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With capital-I Independence Day weekend upon us, I figure it's worth a look at how small-i independence plays into our diabetes management.
For those of us who were diagnosed as children, and for the parents of children with diabetes, there is the independence of a child learning to care for himself -- from finger pricks to injections to calculating insulin doses to doing pump corrections. Zita writes of her son's first self-administered injection here.
It's normal enough to be concerned when your child is right there with you -- how much more difficult is it to be at ease when you're not there to know... How difficult is it for parents to become independent from their children with diabetes? Carey addressed this a couple of months ago with his post, Hovering; this week, Kerri wrote about how her parents would interrupt their date nights to test her and administer her bedtime insulin.
For adults -- regardless of our age at diagnosis, or type of diabetes, "the sugar" can be our own "Declaration of Independence", giving us the cause and reason to care for our own health, to become independent of the cycle of junkfoods, sedentary lifestyles, and all those other contributors to ill health.
For those of us who have lived with diabetes long enough to feel we can "teach our endos and CDEs", there's the independence of knowledge in how to correct -- with insulin, diet, exercise, glucose tabs, and so on -- our highs and lows; the independence of not panicking the second something goes off-scale, knowing the immediate correction and where to get the appropriate professional follow-through.
While one should not change one's care regimen without consulting one's medical team, I submit that many of us find independence in testing more often than our doctors suggest, knowing how our bodies respond and what they are capable of, and using that information to keep our diabetes in check.
Some would argue there is also the independence to not-care, to not be active in our own diabetes care. I'd argue otherwise: with freedoms come responsibilities. If we do not take the responsibility to care for ourselves, then our health will decline to the point where we lose our independence -- whether that be a loss of mobility, financial flexibility, or even the very ability to care for our most basic physical needs.
Diabetes and independence. A side dish to the grilled meats and veggies, but a display more powerful than the fireworks over the (Boston) Esplanade or the US Capitol. Happy independence days.
Michelle Kowalski, a writer, editor and photography hobbiest living in Phoenix, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February 2005. In January 2008, as part of her quest to start on an insulin pump, Michelle learned that she actually has type 1 diabetes. (Read More)
Nicole Purcell lists having type 1 diabetes last when she's asked to provide information about herself - because that's where it belongs. (Read More)