About This Diabetic (Revised Again)

So much has happened in two years. About three weeks after my last post, my dog Rocky passed away. He was diabetic, too, but it was cancer that took him. Being heartbroken and wanting to give another pup a good home, I found Tallulah (the fuzzy brown thing on the right–Omar is still with me, nervously lying at the bottom of the dog pile). I finished my BA in English (yay!), got divorced (so now I’m Ratner again and don’t you dare judge me for it–life is hard enough without harsh judgement), earned my MA in English and Creative Writing (another yay!), and got some works published (woot!). I also wrote a beginner’s guide on managing diabetes, which will be posted a chapter at a time here (first chapter coming soon). Of course, I still have this fucking disease and I’m guessing if you’re here, you do, too. So, onto the next phase. As I pursue a teaching position, because what else would I do with a MA in English and Creative Writing, I pick my blog back up, wipe off the glucose-tainted dust, and move onward with life. But now, it won’t be just diabetes. Because diabetes isn’t the only thing in my life. There is so much more. I hope you’ll join me. And feel free to chime in whenever you want. By the way, now I’m 37 and when the fuck did that happen?!

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Me and my pups, Omar and Tallulah.

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Rocky (or Rocky Road, Rock-Rock, Rock, and Little Shit)

Passed June 15th, 2015.

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421666_1921243886183_2041185260_n Me and my pup, Omar.

I wrote the “About” page below about one and half years ago. A lot has changed since then but much has also stayed the same. These days, my name is Melissa Steck. I am now 34 and using an insulin pump – the Omnipod – and despite the controversy around it, overall I am very pleased with it. It is easier to control my BGL with the fine tuning the pump allows me to utilize for my basal settings. My A1C has dropped to 6.0. My blood work shows that I am basically a normal functioning human – almost like I don’t even have Diabetes on paper. I work very hard to maintain that. I had to learn on my own many things that my doctor, any doctor I have seen along the way, should have shared with me. I remember the frustration of not knowing what to eat, what goals to set, and where to go to find more information. I didn’t know what tools to use or even that there WERE tools to use. And so, with the mountain of knowledge I have gathered up since August 11, 2011, I have decided to do what I can to help others so they may hopefully be able to arm themselves faster and more effectively to deal with and manage their diabetes. I hope that you will find hope and help here. Please feel free to comment on posts or  to message me with questions at lettertoadiabetic@gmail.com. I will share them and my responses, anonymously, on the blog.

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My name is Melissa Ratner. I am 32 years old. Last summer I discovered that I have adult onset Type I Diabetes. My pancreas decided to strike. Every day I have to check my blood sugar a minimum of 7 times. I have to inject myself with insulin a minimum of 4 times for a minimum of 11 needles per day in my fingers and injections sites. I’m covered in bruises and track marks at my injection sites. I have to count every carb. I have to record every number, injection, and reaction. I live my life 2 hours at a time (at most). I am aware of the complications and increased health risks associated with Diabetes. I went through fear, anger, depression, empowerment, confusion, and finally gave in to feeling completely overwhelmed. I broke down. I couldn’t function. I couldn’t feel anything but the anger and the injustice and the frustration. I hated people for eating. I hated people for not having to hurt themselves to have a meal. I hated people for not having a diseased body. I understand what it means to live with an invisible illness that few understand or take seriously. I understand that my life expectancy has shrunk, and that my quality of life is severely challenged. Everything is different now.

And here’s the most noteworthy thing I can say about my life right now. I can laugh. I can smile. And I think that there are some jokes about diabetes that are so funny I almost pee my pants. Some people think it’s poor taste to joke about diabetes but I need to laugh. Some days that’s all I got. 

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