Lately I've been researching a bit about courage. I was pretty stoked to pour into courage and KPT. Then I checked my blood sugar (330, 303, 319, so it's not my meter). Shifting... now I want to talk about facing diabetes with courage. 💪🏼
I am not going to take us all the way back to Junior High Health class, but I will give you a fair warning - nerdy research lies ahead. Basically, diabetes is a disease in which the body’s (pancreas) ability to produce or respond to insulin does not work properly causing increased levels of glucose in your body as well as impacts on your digestion ability. And to make this even more interesting, there are more variations of the disease being continually studied, researched, monitored, and developed. For example, me and my Type 3c.
Type 3c is from damage to a previously healthy pancreas, caused by such health issues as pancreatitis, tumor, trauma, etc... As a result, the pancreas no longer produces adequate amounts of insulin, digestive enzymes and other hormones. Pancreatitis - the majority of the time, complications of chronic inflammation of the pancreas is the cause of Type 3c. Pancreatitis is caused by numerous things, including gallstones, alcohol use, medications and high triglycerides. Type 3c is also caused when the pancreas or part of the pancreas is removed by surgery. Yep! That sounds about right and what's a bit disconcerting is that an estimated 3% of the cases are accurately diagnosed as the Type 3c - therefore people like me are not getting the treatment necessary - potentially.
The day I was diagnosed with diabetes, I was devastated (severe and overwhelming shock and grief). I was completely and utterly crushed. My loving husband, patient PCP, and her MA were in the room with me for over an hour. They showed such compassion and kindness. I was terrified. I was on the "debbie downer" spiral slide and it was moving fast! I was picturing worst case scenarios - one after another - flashing before me. And how could I not? Given my recent medical history, PTSD is real and it was determined to be present and accounted for that day.
Diabetes is a journey (albeit never-ending) - with a monster along for the ride. I know I've talked about how shame - anxiety - depression are all beasts we battle, and they are - it is just that diabetes is a whole other monster. You have to face this journey with courage. What does it mean to me? It's means I have to to do something that scares me, it means I muster up the strength to face the monster head on. Diabetes can be a rollercoaster. If your sugars are not perfectly controlled, you are up and down on that rollercoaster ride, however this rollercoaster does not slow down, it does not let you go - it does not stop for you to unlatch the harness and be free.
I'll give you an idea what high blood sugar feels like. You feels like syrup is running through your veins. You have a sweet taste in your mouth but you feel pretty sick to your stomach, not to mention the drought. I am finishing my fourth 16 ounce glass of ice water in the last two hours. You feel sluggish and weak - and right about now is when anxiety shows up to the party - probably just to say hi! And I tell you what, this is when you really fight the monster and this is when you keep pushing through. You know this rollercoaster ride will slow down eventually, it may never come to a complete stop, but it will slow enough to catch my breath.
How my Type 3c's do we have out there? I would love to meet some and listen to stories and treatment plans. I want to encourage and inspire you to face the monster and eventually embrace the disease - it is not going away - it can be managed. This is a lot like procrastination. It is completely natural for us to engage in avoidance behaviors when it comes to managing diabetes and it is just that mindset that makes this struggle so difficult. The avoidance behaviors are what lead to the diabetic complications. Did someone say catch-22?
I continue to dig deep for courage to face the challenges that arise with my Type 3c and I do so with gratitude and grace. I am grateful for my medication treatment and NO shots, I am grateful for Dr. Z, I am grateful for all the amazing work that is being done at Indiana University Hospital surrounding the little pancreases and diabetes. I am grateful (SO GRATEFUL) I am not insulin dependent. There is enough of God's grace to help each of us to keep pushing through (with a little extra courage) when it comes to the monster of diabetes.