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Lipstick and a Smile - Living with Type 1

Today we share a blog from Renza S who is simply amazing. She talks about living with diabetes T1. She writes:

The other night, I cancelled going to a party – a cousin’s kid’s 18th– at the last minute. I seriously never do this. And I absolutely hated doing it.

But I’d had a couple of hypos during the day (Fiasp is absolutely kicking my arse) and I was feeling exhausted. These hypos weren’t what I’ve become used to dealing with (i.e. Loop hypos for me generally look like an alert telling me I’m going to head low, me ignoring it, alert saying I am really about to be low – but not really low because Loop is doing its thing, me having a couple of fruit pastilles, and that’s it). These were the types of hypos that spin me around, turn me upside down and resettle me feeling completely discombobulated. It had been a while.

After the second one, I was so knocked out that I lay down for a bit and ended up getting an hour’s sleep. It was mid-afternoon and when I woke up, I felt no more refreshed.

I contemplated going to the party – I had a shower and started to put on some make up. I looked fine – no different to how I usually look. If I’d gone, no one would have known any different.

Earlier in the day, after I’d already had the first hypo, Aaron had posted a photo of me online. The next day, when I mentioned to someone that I had cancelled plans the evening before thanks to a lousy diabetes day, said ‘Oh. I saw a photo of you online in the morning and you looked great.’

They didn’t mean this in a nasty way, or that they thought I had just cancelled because I couldn’t be bothered going out. It was just a comment. And they were right – I looked exactly the way I would look any other weekend morning when I was having breakfast with family and friends

The next day I was messaging a friend with diabetes and mentioned I’d cancelled my plans at the last minute the night before. ‘Oh babe,’ she said. ‘How’s the hypo hangover?’ and then she detailed all the things that are the inevitable fallout of nasty (and nasty-ish) lows; the things I’d not mentioned to others who’d asked after me.

I told her she had nailed exactly how I was feeling. I told her what had happened, and I didn’t hold back, and I didn’t minimise it. I knew she wouldn’t worry or be unnecessarily concerned or wonder if it was anything more than what it was. I knew she would know – because those feelings are wound into the DNA of diabetes and the people living with it.

Plus, she would know just how I felt about the last-minute cancellation, and feeling that I’d let people down.

‘So, I bet you’re feeling even more crap about cancelling that about the hypos now, right?’ she said.

I laughed. ‘You know it!’ I said to her

‘Don’t you sometimes wish that when you were having a shitty diabetes day it couldn’t be covered up so easily with lipstick and a smile?’ she said, hitting me right in the guts with that comment.

Because she was so right. Lipstick and a smile. That’s every diabetes day. It’s there when I’m feeling great and all is going well; when diabetes is behaving and not impacting on me much at all. And it’s there when I’m feeling crap and diabetes is casting far too large a shadow over my existence for that day. But for most people, they couldn't tell the difference.

You can read Renza's blog posts here.

Resilience - and diabetes

We just love reading Renza's blog post always. This one we had to share.

November 15, 2018 in DiabetesReal life

I’ve been thinking about resilience. Mostly because recently, I had a few days where mine had gone a little AWOL.

My resilience levels affect a lot of what is going on in my life. When I am feeling super hardy, I think clearly, I am logical and common sense prevails. When faced with a situation, I pause, reflect on different options, try harder to consider others’ points of view and make calculated and deliberate choices. I make less impulsive decisions; I regret less; I feel more buoyant and sure of myself, and confident in how I decide to solve what lies ahead.

When resilience slips, I act without considering all options or potential consequences. And I stop doing a lot of the self-care that usually I do without too much thought. I sleep less; I eat less well. I become less risk-averse, realising – often too late – that the way I acted was not the smartest way, or I do  something that I may regret later. Sometimes I catch myself before it happens, sometimes I don’t.

And it spirals. Because then the worry and concern about the way I reacted starts to play on my mind. And I stop doing what is best for me. I read things into the situation that aren’t there. I second guess myself. Spiral, spiral, spiral…

In diabetes, that reduced resilience plays out in the same ways, just with a diabetes-specific bent. I become a little reckless in the way I bolus – leaving it too late, making guesstimates that I hope won’t cause too many problems, of just plain forget. I ignore alerts and alarms, or silence them by making a quick, but not necessarily smart move. I don’t stop and think and try to understand the situation – I just act. Or I don’t act…I do nothing.

And, of course, in the way of diabetes, that spirals too. Rollercoaster glucose levels prevail as I can do nothing more than chase the impulsive decisions I’ve been making. I stop thinking about the overall picture, instead dealing with the immediate situation at hand.

All of this because I don’t have the resilience stores – the energy, the clarity, the right state of mind – to help guide me through the necessary process, but I need or want to do something … just for the sake of doing something.

I have a wise friend who has provided me counsel during these periods – including this most recent one. As I was jumping in from every which way trying to resolve a situation, she listened, and then gently suggested I take a breath, take a pause and take a step back. ‘Let it marinate. Don’t do anything right now. Just wait a bit.’

Read the rest of Renza's post here.

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