oxygen

Mmm. Hey y’all.

Overwhelmed. Pretty much the word that best describes me lately. But I do have some encouraging news! Overall, the past week has been a lot better for me emotionally. Physically, it changes so much that it’s hard to say. I’ve been hypoglycemic every day (real low dropping sugar levels) and my varying sugar levels have made me sick and quite exhausted. But, feeling better emotionally has helped me get through the tough physical times. 

Something that I need to stop doing is reading all the statistics. I read one this past weekend that says I probably won’t make it past the age of 40. If this is true, that means my life is halfway over. Do you know how depressing that feels to think about at age 20? It feels pretty damn bad. So, since I didn’t want to feel bad about that, I decided not to let it bother me. Those statistics are so broad and probably filled with misinformation.

If I focus so much on all the bad things that could happen, how can I ever truly embrace life? I can’t. If I only focus on the negative, I will never be free. Yeah, I will never be free from type 1 diabetes (unless there’s a cure), but I can chose to be free from the negative nature of my mind. I’ll still have bad days. But I can work on letting it get to the point where I’m depressed or thinking of harming myself.

Lately, I have guilty of getting mad at people without T1D. When people say “oh, sorry, forgot you can’t eat that” or “you’re fine by now, right?” I just become the feistiest little gal. My brain goes, “YES. YES I CAN EAT THAT. I CAN EAT WHATEVER I WANT BECAUSE I HAVE TYPE 1, NOT TYPE 2! I JUST HAVE TO SEE HOW MANY CARBS I EAT SO I KNOW HOW MUCH INSULIN TO SHOOT MYSELF WITH” or “NO I’M NOT FINE YOU IDIOT. IT’S BEEN 3.5 WEEKS SINCE MY DIAGNOSIS.” But, that is so unfair of me to do. They don’t know any better. Hell, I was super ignorant of this disease before I had it. The way type 1 diabetes makes you feel is unlike anything anyone could understand, unless they have it. 

I was talking about this with a co-worker and fellow type 1 diabetic yesterday. Some days, it feels impossible to get out of bed. The exhaustion I feel from fighting this disease 24/7 is huge sometimes. But, I still get up. And I try my best to get up and feel genuinely grateful. I definitely am grateful. I have been blessed immensely, and I can’t believe how lucky I am. Just some days are harder than others. But it’s a learning process. And I’m learning bit by bit each day. 

One more thing that I’m feeling guilty for and upset about. Insulin can make you gain weight. Insulin is making me gain weight. 5 pounds so far, to be exact. And, in true Audra fashion, I AM FREAKING OUT. I am running at least 3 miles a day and eating healthy, so it makes no sense how I could possibly be gaining. I have talked to other diabetics, and have learned this is normal and I’ll be able to lose the weight once I’m more regulated. But I still cry in front of the mirror and scale. I currently can’t zip my wedding dress by myself. I know the way I’m feeling about this right now is bad, and I am ashamed. But as I said earlier, I’m learning y’all. 

Brian has been very helpful and encouraging by helping me keep my mind and my heart focused on Christ and helping me find the beauty in God’s creation (a.k.a. ME.) And he’s been working out with me and being my personal trainer by showing me his Tough Mudder workouts! (My abs feel the burn today.) My mom and the rest of my family (especially my T1D cousin, Ally,) have also been incredibly encouraging. They keep reminding me that my weight is secondary to my health and my health will falter if I don’t shoot my insulin. I know that I am active and eat healthy…I know that’s all that should matter. But my old Ana/Mia mind is getting to me. 

I’m getting there y’all. I really am. 

Physically, I may not have it together. But I am fighting my emotions every second, and I can tell a difference. God is fighting my battles for me; I’m just leaning on Him for the strength to power through the day. 

Thank you for your prayers and for not passing judgement. 

xoxo

Audge

Buckle Up! You’re About to Ride the Audge Coaster.

Alright, today is a confession session.

ATTENTION: THE PARAGRAPHS BELOW ARE RAW, REAL, VULNERABLE EMOTIONS AND SOMEWHAT CONFUSING RAMBLINGS.

I still haven’t been able to process all of my feelings; this post will help me to do this further.

Here goes. Please try not to judge me and please hear me out. I’m about to be raw with you.

People keep telling me that I’m handling this diagnosis of type 1 diabetes with dignity and that I’m taking it so well. Sorry y’all, I’m not.  

severely wish that I was kidding about that, and I strive every single day to be positive and give it to God. But I have been so full of anger, frustration, selfpity, and extreme fear these past 3 weeks. No matter what I try to do, I seem to still feel all these things.

It’s not constant, not every minute. But it’s a cycle, and it seems to change by the hour.

One minute, I’m fine with it. Super positive about managing it and learning everything. Then the next minute, I’m calling it “such bullshit” and insulting the “stupid insurance company and doctors who don’t care about me.”

(Granted, my doctor has been very disappointing, and even the nurses at her office were stunned when they found out that she has lied to me and literally told me NOTHING about my condition and how to improve it. But that’s not an excuse for my childish attitude.)

I wish I could just be truly at peace with it and positive about it. But I’m learning that going through this cycle of emotions is normal and, get this, healthy. 

WHAT?

