So, I told you I started using insulin and then just disappeared, huh? I swear, I’ve been planning to share an update. I don’t know how quickly I would have actually gotten around to it, though, had it not been for a sweet email I received the other day.
A fellow person with diabetes wrote to tell me that he enjoys my blog. Diagnosed just over a year ago with a slow onset of type 1, he’s found reading about my experience with diabetes helpful. He noted, though, that my last post had been “somewhat ominously titled” and asked if I was “disheartened” by my new insulin routine. He wondered if that’s why I hadn’t written a new post in so long.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciated his email. I had spent the weekend on a miserable blood sugar roller coaster and needed some encouragement. Despite a tough weekend (and ok, yes, some disheartened feelings overall), though, the transition to insulin has been fairly smooth.
I would guess that when most people think about insulin, they think about the fear and pain involved in injections. The truth is, though, I find the shots to be the least of my worries. That’s not to say I enjoy them. I hate feeling like a human pincushion and despise the bruises that now cover my stomach. Still, I find the daily logistics of using insulin much more challenging than the actual pricks.
For example, I travel a lot for work. Before every trip, I have to carefully count and pack syringes, insulin bottles, alcohol swabs, my meter, test strips, lancets, glucose tabs, and snacks. I lug all of this through airport security, and then promptly reorganize it, placing everything I’ll need for the next few hours in an easily accessible spot.
When I dine out on the road – often at odd times and with groups of people – I do my best to guess how many carbs my meal will have and then calculate how much insulin I’ll need to cover that guess. I also guess how quickly my meal will come and then, when I think the time is right, excuse myself from the table to inject insulin in the restaurant’s bathroom. (I recently guessed wrong, injected way too early and ended up trying to maintain a business conversation while silently freaking out that my blood sugar was plummeting.)
Even with these logistical challenges, I have to admit that my switch to insulin has had positive aspects. Most obviously, I have freedom in what I can eat again. I can’t tell you how good it felt the first time I enjoyed a bowl of cereal, an apple or dessert (hallelujah!) without having an exhausting spike in blood sugar. Along these lines, I feel better than I have in a long, long time. I had been feeling so rundown and tired – physically and mentally – that every day felt hard. I have so much more energy now thanks to insulin.
I try to focus on these positives, because even though the transition has been fairly smooth, it hasn’t been easy. That’s why I appreciate every ounce of encouragement and support I get. Sometimes it’s the seemingly little things – from a friend asking how I’m doing to an email from a stranger sharing a similar experience – that reenergize me and remind me that I can do this.