Thursday, May 16, 2013

D-Blog Week 2013 Day #4: Accomplishments Big and Small

Today's prompt:

We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you've made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small - think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.).

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Hands down, my biggest diabetes accomplishment is going on an insulin pump.

For years, I was skeeved out by the entire concept. I was the kind of diabetic who was doing all my fingersticks manually - no kerchunker for me, thankyouverymuch - and I was running perfectly acceptable A1cs on MDI. Why on earth would I want to change what was already working for me? And who in their right mind would want a piece of plastic embedded under their skin?! I had a whole list of why the pump was so horrifying: embedded sets, loud and awful inserters, my skin's intense reaction to most kinds of adhesive, my propensity for scarring, and, most terrible, wearing a physical reminder of my disease 24/7. My list was lengthy, but the truth is that I was terrified of the infusion sets. (Again, I was doing manual finger sticks, and had been for more than 15 years.) The pump was my diabetes bogeyman.

But then I had an endo appointment to discuss the idea of me eventually getting pregnant. My doctor told me I had two options, since Lantus wasn't approved for pregnancy: I could go back on an NPH regimen or I could start on an insulin pump. Apparently, NPH is an even bigger diabetes bogeyman.

I did hours of research online. I signed up for "Thinking about the Pump?" classes at the Berrie Center. I dutifully went and sat through the class, B by my side. My skin was crawling the entire time, I was nervous and anxious and trying to maintain my calm, and failing miserably. When the poor CDE running the class got out some infusion sets so we could try them, I got the sweats. As the only actual diabetic in the class, I went first. I walked up, the CDE stuck the infusion set to me, and I tried to brace myself for the harpoon. I was so worked up about the impending kerchunk that when the CDE made a slight movement I actually slapped her hands away - she laughed, but I was mortified.

The infusion set was eventually put in and it was, of course, not as awful as I'd imagined. B, trooper that he is, got one too. And then we went out for margaritas, I got a little drunk, and I cried while telling B "You know what the saddest thing is? That this won't be a big deal. I'll do it because I have to, and I know I can handle it even if I don't want to. But in six months, a year, five years, that I did it won't be a big deal - my fear will seem silly."

Well, it's been nearly four years and I can honestly say that my fears were silly - the pump is not nearly as horrifying as I'd thought. BUT. It is still a big deal that I did it. I was legitimately terrified of the pump, and I forced myself to confront that. Going head to head with something that scares the pants off you will never be anything but a big deal.

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  1. Yay! That's a huge accomplishment :-) Congrats.

  2. I would have thought that the accomplishment you referenced in passing as "eventually" in the third paragraph would trump the accomplishment of starting an insulin pump. Seriously, your daughter brings about more smiles, laughs, and candid photos than an insulin pump ever would.

    But I guess one had to happen before the other, so I kinda see your logic here. You've done well with both accomplishments.

  3. Congratulation! Keep that positive thinking alive! Stay happy and live a successful life. Diabetes can't not stop you from doing anything you want.