Wednesday, February 6, 2013
I hate talking about complications. Just hearing the word is enough to make my blood start to boil. When it comes to dealing with different aspects of living with diabetes, complications is the thing that gets under my skin the most.
Having a reasonable conversation about diabetes complications is nearly impossible for me. I instantly get angry yet feel like bursting into tears simultaneously. Defensive? Oversensitive? Definitely. I've walked out on sessions about complications at more than one diabetes event. And it's not the presenter's fault. It's my issue.
I know what the possible complications of diabetes are. There's a whole litany. I know that the best way to prevent complications is to keep my diabetes under "control." Whatever the hell that means. (My dislike of the word "control" is a topic for another post).
And so I try. I try to keep my blood sugars in range as much as possible. I try to keep my A1c in the target range. But hot damn, it's hard. When people say, "All you have to do is keep your diabetes in control" they make it sound so easy. But it's not.
Throw my depression, anxiety, and binge eating in there, and things get even more difficult. I'm trying. I'm doing the best that I can. And I hope to God it's enough.
Complications happen. Period. Yes, there is much we can do to try and avoid them. But sometimes they just happen. Just because someone has some complications doesn't mean they haven't been doing their absolute best to avoid them.
I was 12 years old when my kidneys started spilling microalbumin. I'd only had diabetes for two years, and already had a complication. And I can guarantee you my mom and I were doing our best to keep my blood sugars in check. I wasn't "out of control." I was 12 years old!!! And had to start seeing a nephrologist on top of all my other doctors.
Thankfully, my kidneys are fine. But I started on an ACE inhibitor when I was 12, and I'll be on it for the rest of my life to prevent more microalbumin spillage and to protect my kidneys.
So you want to talk about complications? Fine. I know that for some people, talking about complications and prevention gives them hope. And I wish I was that way too. But I'm not.
I'll talk about complications, but don't promise me that "controlling" my diabetes will prevent all of them. Yes, it doesn't really impact my daily life, but it's still a complication. And it's not my fault.
There are others, like Celine, George, and Stacey, who have been brave enough to share their stories and stuggles with complications. When you live with diabetes for decades, shit happens. We do our best, and sometimes complications happen anyway. Please don't judge us based on that. A little empathy and understanding go a long way.