5 Confessions of an Imperfect T1D

Newsflash: I’m not a perfect T1D. Shocker, I know!

Every so often, I like to remind myself that perfection is impossible, especially when it comes to my diabetes. But all my life, I’ve yearned for it in a hopeless pursuit. I agonized over essays before submitting them for grading in high school and college. I have a penchant for baking, which requires precision in order to be successful. And I’ve done virtually everything I can do to get and maintain “perfect” blood sugar levels at all times. Which of those named feats sound the most fruitless?

So to help remind myself that T1D shouldn’t be about perfection, I decided to compile a list of “confessions” about my not-so-perfect T1D tendencies. I think it’s important for me to share them here, since we are in an age of showcasing diabetes “wins” over “failures”: Straight, in-range CGM graphs, A1cs below 6%, balancing a social life with a career and family and other responsibilities ON TOP OF diabetes…these things should be celebrated, but we also shouldn’t forget about the lessons we learned along the way to help us get to these points of dia-winning. Plus, projecting an air of perfectionism at all times is just absurd and we all need a reality check sometimes, myself included.

The Missing PDM (and the Panic That Followed)
Remember Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen? This post is like that except with more diabetes.

Here are my five confessions. Which ones can you relate to?

5. Sometimes, I conveniently “forget” that I have diabetes and snack freely on food that I shouldn’t, or that I should bolus for. It’s a bit irresponsible of me, but if I notice that my blood sugar is between 90 and 140 or so, I help myself to a little snack from the kitchen. It’s never anything too big; for example, I just ate a mini dark chocolate peanut butter cup because I noticed my blood sugar was 132. But it is almost always something that will make my blood sugar go up a bit, and I need to stop fooling myself into thinking that these snacks are “free”.

4. Until recently, I never had a stash of ketones test strips (out of pure laziness). Ugh, such a diabetes no-no. Someone slap me on the wrist. In my teenage years, though, I found that we’d stock up on ketones strips only for them to expire before I could use, well, any of them. So I thought to myself, why bother buying them if I can’t even get any use out of them? Luckily, I came to my senses just a few weeks ago and realized that it’s always better to be prepared, even if it means spending a few extra bucks unnecessarily.

3. Organization of my diabetes supplies is…lacking. On Instagram, people are constantly showing off their beautifully organized diabetes drawers and bags and pantries…and I have serious envy of their carefully curated supply stashes. I’d describe mine as something more like an organized mess. I’ve got my Dexcom G6 sensors stacked haphazardly in the closet because they don’t fit in my set of three plastic drawers that hold everything else in a total nonsensical manner. When it comes to diabetes, I’ve got higher priorities than organization, even though I do appreciate tidiness in general.

2. Self-control is not a concept that exists to me when my blood sugar is low. I know some people with diabetes who have restraint when their blood sugar goes low: They treat it with around 15 grams of carbohydrates and wait about 15 minutes to make sure that they’re headed in the right direction before doing or eating anything else. Wellll…that is not me, especially in cases when my blood sugar goes low in the middle of the night. I’m not proud of it, but every once in awhile, I’ll roll out of bed (no matter how early or late it is) and head straight to the kitchen to treat a low with cereal and peanut butter and cookies and anything sweet I can get my hands on. It’s not pretty.

1. I take extreme care when it comes to using my diabetes supplies in a sanitary and recommended way, but if there’s one thing I couldn’t care less about, it’s lancets. Ideally, lancets are disposed of and replaced on a routine basis. But…I just…don’t do that. Honestly, I don’t really remember the last time I changed my lancet. I definitely do it at least once a month (which might make some doctors squirm) and usually before I travel somewhere. I don’t know…when it comes to diabetes, there’s so many other things that take a much higher priority in my book. Plus, at least I do change my lancet multiple times throughout the year – I know of some other T1Ds who have ‘fessed up to doing it ONCE a year, on January 1st, and that’s it! God love ’em. I know I do for their blatant honesty!

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