Wednesday, February 3, 2016

There is No Freedom with Diabetes

Sometimes I hear how certain technological advancements will give people with diabetes freedom to do what they want and when they want. People even claim this about insulin in general, giving children and teens the opportunity to live a full life.  We praise the idea that people with diabetes can accomplish anything, for instance, people quote my accomplishment of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro as proof that we as diabetics can do anything. Heck, I am pretty sure I have ever said that.

While this is mainly true, there is no freedom in living with diabetes. For instance, someone with diabetes is constantly thinking in terms of carbohydrates, how they feel, wondering what their blood sugar is and overall trying to navigate their day based on their diabetes.   I have an insulin pump, CGM, a fridge full of insulin and a drawer full of strips and I am not free.  

Recently I just got back from a vacation in the Caribbean. I am a seasoned traveler so packing for my diabetes comes easily, however the trip is never the same.  I could have a great day of blood sugars or a day full of highs [more likely the latter] I am having to take time to change my site, fill my reservoir, clip & unclip my pump and make sure that all my supplies are safe during my duration.  The fear of running out or losing diabetes supplies on vacation is very real. 

There is no freedom in that.  There is no freedom in waking up having to eat right away because you're dizzy, there is no freedom in waking up countless times in the night to use the bathroom because your blood sugar is high.   It doesn't matter if you're stocked with supplies to last a lifetime, or just enough for the week, diabetes does not give you any freedom. 

I am thankful, don't get me wrong. I am so thankful that I have supplies & that I was diagnosed at a time of such great technology and medicine.   But, there are moments when my pump can feel like a ball and chain. I wouldn't doubt that being on injections would feel the same way.    So remember next time you're talking with someone with diabetes, they have a lot on their mind and there isn't a moment that passes that diabetes can be forgotten.