I got a notification today that this site has reached 50 views! Incentive to add to my story.
My reason for going public on what is a very private (lonely) matter is to reach others who may be suffering a similar fate. We all have emotions, and these emotions may be easily released while others are deep. I always felt I was “out there” with my feelings but diabetes has shed a light on just how unaware I am of what I truly feel. Let me explain…
I was diagnosed with diabetes at age 45, and my A1C (a three-month average of glucose levels) was 9%. That’s well past pre-diabetes, and well into full diabetes. I don’t blame doctors that I wasn’t diagnosed earlier — I had no indicators that it would pop up. None in my immediate family were diabetic. I was of a healthy weight and active. My main health issue at that time were headaches, which lingered for several days. I also suffered from periodic bouts of depression. And as I look back now, I recognize that anxiety prevailed throughout my life.
What’s interesting is how infrequently doctors ask diabetic patients about their childhood. But to be truthful, even if my doctor had asked if I had a happy childhood, I would have said YES! At the time, that’s what I believed to be true. My memories of growing up on the waterfront, exploring the shore with the family dog Jiggs, still bring a smile to my face. But why was I always alone? The youngest of three, I was accustomed to being isolated. I made it work. It was my form of normal. I wonder how many others view their past though the lens of family dysfunction being normalized.
I was well into adulthood when I learned how to hug, how the head to left shoulder of the other person is custom. I never connected this new insight as a sign of an abnormal upbringing. It wasn’t until I dated one particular guy that I learned it’s rude to say hello as a greeting. He insisted we say hello with a hug and a kiss. Such gestures were unheard of in our family. I never touched my siblings. My parents rarely hugged their children, and when they did Jiggs would bark in alarm, fearing his kids were in danger.
Because expressions of love were scant, I sought love from Jiggs and whatever cats we had at the time. Animals soak up affection, even crave it. The dog would put a paw on my foot as a way of saying “Keep it up! I’m haven’t had enough!”
As I said earlier, it was a continuous glucose monitor that offered me an insight into my stress responses. Knowledge is power. I’ve learned my buried emotions like fear or anger influence my blood glucose the most, without my conscious knowledge.
For a long while, I would go through periods where my glucose would ride high. I would inject insulin and it seemed to have no effect. I’d wonder if my insulin had gone bad. It took huge amounts to bring the glucose out of the stratosphere. My frustration and fear would compound the situation. And then, recently, I realized what was happening. I had an appointment with an endocrinologist, a diabetes educator, and a counsellor who runs an online somatic course I’d subscribed to. I told all three I believed my glucose response to be emotional and all three clearly thought I was bonkers. Following each appointment, I had three days of glucose hell before things calmed down. It took my connecting the dots between the outcome of these interactions with my glucose for me to realize that I’m really angry — FURIOUS — when people don’t believe me. And I’m an expert on my body. Yet they seemed to dismiss my assertions that there’s a strong emotional link to my blood sugar response.
It’s affirming that my body only confirmed my theory by cranking up the glucose after each of these interactions. My body seems to confirm, time and again, that what I say is true.
Now I meet these challenges with calm. I reflect back on what might have caused these elevations in glucose and I wait for them to return to normal. They will. It just takes a few days, that’s all.
The learning continues. I’ll check in again soon. In the meantime, I’d welcome any thoughts from those in the same boat.