Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Tightrope Walking

I'm just back from my annual review and felt compelled to write a just-for-me blog for the first time in a long time.  What follows is pretty much a "stream of consciousness" affair (though I'll be scanning it to make sure it makes sense).  It might feel like a mish-mash of previous blogs I've written, so for any regular viewers out there, apologies in advance.  By the end, I'll hopefully have done a decent job at articulating my inner voice.

Thanks for reading.

In the last couple of years, I've started to look forward to my annual review rather than dread it in the same way a school boy who's forgotten his homework again.

Gone are the days where I'd spend hours thinking up excuses for why my weight, blood pressure, HbA1c and any other measure you care to mention were all going in the wrong direction.  Now I'm in a place where I feel educated enough to spend one of my bi-annual 15 minute slots, discussing my diabetes, any of my problems or concerns and feeling like part of a conversation instead of a lecture.  This is, of course, a good thing.

However, what I can't seem to shake is that feeling of despondency as I trudge through a maze of hospital corridors out into the rain and back to my car.

Once upon a time, I'd leave feeling guilt ridden and angry at myself.  It got to a point where a consultant pulled out a graph and said "If you don't change what you're doing, this [pointing at said graph] is when your kidneys will start failing".  I wondered what the point was.  Why was anyone wasting their time on me if I couldn't be bothered to look after myself?

Now it's a different story.  Today I left feeling frustrated because I was convinced I'd finally cracked it and that it'd be a bit of a chat, usual questions and checks and I'd be on my way.  Not so.  Today my consultant (who is without doubt, bloody wonderful), looked at the download from my BG meter and gave that intake of breath through clenched teeth that consultants do and said "look at all these low readings.  I'm worried you'll lose your hypo awareness".

Now before I continue to wallow in my hole of momentary self pity, I will say that, of course, she's right.  That is a concern, and losing my hypo awareness is one of my biggest diabetes fears.  Basically anything you can prefix with "losing" scares me.

Back to my hole... living with diabetes is tough.  Not some of the time - ALL of the time.  I've had it 12 years and it still kicks my ass.  I guess my consultant has a privileged view in some sense as she can look at 3 months worth of data and see the patterns quite easily.  I write my BG levels down but I've got a bit lazy at looking for patterns I suppose.

The thing is, high numbers worry me.  I know that a lot of high numbers will start to eat away at me and if I can't make them go away I'll feel like I can't look after myself and I'll give up.  I've done it before and it didn't work out well.  I'm always more likely to go slightly over on my insulin calculations to err on the side of caution because I know it's less likely to lead to a high reading later on.  I'd rather have a low reading than a high one (to which my consultant nodded along sympathetically).

I've previously likened having diabetes to walking on a tightrope.  Managing it needs a lot of skill and concentration and you need to consider what you're doing all the time.  If you lose focus you start to wobble and if you wobble too much you'll lose control completely.

It's easy to cry "no fair" but life isn't fair and I'm not 13 years old any more so I'm not taking that option.  I'll keep doing what I've always done - live and learn.  There's no silver bullet to make any of these problems go away and so I'll refine my own care and keep working at understanding how my body reacts to this enigmatic disease.  As I've said before, diabetes isn't who I am, it's just one small part of me.  Sometimes it needs more attention than others but if I'll carry on working to keep the disruption to a minimum.

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