Renza writes a chatty and informative blog about living with Type one Diabetes and this post entitled Confusion succinctly describes the tussle of living with vs suffering from this ‘condition/disease’. During my young adult years, the only people with diabetes that I met (not many) seemed to be super heroes with their management, unlike me who felt as if I was constantly fighting a losing battle with blood sugar levels, and hence, a very bad diabetic who deserved every complication that would inevitably catch up with me. Social networking and the internet has changed this – yes the good stories, and the bad stories, and every story in between is out there to share. Finally I began to feel like I was no better or worse than others in the way I ‘managed my condition’ (there we go again with that language).
I was diagnosed close to 40 years ago and was ‘educated’ about what would happen if I didn’t control my blood sugar levels. The big ones were always:
- blindness (retinopathy)
- kidney (renal) failure
- neuropathy (leading to amputation of feet etc)
So I was most grateful to get to my age with full function of each of these things. However, the shock was/is finding the number of other ‘conditions’ that those with diabetes just happen to be more susceptible to. For me, these have included:
- Hypothyroidism – Hashimotos (another autoimmune condition);
- Tendon problems – including Carpal Tunnel, Trigger finger (stenosing tenosynovitis), and now months of shoulder pain;
- Cysts that may become seriously infected – and the risk that any infection is slower to heal with diabetes (10 days in hospital and home visits for a week after that)
- Retinopathy that has required painful laser treatments to prevent blindness
- Pre-eclampsia necessitating 3 months in hospital before my son was born
- As for ‘diabetes and mental health/depression‘, let’s not even go there.
This is not a ‘woe is me’ post, but I’m not sure I really want to hear the same refrain “Oh yes, it is common with diabetics” too much more. Like today when I went to the opthamologist for my eyes and he tells me I must come back due to some changes that may indicate ‘neovascular glaucoma’:
The less-common neovascular glaucoma that tends to be associated with diabetes occurs when new, abnormal blood vessels grow on the iris, the colored part of the eye.
So there are times that I just don’t want to know any more. I can get this information if I search for it (thank you internet) but today I just want to forget about it. That ‘living with diabetes’ is persistent pain in the arse and all the effort put into managing it will never make up for all of those moments that could have been better spent on other things.