Friday, December 9, 2016

Diabetes Personified

"If you could personify your diabetes or that of your loved one, what would it be like?  What would it look like, what would it say, what kind of personality would it have?  Use your imagination and feel free to use images, drawings, words, music, etc. to describe it." 
I've been sitting on this topic for a while.  I was originally going to write about diabetes personified as a horse, but I've changed my mind.    I have NO CLUE what could adequately personify diabetes.  Maybe I need to take a different approach.  Instead of thinking about something that already exists, maybe I need to create a personality for diabetes that's all its own.  Kind of like I do with my cats.  That's fun!

I frequently refer to my Dexcom as "Dex" and he has his own personality, which is totally separate from Diabetes.  Why don't we see what kind of a history Diabetes has...then maybe that will help us name and shape him.

The word diabetes comes from the Greek word διαβαίνειν (diabainein), meaning "to pass through," or siphon.  This term was used in the early 1st century by the Ancient Greek physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia.  The condition was recognized by the "excessive discharge of urine."  (Appropriately enough, this was one of the symptoms that I experienced when I was diagnosed.)

Additionally, the Latin word mellitus was added to Type 1 diabetes to differentiate it from Type 2 diabetes.  Mellitus means "honey-sweet," due to the sweetness caused by excess sugar in a newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetic's urine.  Type 2 diabetes is called diabetes insipidus (insipidus means "tasteless") because excess sugar is not present in the urine. 

I think if I had to name my Diabetes, I'd probably go with Si (short for Siphon).

Si is a character.  I've know him for pretty much all of my life.  I was not happy when he decided to become my life-long friend.  In fact, I viewed him as an enemy for about 18 years.  He was always making things difficult for me.  Or rather, I didn't know how to be a good friend to him.  He kept trying to tell me he didn't like all the sugar I was eating.  He'd send my blood sugars up sky high and I'd get frustrated with him (not realizing it was actually my own fault).  I couldn't understand why he wouldn't respond the way I wanted him to.  He had his own agenda, and it wasn't mine.  You could say he was sensitive.  Hmm.  Sounds like someone I know.

Here's an example conversation I might've had with him in the past.

Si ogles the mound of rice topped with beef and potato stew in my bowl.  "You're not really going to eat all those carbs, are you?  There must be 150 grams in that bowl!"
"I'll bolus for it.  I'm hungry, and this stuff is good!"
"Yeah, good luck with that.  Tell me how you feel afterward."
"Fine, I will."  I bolus and devour the whole bowl.  "Time for dessert.  I think there's one more serving of pudding in the fridge."
"More sugar?  You're asking for it."
"I'll bolus.  Quit your whining."
2 hours later...
"455?!  Why am I so high?  I bolused!"
"Told you so.  Now you have to correct."
"Ugh!  Why didn't the insulin work the first time like it was supposed to?"
2 hours later...
"79?  I'm low!  Now I gotta raid the fridge!  Why'd I eat all the pudding?"
"You're actually fine..."
"Where's the food?  I need SUGAR!"
"Sigh.  Maybe someday you'll learn.  You're going to get sick of this roller coaster and, when you do, you'll realize I'm actually your friend."

Turns out he was right.  I got sick of the roller coaster.  Si has shown me that he can't tolerate carbs.  I was doing so much harm to my body without even realizing it.  Si has helped me research and implement a better, healthier way of eating, which has also taught me to be even more careful about what goes onto my body, not just into it!  I'm more in tune with my body's needs, sensitivities, and strengths.  I don't think I could've done any of this without Si.  I wouldn't have cared enough.  He made me care about the body God gave me.
Now our conversations go more like this:

"Lunch time!  How about some hot dogs, an avocado, some pecans, a cheese stick, and a Bai drink?"
"Sounds good to me," Si nods in agreement.  "That's lots of yummy low carb foods."
"Should only need half a unit or so, maybe 1."
"Yesterday was great.  We stayed in range for most of the day."
"Yup, might need to take less Levemir overnight though.  We went into the 60s twice."
"You need to crack down on those protein spikes, too."
"I know.  Think we should try R for that, Si?" 
"Couldn't hurt."

Now I think I'll let Si say a few words.


Hey, guys.  Just wanted to say a few quick words.  Rachel's an awesome young lady.  I hope you know I've never meant to hurt her.  I just have some specific care requirements, which I understand are hard to fulfill when you're not properly trained.  Rachel did the best she could given the circumstances and the inadequate care she received from medical teams throughout her life.  I'm so proud of her for stepping off the roller coaster and taking charge of my needs (and hers).  Rachel and I are both pretty sensitive so I think we make a pretty good team.  I only wanted what was best for her.  It has just taken her a little while to realize that.  But now that she has I have seen so much growth in her, so much strength and commitment to taking care of me and herself.  While I can't really pinpoint an exact cause for my appearance in Rachel's life, I know that my friendship with her was not an accident.  I've helped her to grow as God has willed, and I know she'll continue to grow and help others as much as she can (because that's who she is and what she's like).  If you don't know her that well, I think you should give her a chance.  And don't be afraid of me.  I'm not contagious.  And I won't bite.  Much.  *wink*

1 comment:

Rick said...

My Diabetes would be Sort of like my schizophrenic friend who changes mood every minute of every day.

I think sometimes it might be red and other times blue. It would have big eyes with a nose the size of a battleship. Why such a big nose, because it always sticks its nose into my business. Its eyes would be very large, perhaps the size of double silver dollars. Large eyes because it is always watching and perhaps looking for a way to stick its nose in my business.

I think it would have a tail made of insulin. The one thing that holds it back but never tames it is insulin. Diabetes is always ready to push ahead and break the insulin strings that hold it in place. It roars nothing can hold me nothing and yet it is tame today, raging tomorrow perhaps but tame today.

I printed that and a longer explanation on my blog back on May 15, 2015 in a post titled "Personify Your Diabetes.

This item has been referred to the TUDiabetes Blog page for the week of December 5, 2016.