Apparently, when you’re diagnosed with a life-threatening chronic illness, you typically experience the 5 stages of grief. That surprised me when I learned that. But I guess it makes sense. I’m grieving the more “free’ life that I’ll never have: a life without getting blood on my favorite dress, without multiple daily shots, without terrifying episodes of too high or too low sugar levels…the list goes on…

It’s true that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

I’m grieving for my future grandchildren who are destined to get it because of me. I’m grieving  the burden that Brian already is carrying and that my children will bear because of caring for me and for their children who develop it. <–That KILLS me. Sometimes makes me hate myself.

I know that “grieving” about this is healthy, normal, and encouraged. But this feels so unhealthy. I become so filled with rage sometimes that I just cry because I don’t know how else to handle it. I don’t cry often or easy, so it’s been peculiar.

I too frequently ask and exclaim “WHY ME?!” 

How selfish is that? There are people fighting battles with cancer and other terminal illnesses and I have the audacity to think and act like that. <–That DISGUSTS me.

I have gotten into a bad routine. Every single night before I fall asleep, I read through the exhaustive list of complications from my illness that could kill me. Even if you’re doing everything right, diabetes has a mind of its own and will do whatever it wants. I could be managing it perfectly, but still develop a complication(s).

I always like to be prepared for things. I guess that’s where this comes from. It’s almost like an addiction, and I need to start locking up my phone at night or something. I cannot fall asleep without reading all of it. All of the bad things that could happen.

Makes it even scarier when I wake up at 3am with my sugar at 40, I’m borderline unresponsive and I feel like I’m literally dying. But hell, at least I’ll be aware of when I need to go to the ER.

Another bad thing I keep doing is unhealthily obsessing over the possibility of insulin making me gain weight. Anyone who knows me or who has read previous posts of mine knows that I struggled with eating disorders in the past. I am ashamed to admit that I can’t seem to shut up my “eating disorder brain” sometimes. I lost 12 pounds in a week prior to my T1D (type 1 diabetes) diagnosis from my extremely high sugar levels and it was obviously unhealthy, so I’ve been gaining the weight back now that I’m on insulin and starting to regulate. This has made me terrified.

I exercise every day and eat very healthy, but it is very difficult for type 1 diabetics to lose weight. We have to eat every couple hours, and sometimes, you’re so focused on counting carbs and sugar that you forget about calories. I have been trying to combat my ED brain in various ways. It is getting better each day, slowly but surely. I just wish I could stop worrying about it. It’s to the point where I’m not even excited for my last Shoupe family vacation because I am way too insecure to be in a bathing suit. I’m sure this will change as it gets closer to vacation week. But right now, that’s how I feel.

The final thing that I am so embarrassed and ashamed of is my pride issue. Sometimes when life hits me with things like this, I just put myself on autopilot and power through by myself. This always comes crumbling down though because I end up having an emotional breakdown due to pent up feelings.

But the worst part about my pride issue with this disease is that it has made me drift from my faith. Not to the point where I’m straying by any means. I know what I believe. I will always believe and know that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And I will always love my Lord above all else. But unfortunately, in this rocky situation, I keep telling myself I’m fine and I can do it by myself. I’ve been ignoring God because I’m afraid I will start blaming Him for this. After all, He’s the only one who knows why I have this disease.

He has been showing me, though, exactly how lost I am trying to do this without Him. Since HE is the only one who knows why I have been given this obstacle, shouldn’t I be seeking answers through Him and clinging to Him for my strength? Yes. Yes, I should. And I am starting to let go and let Him guide me through this instead of trying to walk right past Him and falling flat on my face like I have been. Oh, sometimes I just hate my human mind and tendencies. But I’m thankful that He never lets me go, and always reminds me of what’s truly important.

Let’s look on the bright side: there really are good days as a T1D. There are days when I feel amazing because my levels are consistent and healthy! It’s not all bad. It’s just very overwhelming. I’m sure that once I’m able to take the diabetes education classes and after my appointment at Cleveland Clinic (the #2 ranked best diabetes care in the nation), I will feel much better.

Diabetes really is manageable. When you know what you’re doing.

Unfortunately, because of my current lack of resources (thanks Smalltown, USA), I still don’t know what I’m doing. But, I’m learning. Through the diabetes online community and through trial and error, I am slowly learning. Sure, there are tons of highs and lows (HAHA, SO PUNNY) and there will continue to be. As I continue processing my emotions, I will still struggle with negative thoughts and attitudes.

But now, I am ready to be proactive. I am ready to change my attitude.

I am ready to adapt and learn and grow so that I can get to the point where this whole T1D thing is just a new normal. Once I stop focusing so much on myself, I’ll be able to use that energy to help other people who have it a lot worse than I do.

I would like to apologize to the people who are struggling with a terminal illness. I seriously cannot imagine what that feels like. I thought this was bad, but I can honestly say I couldn’t handle what you do so beautifully. I am so incredibly sorry for my selfish, self-pitying attitude. I promise to change my attitude and appreciate this life even on the days when I’m scared and frustrated.

Thanks for reading this whole post; hopefully you don’t think I’m a horrible person. I just think honesty is the best way to live a free life, at least for me. I have to get everything off my chest. If any of you can relate to the roller coaster of emotions that I’m experiencing, please contact me!

We are not alone. We are never alone.