Let’s set something straight.
I am diabetic.
I have been for nearly half my life (14 years to be precise).
Which means I have some experience with this disease and how to care for it.
I even happened to diagnose myself.
(Sometimes it pays off to be intensely self-aware).
I also happen to have a PhD in genetics.
Which means I am not stupid.
I am fully aware that I am not perfect.
I could take better care of myself. I don’t check my blood sugars 12 times a day. I exercise probably 3-5 times a week, but not on a regular basis. I have the same philosophy towards eating – such that I eat everyday but not necessarily on a perfect routine. I eat without checking my blood sugar and sometimes I even eat and forget to give myself insulin. So I know there is room to improve. Yet other than high blood pressure (which I am pretty sure I got from my mother’s side of my family) and being near-sighted (thanks Dad, for that) I am in pretty good health.
Now, I have taken great strides to improve my diabetes management. I have established general, diabetic, womanly and even eye doctors. I’ve been to the doctor’s office 8 times in the past 3 months.
I’ve talked to insurance companies and mail-order pharmacies. I’ve spent who knows how much money to help care for this disease. I am puzzled by my insurance company who will pay well over a $1000 for a 3-month supply of insulin (while I only pay $15) but will hardly pay $300 for test strips for my blood sugar meter – leaving me to pay $100. I would argue (and I am pretty sure my many doctors would as well) that knowing my blood sugar is absolutely fundamental in being able to control it. So why don’t the insurance companies get it (or at least pay for it better)?
I am mostly willing to do all this. Except for when the MDs waste my time, talk down to me and then want me to share my personal history with them.
All I want is the prescription that they need to sign for because they went to medical school whereas I went to graduate school.
I know that they are just trying to help.
I know I should be grateful that this disease can be managed and doesn’t have to be life-threatening.
It hasn’t interfered with my ability to work, to dance, to scuba dive, ride my bicycle or even my social life (Scott affectionately calls me “his cyborg girlfriend”). Hell, I can even eat chocolate cake (with the aid of my insulin pump).
But there are days when I wish I didn’t have it.
I get tired of the constant blood sugar checking and finger pricks. Of having to change my insulin and its tubing from the pump. Of going to the doctor every couple of weeks. Of having to count every gram of carbohydrate I consume. Of making sure that I brought all the necessary supplies with me when I go out of town, even if only for the weekend. Of constantly assessing how I feel. Am I hungry? Shaky? Having trouble focusing? Maybe I have low blood sugar … Am I tired? Lethargic? Is my mouth dry? Am I constantly going to the bathroom? Maybe I have high blood sugar …
The entire thing is exhausting. It’s like having a shadow hover over you that will never allow you to fully be in the sunshine and carefree. So my control slips. And then I get lectured from my doctors who think I don’t know better.
But I do.
Then the guilt comes.
But I continue to feel chained to this disease.
And will be … for life.
Okay, the rant is over. Back to happy posts after this.