Diabetes is the definition of insanity

It’s officially Diabetes Blog Week! I’m looking forward to contributing to the conversation as many days this week as possible. Today’s prompt is:

Diabetes can sometimes seem to play by a rulebook that makes no sense, tossing out unexpected challenges at random.  What are your best tips for being prepared when the unexpected happens?  Or, take this topic another way and tell us about some good things diabetes has brought into your, or your loved one’s, life that you never could have expected?

Albert Einstein is credited with saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The whole concept of doing to the same thing over and getting different results sounds more than a little like life with type 1 diabetes. I can do the exact same things each day, at the exact same time and eat exactly the same foods, taking exactly the same amount of insulin and my numbers will never be the same.

Type 1 diabetes = insanity. I do the same thing over and over and have to expect a different result otherwise I will literally go insane. This disease is maddening, especially if you’re like me and have a healthy appreciation for order. These past five years I’ve learned some tough lessons in flexibility, discipline and taking deep breaths.

I’d like to hit both points in the prompt and give you the best return on your time for reading my first DBlog Week post.

Expecting the Unexpected

How do you prepare to deal things that you don’t expect? Well, you try your hardest to determine every scenario and then figure it out from there. When it comes to diabetes, you can’t expect everything, you just have to be flexible and resourceful. For me, that often means carrying a massive purse.

There are some things that you can’t prepare for, but when it comes to supplies, I CAN have everything with me that I need. The same goes for traveling, I bring more than twice what I will need to keep from running out. The physical unexpected is easy to prepare for in this sense.

When I was first diagnosed with type 1, I thought I was doomed to a future full of needles, measuring food, counting carbs and feeling thirsty all the time. The food and needles all kind of faded into the monotony of daily life and I discovered that my thirst would finally return to some semblance of normal after I was out of DKA and re-hydrated. What I didn’t expect was the way people would react to my diabetes and the incredibly stupid things that people would say… even people who should know better.

When it comes to the standard ignorant comments and questions, I have canned answers. Comfortable, simple explanations that keep me from being caught off guard and stumbling for a response. The other ones are when the deep breathing lessons come in handy, calming breaths can help with a myriad of things. As I write this, I’m still taking deep breaths from a statement by someone who should know better that diabetes is a choice. If someone has said this to you or about you behind your back, it hurts. There was no way to prepare for it and of the people it was said to, I was not hurt the most. I’m not ready to dig more into this right now, but this type of crap happens to people with chronic illness every single day.

Positive Side Effects?

Does diabetes have any positive side effects? Absolutely! Because of my diagnosis of diabetes and the way I live my life, I became so much more aware of the foods I was eating, I’ve made some wonderful friends whom I’d have never met if it weren’t for this disease and my ability to have compassion for others has deepened.

Most clouds have a silver lining as the cliche goes. It’s a wonderful trait to be able to see the elements of goodness that can come from something as awful as diabetes. The positives may not outweigh the negatives, but they to make it just a little easier. I’m thankful for my improved lifestyle, my wonderful friends and an ever-deepening well of compassion for others… as well as the motivation to stand up for others who may not be ready to do so for themselves.

Generally speaking, you can’t just keep doing the same things over and over and expect your results to be different. But with diabetes, you can. When you live with a disease that is influenced by a million invisible variables, you must expect different results.

What about you? How do you prepare for the unexpected, whether you live with diabetes or not?

Check out the other posts on this topic here.

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