (amazingly) have been stable ever since. As in, every year when i see my ophthalmologist, the word is: "stable." So, don't fret that one.

    As for the gastroparesis, that can be a bit tricky. i'll share a story about my own experiences with that sometime if you'd like. But again: you're smart, you ask the questions, you've got good docs that you like, right? So much on your side. i mean that very seriously, without getting all Pollyanna on ya. Courage!


  4. Violet, I was pointed to this post by our friend tippytoes. I've also been in a funk over the grind of type 1 and especially its complications, and am wondering if there's additional stress that comes from life in this bad economy and the pressures almost everyone is feeling. Complications like gastroparesis don't help.

    There's a lot of isolation that goes with diabetes, especially type 1. We live with it every day and there aren't many folks nearby who can share the experience. (And why would we want them to, except to make us feel better?)

    Hope you know there are folks like tippytoes, me, and others who have shared some of these issues, know about you, and are wishing the best for you.

  5. Violet, It looks like you have not re-visited this in a long time. I was wondering how things have shaped up for you since these dual diagnosis? Also, you seem to have discounted the retinopathy and I am sure by know you have a more rounded education surrounding the diagnosis. Nevertheless I do hope you might take a look at some of the numbers offered here regarding retinopathy
    as it pertains to diabetics as the numbers are alarming in terms of actual damage recorded in the study. My ex-husband went through this.