When I began experiencing pins and needles in my feet less than a year after being diagnosed with diabetes, I was freaking out.
The minute I was diagnosed, I had been told to look after my feet. To check them every day. To look out for cuts and abraisions. I had been made well aware of the increased risks to the feet for people with diabetes. I cringed at the thought of people needing to have limbs amputated.
I was convinced that I had done something wrong. I cursed myself for how many hypos I had been having at the time. I felt ridden with guilt for not being able to better manage my blood sugar levels. It was my first year, for crying out loud!
Foot complications were all I could think about. Mum was in disbelief when I told her I was thinking of calling in sick to work, in favour of trying to find a podiatrist that would see me on a Saturday. (I was known to be a bit of a workaholic in my first job…)
I remember standing behind a register the following day, unable to think of anything other than the sensation in my feet. I arrived home to an empty house that evening, having self diagnosed myself with circulatory problems. I pulled the cover off of the dusty treadmill that Mum and Dad bought us kids for Christmas, but never used. I put on my sneakers and began running, frantically, in an attempt to boost the circulation in my feet. And I never run!
Of course, I had worried myself over absolutely nothing. With less than one year of diabetes under my belt, it was highly unlikely that I had anything to be seriously worried about. My diabetes educator even told me so much, when she squeezed me in during her lunch break to chat about it the following week. I had automatically associated the pins and needles in my feet with my blood sugars, which did not pose any foreseeable risk.
My podiatrist couldn’t find any circulation problems with my feet either, but commended me for coming in to check. And no sooner than my mind was put at ease, the pins and needles had passed.
My diabetes is getting older. With every passing day, diabetes becomes a larger fraction of my life. I constantly doubt myself. Whether I am doing enough to stay healthy, and on top of this damn condition.
There was a quote I found on Twitter about diabetes complications, that has stuck with me for some time. It went something along the lines of this.
Every time I’m having a bad day, and every time I’m doubting my self management efforts, I repeat these words to myself.
And again. And again. Until they sink in.