Sweet Little Lies
The white lies we tell about our diabetes.
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
September 2010 — Bittersweet Karen recently posted about the lies she tells about her type 1 diabetes. The lies she tells are white lies, like "it doesn't hurt," when it comes to lancing a finger, or, "I love having a pump," when she would rather have a working pancreas. You get the idea.
It certainly started me thinking about the white lies I tell, both about my own type 2 diabetes and being the wife of someone with type 1 diabetes.
I am lucky to have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at an early age and an early stage. While I am grateful to have avoided complications at diagnosis like so many other older people with type 2, I still wish I could be a little more carefree. Eating right, exercising often, and managing stress are elements of a healthy lifestyle that I must maintain day in and day out for many years to come to avoid the complications that could be lurking just around the corner. Those thoughts can be overwhelming on days I just do not want to play with diabetes.
Since I exercise and eat right, my blood glucose levels are usually in range. Using insulin at this stage of the game is not appropriate. I can do everything I am supposed to do and still end up with less than optimal blood glucose readings. Infection, illness, injury, and my personal favorite - stress, all negate the good things I do for my body and blood glucose control. And when high blood glucose does call, it sends me on an emotional roller coaster that makes things that much worse. These are the times when "taking a hit" of my husband's insulin seems awfully tempting.
One cookie or one piece of bread will not lead to complications. I need to be more honest with myself on the subject of carbohydrate addiction. I know that one cookie or one piece of bread leads to another for me and often, to another and another. If I keep eating like that all the time, my average blood glucose readings will rise and put me at more risk of complications. (And I will wonder why I cannot take a "hit" of my husband's insulin. Again.)
Coming downstairs in the morning to find evidence that my husband experienced low blood sugar overnight does not affect me as much as when I am there with him when low blood sugar incidents happen. I hate seeing glasses with remnants of juice on the counter or candy spilled on the kitchen floor. As a heavy sleeper, I do not notice these events as they occur, though knowing that my husband has had to manage a low blood sugar on his own during the night frightens me. I never know if I will wake up some morning to him lying on the kitchen floor instead of just some spilled candy.
If I thought about it long enough, I am sure I could come up with ten more white lies told about diabetes in this household, both his and hers.
Read more of Rachel's columns.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...