My Thoughts on Moving from MA to VA

In the last few weeks, I’ve told most people in my life that I will be moving to Virginia (from Massachusetts) at the end of March. I have a lot of feelings about making the move: anxiety, excitement, anticipation, fear, optimism, and curiosity are chief among them.

And naturally, one of my top concerns is how my diabetes will adjust to my move. I imagine that the first week or so will be the most challenging. Between moving boxes and setting things up inside, I’ll be doing quite a bit of strenuous physical activity. It’s not that I’m not used to it (I exercise pretty much every day), or that I’ll have to do it alone (my boyfriend, who I’m moving in with, is going to help). It’s more so that I’m worried about the emotions I’ll be experiencing as I go through the moving-in process…and how those emotions will manifest themselves in my blood sugars. The “what ifs” keep running through my mind. What if I have trouble getting my prescriptions? What if I can’t find the right health-care team for me in Virginia? What if my diabetes struggles with the change? What if, what if, what if?

Succulent Sundays
Moving is an emotional process that can affect more than just mental health.

Don’t get me wrong – I really am excited to make this move. I’ve lived in the same small town my entire life, and though my love for it and the people who live there will never waver, it’s time to see what else is out there. And it’s really time to stop sustaining a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend. The last four years have been exhausting as we’ve traveled back and forth to visit each other for fleeting periods of time.

But I do know myself, and I remember quite clearly how I handled going off to college for the first time. I cried. For like, three days straight. I also marveled at the dining halls and the endless options available to me. Translation? I let my emotions drive my food choices and, in turn, my blood sugars suffered. But then…I started getting into a routine. I ate meals more regularly. I started exercising. I kept my mind occupied. And I started meeting new people and forming friendships that I cherish to this day. I grew from a naive teenager into a young adult with her shit *somewhat* together who started to accept a lot more responsibility in life. I finally became accountable for my diabetes in a way that I never was before, and even though it scared me initially, I recognize that it was ultimately exactly what I needed to do.

So I’m seeing the parallels here between my transition to college and my current transition with this move. I know that I’ll cry and be scared and miss my family and friends, but I also know that it’ll get easier as I establish my rhythm. The same can be said about my diabetes – it may protest in the beginning and be turbulent and unpredictable, but I’ll tame the savage beast…because I always find a way to.

Here’s to a new chapter in my life, one marked by more independence, self-growth, and positive change. And my goodness, here’s to frequent flier miles and the fact that home will always be one short plane ride away. Massachusetts can’t get rid of me that easily.

Advertisements

An Incident I Won’t Forget

Low blood sugars are funny. Not ha-ha funny, but peculiar in how they affect me physically and mentally.

A few weeks ago, I had an experience with a particularly scary low. It frightened me so much that I’m only just getting around to writing about it now, because I needed some time to gather my thoughts on what happened.

I’ll set the scene: I was home alone. I had eaten a carb-heavy dinner and decided to do a 30-minute, high-intensity workout. This was definitely far from my best idea ever, because due to the high-carb intake, I had a lot of insulin on board. That, coupled with the exercise, meant that my blood sugar was bound to crash soon after completing the workout.

And it sure did.

16E24606-06FB-447B-90B5-BEF2FA19E4CA
Falling rapidly.

I had just stepped out of the shower and wrapped myself in a towel when I began to feel it. That sudden wave of weakness, shakiness, and dizziness. I walked to my bedroom, grabbed all of my diabetes supplies and my cell phone from my purse, and sank down to the floor with everything in front of me. I knew it would be wise to just sit there for as long as I needed, because I was afraid to go down the stairs (and possibly fall down/hurt myself in the process) in that state.

I checked my CGM, which confirmed that I was dropping quickly. I stared at the screen, panic flooding throughout my body. It occurred to me that I should probably do a finger stick check to make sure I was really that low, so I did, and saw that I was 60 mg/dL.

 

4219504D-CA13-4224-B5BA-9C90BB58F79D
The scene of the incident.

Now, I’ve absolutely been lower than 60 before. It’s never a pleasant experience. But rather than using that as a comforting thought, I couldn’t help but dwell on how terrible I felt and how frightened I was to be home alone with at least four more units of insulin still working in my system.

All I could do was chew four glucose tablets, suspend my insulin delivery, and wait.

In that period of time, I was totally immobilized.

I’ll never forget how alone I felt, how out of control I felt.

I felt powerless against my diabetes. My own body.

I’ll never forget the fear that consumed me, that nearly prevented me from helping myself in this situation.

I’ll never forget texting my mother and my boyfriend, telling them what was happening, and expressing how scared I felt.

I’ll never forget bursting into tears when they didn’t reply quickly enough.

I’ll never forget turning to my T1D Twitter buddies for help by sending a tweet about what was happening, or how swiftly and comfortingly they responded to me.

And I’ll never forget how I let my mind drift as I wondered whether I’d be okay.

It sounds totally dramatic, especially for a low that, in the grand scheme of things, could’ve been much worse. I can admit that.

But I can also admit that this is one of the few times in my life that I felt truly terrified of my diabetes, and swept up in the fact that things can change so quickly with this condition that it can quite literally knock you off your feet.

Obviously, I recovered just fine that night. The glucose tablets did their trick and my low symptoms subsided. It took longer for me to calm myself down, to breathe normally, non-panicky breaths. At least my puppy was around to soothe me.

I was fine, I will be fine. But I won’t forget this incident, ever.

T1D and the Workplace: Feeling Envious of Coworkers with Professional Pancreases

I’m envious of people with functioning pancreases.

It goes without saying, but they don’t have to worry about all the things that PWD have to worry about. They can live life with a little more spontaneity. They don’t have to do as much math. They don’t have to lug around test kits and glucose tablets and strips and needles and whatnot at all times. They don’t have to hide their emergency snack stashes from their coworkers – well, okay, maybe they do, depending on some office environments.

They don’t have to worry about minute things, like “is my pod going to start beeping” or “is my blood sugar going to go low or high” during a very important meeting with a very very high-up executive.

EEE38767-FD48-471B-B93B-FF79827F5B8C
Conference room or anxiety-inducing room?

I’m envious of my coworkers, who were able to just sit there and listen to the executive speak when he made a special visit to the office last week. I was as attentive as I could be throughout the nearly 90-minute meeting, but I was definitely a bit anxious in there without any of my devices. I’d left them all at my desk to avoid awkward questions from the executive. I’m sure he wouldn’t have minded their presence, had he known they were medical devices, but still…I just didn’t want to deal with it.

I’m envious that a meeting is just a meeting to some people, but for a person with diabetes like me, it can trigger fear and concern and a gamut of other emotions regarding blood sugar/diabetes issues in the workplace alone – forget other social situations.

It goes to show that diabetes is never far from my mind, even in situations when I really want or need it to be. I wish my diabetes knew how to act more professionally.

But I guess from practically the beginning, my diabetes – or shall I say, my pancreas – was unprofessional. After all, my pancreas quit on me only four years into the job.

What a lazy jerk.