Monday, February 11, 2013

God's Timing

I thought I would try to blog more frequently this year, but once again it's been a month since my last post! I discussed last time how I fantasize at times about what life would be like for me now if I didn't have to deal with T1D, but I want to talk this time about something a lot of people bring up when I tell them I was diagnosed with something that used to be referred to as "juvenile diabetes" as an adult.

As many of you already know, I was diagnosed with T1D on August 24, 2010 (my seven-month wedding "anniversary"), at age 22. Some people think it's probably harder on me since I know what it was like to be T1D-free, and others think it's better because I got to have a normal childhood. To be honest, it's both. I sometimes think about how easy things were before, when I could eat something and not have to think about how it was going to affect my blood sugars. I always ate fairly healthy most of the time before, but it was still nice to have the option not to every now and then and not having to worry about it having a lasting impact on my body! I think that being healthy, or even being "normal", is something that we all take for granted until our lives change and make us think about things differently.

On the other hand, I'm so, so glad I was able to have a pretty average, healthy childhood. I didn't have to worry about my blood sugar being low during class (or recess!), or trying to hide an insulin pump under a prom dress. My pancreas did all of the thinking and worrying for me...until it quit. I think a lot about how I could have easily been diagnosed a year or two before, while I was still in college. I don't know if I could have graduated with a 4.0 had I been forced to deal with T1D on top of everything else. I biked across campus to get to my classes, so I would have had to factor in how that would affect my blood sugar on top of an already hectic eating semester I had classes from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., so I pretty much had to eat lunch at breakfast time if I didn't want to starve for the rest of the day. If I had T1D back then, I wouldn't have been able to do that.

When it comes down to it, I know God has a plan for my life and that I was diagnosed when I was for a reason. I'm incredibly thankful that He gave me the time to get my body back under (relative) control before we decided to have children instead of me having to figure out an entirely new life during pregnancy or while trying to take care of a baby. It's hard enough caring for a little one and dealing with diabetes at the same time even with the past couple of years' experience under my belt. Our now-toddler is pretty high-maintenance at times, but my diabetes is just as bad as a colicky infant...but sadly, it's one that never grows up!

Timing is everything in life, and with diabetes it's no different. Some think that being diagnosed as a young child (or baby) would be preferable to being diagnosed later in life because then "you wouldn't know any different," but try telling that to the parents of a 15-month-old whose life won't be the same until a cure is found. Diabetes is so much more manageable today than it was before insulin was discovered a little less than a century ago (when it was a virtual death sentence), or even before the advent of home blood-glucose meters in the last 40 years; however, it's still an absolutely life-changing event for the person who is forced to deal with it.

I don't think people without diabetes can truly understand how gut-wrenching it is to know you're going to have to depend on a medication for the rest of your life (at least until a cure is found!), something that is far from perfect. You can easily use too little or too much; dosing is not an exact science. And even if you do get the dosing exactly right based on what you're eating, a multitude of other things (that you can't always account for) can impact your blood sugar levels--stress, sleep (or lack thereof), exercise (or not exercising)...the list goes on.

Having tight blood sugar control also comes at a price--the lower your average, the higher your risk of lows. Low blood sugars are so frightening to me now that I have someone that depends so fully on me that I usually err on the side of caution these days and run a bit higher than I'd like just to avoid them. This is the catch-22 I'm facing now that we're trying to decide when to expand our family. Before I didn't really have to worry about the lows, so I would always choose them over a high. Now I just don't have that option, so getting back to the level of control I had before and during my pregnancy has been extremely difficult.

For that reason, we've decided that I'm going to have to make some changes to my routine before we think about another baby. The stress of coming to the office every day and taking care of Baby Girl while I'm working (and the fact that my husband is working out of the state until June) makes my blood sugars even harder to maintain, so I talked to my bosses(/parents) recently about working from home the majority of the time since my averages are always better when I'm there. I don't know when I'll make that transition, but I'm hoping it will make my life a little easier. At this point, any amount of "easier" is better in my book! I went back and forth over this decision, but at some point you just have to do what's best for you and your family. In this case my health is also hanging in the balance, so that adds an entirely different dimension to the game.

While I don't know when we'll seriously consider adding to our family, once again I know God has a plan for us and everything will happen in His time. I'm just going to have to trust that whatever needs to happen to get my life (and blood sugar) back under control will happen, and do what I can to make things better for my family!


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