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April 23, 2014
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"Normal" Life?


There's something that haunts every person who remembers Life Before Diagnosis. We describe it as spontaneity, carelessness, social acceptability, freedom.

 

What it boils down to are food and money.

 

For starters, diabetes robs from us the ability to "just" eat when we are hungry, not-eat when we're not, and not have to weigh, measure, and log every morsel that passes our lips. Then, it robs from us the (admittedly ill-advised) pleasures of the occasional ice-cream sundae or wolfing down half a pizza pie. And because we can't be certain of the foods that we don't prepare ourselves, it robs us of the ability to eat at friends' and relatives' homes, or even casual-dining restaurants.

 

If, indeed, we even had the money to "eat out". (Let's face it: the couple hundred dollars a month "normal" people spend on dancing, dining, movies, and entertainment, we spend on test strips, medications, insulin, logs, and diabetes supplies.) And if, indeed, we had the time: it is said that management of diabetes takes a full two hours each and every day.

 

Money and time issues, plus the degree to which socializing involves food, means that diabetes robs us (at least to some degree) of the ability to socialize.

 

After a while, we begin to forget what a "normal" life looks like.

 

Now, I can argue -- and I recently have -- that the obsessive-compulsive eating (or not-eating) that goes along with good diabetes management is what we are told "normal" is supposed to be, but in reality, the few non-diabetic people who live that way are either models, elite athletes, or in need of psychological treatment for disordered eating -- or some combination of the three. Which may be why so many of us tend to follow nutritional guidelines halfway, if at all.

 

Social isolation tends only to increase our tendency to either hold tighter to our diabetes-mandated dietary restrictions or to ignore them completely. It fosters a different sort of disordered eating than does social eating, and our recognition of that (arguably) unhealthy relationship between ourselves and food only tends to isolate us further.

 

I've been going through so many food jags, and concerns about paying for basic food, and cooking to meet The Other Half's limited tastes, that any semblance of my current diet to "what I should be eating" is completely coincidental... which is not good, especially for a bread-a-holic like me. I'm burned out on logging, and I'm hoarding strips like I'm not sure when I'll be able to have the money for my next order. That's part of the siege mentality I discussed recently, and it's not healthy.

 

It may be normal for us, but living with diabetes is not a "normal" life.



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Megan Holmes
Megan Holmes Megan was diagnosed in 2009 with Type I. As an RN, she was familiar with the medical side of her diagnosis; learning to be a good patient on the other hand, was and continues to be the challenge of her day to day life.   (Read More)
Michelle Kowalski
Michelle Kowalski 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)
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