I had been trying to find a name for my diabetes blog for a long time when one day, out of nowhere, “Blood Sugar Trampoline” popped into my head and it wouldn’t leave. It couldn’t, because I was already in love with it. I could feel it!
Why? For me, living with type 1 diabetes feels like being on a trampoline, the Blood Sugar Trampoline. Everyone is on the Blood Sugar Trampoline, however, people who do not have diabetes don’t realise they are on it. They just go about their business and their bodies take care of their bouncing blood sugars.
It’s only when that doctor sat down in my hospital room and told me that I had type 1 diabetes and would have it for the rest of my life. Suddenly, I saw it, as plain as day. And, what was effortlessly done before my diagnosis is now a task I have to work at to try to achieve.
BUT, it’s not at all liberating or energizing, as you might imagine bouncing on a trampoline might be. I was given targets. I could only bounce so high and so low - I now had to bounce between these imaginary lines.
All that bouncing! If nothing ever happened to me in my life I might be able to achieve bouncing within my targets but what quality of life would that be?
I started bouncing and maybe, I even a bounced consistently within the lines, or did I? No, I did not because then I realised that this was happening!
Blood Sugar Influencers from Within
And I'm in the middle (hypothetically). Each little rascal here represents some of the 22 factors, YES, TWENTY TWO factors, that influence blood sugar levels, from within your own body. Some of those are; Insulin, Food, Activity, Illness, Medication, All the hormones; adrenaline, cortisol, menstruation, growth, and so on. Check out the list here. A huge Thanks to Adam Brown from Diatribe for putting them together.
And just like children they have no spacial awareness, they get underfoot, knocking you over, and they are unpredictable. A lot of these blood sugar influences I have no control over and have no way to measure them. Now, it’s more difficult to stay within those targets but possible if I work even harder at it.
Blood Sugar Influencers from Outside
There are people standing guard around this Blood Sugar Trampoline because there is no protective net. Gasp! These people represent all the relationships in my life; my family, my extended family, my friends, my work, my social life, travelling, and other events.
They don’t realise it but they all have little white ping pong balls and they’re throwing them at me! Hard!
At this point, I hope that you can feel the intensity of this imagery, the exhaustion from all that bouncing and the relentlessness. Remember, I am on this Blood Sugar Trampoline for the rest of my life. I’ve already been on it for 23 years. Some days, I just sit there and let it all happen. I’m too tired to do diabetes today. But then I remember all that I have to live for and that I want to keep going for 40 more! So I get up and start again.
Sustaining the bouncing is the hard part of diabetes for me. The things you see of diabetes, such as my blood sugar checks, taking my insulin, occasionally checking the graph on my insulin pump. They’re not that hard part of diabetes. But the daily slog, the relentless decision making and calculating of insulin, carbohydrate, physical activity, the anxiety around blood sugars dropping too low not that’s the hardest part.
Diabetes - The Complete Picture
I have presented you with a very visual idea of what living with type 1 diabetes feels like for me.
But in reality, diabetes is not visual - it’s invisible. All of this exhaustion and this relentlessness is all contained inside my head.
BUT, even though it’s difficult, challenging, relentless and exhausting. I’m still grateful for it. I’m alive and I’m doing everything I can to thrive with diabetes.