Diabetes sucks and other things you should know

There are so many things I would love to tell you about diabetes. I could tell you about the disease, what it feels like to live with it, and what I have to do every single day to keep my health up to par. I could tell you about research studies and medical breakthroughs. I could give you statistics and quotes.

But you might hear the facts and quickly forget them, because what really matters to you goes beyond those things. So I’m going to talk to you as if you were my best friend, and tell you what you really need to know.   

Five things I need you to know about diabetes

It really doesn’t go away. Some people with type 2 diabetes might be able to embark on diet and exercise to keep their numbers under control, but for many of us, it takes more than that. There are all sorts of folk remedies that you might want to mention as a cure for what's ailing me, but trust me – if it really worked, everyone would be doing it. I have accepted diabetes as a part of my life; I need you to accept it as a part of me.

When I’m grouchy, irritable and upset, it’s not your fault. To say I am easy going is an understatement. I have an optimistic attitude, my glass is always half full and my heart is always open. So when I snap at you, throw things across the room or start cursing over something completely benign, it means my blood sugar is on a wicked high.

It’s not you – it's me. Really. I apologize in advance for hurting your feelings, and I thank you for being patient and understanding with me.

If I seem confused, don’t panic – just get juice. A blood sugar low sounds like a very scary thing. And I won’t lie to you – it can be frightening to watch. But it can also be remedied. Buying a set of juice boxes is one of the most loving things you can do for me. Keep them in the back corner of your fridge and put a few in your car.

If I start acting weird, ask me how my blood sugar is doing. Insist that I check it – if I balk, really insist. If it’s low, whip out that juice box. I will never be able to thank you enough.

I really can eat that. You might watch me down that margarita at lunch and wonder if it’s okay to do that. You might see me have a slice of your birthday cake and suddenly start to worry. There is a simple answer to this: Trust me.

Trust that I have accounted for what that sweet cake or lovely drink might do to my body, and I have adjusted my insulin accordingly. And if you are really worried, go ahead and ask. I would rather answer your question than let you worry in silence.

Sometimes I just have to vent. Here is a universal truth: Diabetes sucks.

There are good days when it seems tolerable, but there are bad days when I could describe diabetes with words that are not suitable for a public blog. On those days, I need to talk, rant, rave and sometimes even cry. When you listen to me without judging me, you are proving what a true friend you are.

Yes, diabetes sucks. But you make it easier.

About Shannon Lee

Shannon Lee has lived with diabetes for seventeen years. When she's not playing ninja with lancets or counting carbs, she can be found traveling across the country with laptop in hand, writing about anything that strikes her fancy.

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