Funny Pancreas

… February 15th marks 3 years since my diagnosis…. it’s a funny old date to know whether to mark; partially because whaddaya say/do?

YAY; my pancreas has stopped working!

Doesn’t really sound like something to shout all that much about…. but equally, ignoring a day that totally changed my life seems a bit lame too.

I was thinking about the journey of those three years – how it almost certainly started way before then – how grateful I am for my insulin pump now… and the many, many bits in-between.

Then I was thinking about Jen Grieves (aka SuperStarLady) recent post; how it’s such a tricky balance between not wanting to bang on about how much type one diabetes is – actually – a pretty big deal… but y’know; there’s no escaping it – it is.
And it is why the type 1 diabetes community turn towards each other so much; because no matter how much you love or care or want to understand how living with t1 is; I don’t think, unless you actually have to live with it, the extent of the constant effort that goes into keeping ourselves alive can be understood. Which is both completely understandable and completely crap.

{ironically my pump just alerted me I’m heading for a low; so now have to stop, wash my hands, prick my finger and wait for a number to tell me whether to have something sugary; before I can type any more of this post.}

— I’m back. All good.

…. though its a timely reminder of the bit I’m not sure can be “got”.
That if I didn’t actually stop right then and go and check, and do something based on what the little number says, then I could die. If I thought “bugger this, I’m right in the middle of writing, my blood sugar can wait” then the potential consequences are pretty grim; whichever way you decide to manage your sugar levels.
I run mine as closely as possible to those without a defunct pancreas because I would like to keep my limbs down the line (I have a particular fondness of them all) — which means lows are my biggest worry. Some people would prefer to run them higher so they don’t have the day-to-day balancing act that comes with that… and sometimes I get the appeal of that – but then I’d have the longer term worries that I know would replace my more immediate ones; and as they’re of the death and blindness and limb losing variety, I “choose” the constant awareness and monitoring and balancing route… but it is pretty constant; which is where the “crap” part comes in.

As I mentioned above, I love the pump – but somehow I may have given the false impression it does everything… I’m not sure how that happened: perhaps because I was SO elated when I got it that people thought it was more bad-ass than it is? I mean it is pretty bad-ass; but I still have to guess work out how much insulin to give myself, often based on looking at a plate and trying to work out what my hormones might be up to that day – and given that all can be *very* variable – so the reams and reams of other things to think about that goes along with t1 and insulin doesn’t go away…


…. I’m fairly sure friends and loved ones wonder at times, why I’m a little “skitty” – and don’t always remember to do things or don’t seem to be paying full attention… I can only imagine a comparable scenario would be akin to looking after a baby – who, even when they’re all settled down and sleeping, needs to be thought about and checked in on – and whom if you don’t make sure you pay proper attention to, is, in this theoretical comparison, liable to kill you.

{I do hope your actual baby wouldn’t be liable to kill you; cos then we’ve a real tricky predicament on our hands}

To clarify, having not had children yet, I can only guess its the same nagging worry you might have over not accidentally doing something terrible that might harm your baby; which sometimes is more in the background, and sometimes is more terrifyingly very much in the foreground – but it is always there – and with that comes the frustration of sometimes not knowing what the frig is wrong with them; why won’t they just settle down?!

— and when there is something obviously constant, like a little one, then we are okay with making allowances for our lovely friends… We know their brains are full with trying to keep a small person alive. I guess as t1’s we sometimes don’t feel we get the same slack given to us; which is mostly okay too; but is also just a bit “meh” sometimes.

Jen sums it up well throughout said post; but this paragraph probably best covers it:

We as a bunch who share the commonality of a defunct pancreas are powerful, and vocal, and ALIVE, thanks to our own hourly efforts. We don’t get congratulated for those efforts – nor am I asking for that. We don’t wear our pumps on our foreheads, or hold our injections aloft for the world to see like a badge of honour. Mostly because it would just really make your arm ache. We don’t receive too much concern over our plight, aside from those who love us enough and are patient enough to choose to share the plight with us.

This is, for the most part, a silent battle. A battle we weren’t told we were entering until we were suddenly fighting every day to save our own lives.

A battle that doesn’t ever end, and one in which the parameters, tactics and ‘correct’ choices are constantly changing. You know, just to keep things interesting.

None of the above means that three years in, its all doom & gloom; far from it. The sun is starting to come out to play again, and I’m going to marry my most wonderful man in just under three months (YAY!) – and my last HbA1c was my best for yonks / frikkin’ amazeballs (even if I do say so myself) — I guess though, on a day you’re pondering how life threw you a massive curveball, its good to reflect on the whole shebang.

Would I change my life as it is right now? Hell no.

Would I send my pancreas a text back if I could? Hell yes.

And it would say – I love you. We were so good together. I can live without you: but it sucks. If you’re listening, please come back.


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