Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dream a little dream- Life after a cure... Diabetes Blog Week- Day 7 (Ha! I did it!)

Lightyears ago, when I was working in a little used bookstore on Queen Street, my boss told me this story about his brother... He said that his brother had a form of epilepsy. I don't remember the name of it exactly, but he had frequent and severe seizures. He was on a fair amount of medication to curb them, but at some point brain surgery became an option. So, he went through with the surgery and the doctors were fairly certain they'd removed the part of the brain that was responsible for the seizures. He was so terrified of them returning though, he refused to stop taking the medication they'd first prescribed him.

I tell you this, because it was one of the first things that came to my mind when I read this final topic for the Diabetes Blog Week was this story. And, honestly, if suddenly the perpetual five-year-plan until the cure for diabetes was up and sitting there was a cure... I think I'd still be testing my blood sugars for a good long while after: Every time I got thirsty. Every time I felt tired. Every time I got shaky. And, yeah, it would probably subside a bit over time, but I'd always wonder if and when it were coming back.

Another story that came to mind: when I started using an insulin pump it totally a positive change for me... physically. For the first time that I can remember I wasn't tired all the time. I think I mentioned somewhere here before, but when I told one of the nurses/diabetes educators helping make the transition to the pump she told me that this was fairly common. Apparently long acting insulins are pretty hard on your body. NPH, the crap stuff that I was on for a large part of my MDI routine, is notoriously nasty... which why it is affectionately referred to as "Not Particularly Helpful" amongst some medical professionals. That plus the fact that I spent years with impossible to avert daily lows, some of which were so low I felt like they were digging my grave for me, I got kind of pissed off that it took sooooo long for me get on the pump.

Actually, I don't even think I realized until I just wrote those words, that a lot of my anger when I got my pump was probably related to me being resentful for all those years of crappy insulins (remember the infernal Regular and Lente???) and multiple daily injections. I know it works great for a lot of people. But, really, that stuff was my own private hell, which is something I couln't realize until a better way of being came along... kind of what I think the shift from insulin pump to cure would be like...

Finally, my very first knee-jerk reaction when I read the topic for today's post: I've met so many awesome people because of my diabetes, I have to admit that I had a moment of sadness thinking that our relationship might go away without the common link of illness. Which I know isn't true- I think the relationship would just change. We might not have the same day to day struggles with the "D-beast", but I think we'd always have the lingering link of being ex-D-beast peoples. At least, I hope we would all stay in touch. I would miss you guys if you all went away. I guess the second thing I realize as I write this- my online D-friends aren't just diabetes support; sometimes you guys are life support. Which is great, so I wouldn't want that side-effect to be cured along with the broken pancreas.

Anyway, I don't mean to end the week on a bummer note. Nor do I don't mean to suggest that I wouldn't jump at a cure in a nano-second or that I wouldn't be happy (extremely happy!) or grateful. I think, though, that having recently just made the shift from needles to insulin pump, the reality of good things sometimes being a mixed bag is still very much a reality for me. And, maybe like most things in life, it's just complicated.

Here, though, I'll end with some happier thoughts:
- Having said all that, I'd totally test the limits of my new found food freedom by a one-time gorge on deep-fried ice cream. I don't know why, but I really get a hankering for that stuff every now and then... and cherries. I really like cherries... and pie. Cherry pie, of course. Stawberry-rhubarb too. Pie is one of the worst things to carb count.
- I think I'd also keep my pump by my pillow as a nightlight, 'cause I've gotten kind of attached to the little guy. I might even wear it around in public occassionally and tell everyone it's my new super gigantic pager...
- And my last, somewhat perverse thought? I'd tell everyone my diabetes was coming back in five years... just so that if it really were creeping back, it would take it's dear sweet time about it.

3 comments:

Virtue said...

For anyone unfamiliar with the "five-years joke"- medical professionals all over North America, maybe even the world, have been telling patients that they're going to find a cure for diabetes "real soon, like in five years." I don't know if makes people feel better when they're diagnosing you to tell you that, but it's been going on for the last 16 years that I've had diabetes... and I rather suspect it's been going on for way longer than that... It almost feels like some sort of medical urban legend.

thisiscaleb said...

I get the five year joke - definitely not lost on me. I hope it will stop being a joke and really happen though and you can chow down on that fried ice cream and cherry pie :)

Virtue said...

me too :)

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