Living with diabetes comes with many extra details in various aspects of life that we have to think about and plan for. For me, the way I think about these little bits and pieces frames my attitude towards living with diabetes.
Some of these daily decisions that people without diabetes may take for granted:
- Healthy eating
Since starting on an insulin pump, I need to count the amount of carbohydrates in my meals and snacks to calculate the amount of insulin it needs to cover it. With counting carbs, I need to think about what the food is made from so I can make some sort of a guess. Additionally, the way foods are cooked, what its GI is and its fibre, fat and protein content all impacts the carb counting and insulin calculation process.
- Physical activity
Before we do any exercise, some of the thoughts that run through my head are when, how much and what I last ate, how much active insulin I may still have on board, what my current BG is and what activity I am about to do and for how long. (don’t forget the 12 hour post exercise effect on BGs!)
As much as I love my pump, one of the biggest considerations I’ve had to keep in mind is where I put it with different outfits. It’s okay if I’m wearing a skirt or pants and I have something I can clip my pump on to. But I’m often wearing dresses, which really restricts options, especially as not many dresses have pockets. (c’mon, it’s time to fix this guys!)
Life with a chronic condition comes with a plethora of appointments. Keeping on top of them requires either taking a lot of time out from work/study, being lucky enough to have flexible healthcare professionals to see you outside of business hours or having a flexible workplace. Then there’s also the stack of diabetes medication and equipment you need to coordinate to buy and store. (goodbye butter compartment, hello insulin storage!)
Over the years I have developed systems to the ensure that things run smoothly. It’s also important that I put some buffer periods because when I’m feeling burnt out or have too much going on, it lets me work up the energy to get those tasks done.
Sure these are all chores, just like housework can be considered a chore and maybe burdensome. But I wouldn’t call it a burden. These are just things I need to do to live my best life. The word ‘burden’ and ‘chore’ adds a negative spin on living with diabetes. Life is diabetes is tough enough, I don’t need additional negative language to remind me about it.