“Doesn’t your sugar levels go high if you eat too many sweets?”
This was a question that was posed to me over the weekend, as I reached over and grabbed a sweet from the table.
“I’m low at the moment” were the first words I could get out of my mouth, resisting the urge to add more words until the sugar was sitting safely in my belly.
“I have type 1 diabetes. My body doesn’t produce any insulin.”
I pulled my pump out of my pocket, thankful for my newfound prop that keeps my flailing hand gestures at bay.
“This delivers all of my insulin for me. Technically speaking I can eat anything I want, so long as I give insulin to cover it. Obviously it is better for my blood sugar levels if I eat healthier foods, though.”
This person then went on to tell me that she had been recently diagnosed with early signs of type 2 diabetes, and that the lifestyle changes suggested by her doctor were easier said than done. That she wasn’t sure how changes to her diet would fit in with the rest of her family at home. As she questioned her need for the medication prescribed to her, I could see just how hard it was for her to accept her condition. It brought back my own memories of hiding my diabetes, unable to accept my new ordinary.
I curiously asked if she was testing her blood sugars at home, or whether she had seen a diabetes educator yet. As she told me ‘no,’ I nodded my head. The last thing I wanted to do was to try to give advice. The last thing I wanted to do was to act like I knew what she was going through, or what was best for her. Type 2 diabetes is completely different to type 1. Heck, one person’s diabetes is completely different to another’s.
Yet at the same time, I felt like I should have done more to help her out. I felt sorry for her, because her doctor didn’t seem very helpful or supportive. I hope I said the right things.
“I know it’s hard. It’s taken me ages to make changes that have lasted. I’ve had diabetes for six years, and I still have days where I don’t feel like I’ve got it right.”
All I really wanted to do was to give her a big hug and tell her everything was going to be okay.
Hopefully she sees in me that it will be.