"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."

-- The Dalai Lama

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

For Kristine: All About Having Diabetes

Kristine asks:
what has been the hardest thing about adjusting to your illness?

While there have been numerous challenges to deal with, one stands out the most: The necessity of having to give myself insulin shots.

Before I was diagnosed with diabetes I could not imagine touching a syringe, or even having one too near me. It may sound as if I am exaggerating, but I really am being sincere.

During the first few days of being awake in the hospital I'm sure I was given lots of shots, but I don't really remember having to deal with these. Thank goodness for morphine. J, my mom and my sister were of course extremely concerned about the fact that I would now have to deal with syringes every day, knowing about my phobia as they did.

The day came when I had to administer my own injection for the first time. As I sat there in my hospital bed, the nurse holding the syringe out to me, every thought in me was dedicated to coming up with some way to avoid touching it. I tried very hard to convince myself that there simply was no way this could be real. It was just too absurd.

However, the nurse kept on existing, and the syringe kept on existing, and finally reality made its way in. I realized that it came down to the simple decision of: "Do this, or die." No drama, no crying (well, maybe a little crying), that's just how it was. So, feeling very detached from my body, I saw myself take the syringe and - in perhaps the most drawn out fashion ever - finally gave myself my own insulin shot.

The emotions that flooded over me afterward were very intense: Relief. Fear of having to relive this multiple times every day for the rest of my life. Fatigue. A great need for presents.

Now, just about two months later, the process is pretty much a breeze. I have no psychological aversion to looking at the syringes, touching them, or even to giving myself the shots. Of course, it's still no picnic, and never will be, but it's no big deal now. Amazing.

Later: Another diabetes related question. I know you can't wait!


kristine said...

excellent post.

Josh said...

Ick, I hate needles. Just reading that post made me light-headed.

It's good to hear you eventually got over the phobia. I can't imagine how terrible it was before you got over it.

Again, ick.

Whitney said...

i do dislike needles, too. the thought of doing that, with all of the pokes in one day. good for you, with your great attitude. i can now see why you already have a man in loooooooooooove with you. *sigh*
i just hope that i can reverse my current symptoms of possibly having diabetes. it skipped a generation apparently and it killed my grandmother's only sister and her mom had it too. my dad is fat as anything [mean but true] and has a terrible diet, even though we have been trying to help him to stop his bad habits. i've been showing mucho symptoms in the other direction [losing buttloads of weight really fast without any reason/excuse]. I guess i'll get checked for it at the end of the semester if not sooner. *fingers crossed*
again, great attitude, really admirable!


Shannon said...

Kristine: Thanks! :)

Josh: I'm so sorry for being too graphic!

Whitney: If you are losing weight, please, please go and get yourself checked, especially with your family history. And thanks for the nice comments :)

Whitney said...

What kind of symptoms did you have that made you feel like getting yourself checked out for diabetes?


Shannon said...

I had lots of symptoms: Severe weight loss, crazy intense thirst, increased hunger, etc. but I never went to "get myself checked out" - I ended up in the hospital in a coma. I almost didn't make it out. :(

I have type 1 diabetes (the kind unrelated to obesity - you can't "give yourself" type 1) and had no family history of diabetes.