Revolving Relationships

I have various relationships to my diabetes, relationships that seem to constantly be changing. When you live with a chronic condition, a 24/7 job, you’re bound to have different feelings towards it throughout the day, week, or your life. Here are a few of the relationships I  have with my diabetes:

The Annoying Sibling– There are days when it feels like my diabetes is being purposefully bothersome, pestering me and getting under my skin the way only a sibling can. It’s days when you are in a rush, running late, and then you get a “no delivery” sign on your pump. Or you’re out shopping and need to test your blood sugar and realize that your test strips must have fallen out back at your house. Not the end of the world, but annoying none the less. It’s the times when you just want to tell diabetes, “Leave me alone! Go annoy someone else for a while!”

The Obligatory Friendship- I think there are people in everyone’s lives that you are friendly to because you have to be or because you want to be nice. It could be a work relationship, a person that you’ve grown up with, or even a family member. You put up with that person because you have to, but it doesn’t mean that you necessarily enjoy your time spent with them. You just know that they aren’t going anywhere so you might as well make the best of it. Until there is a real cure, I’m stuck with my diabetes. And while there are moments when the familiarity is comforting, I would not say that I enjoy the time spent with my diabetes. I just try to make the best of it.

The Stubborn Child- I had the pleasure of dealing with this relationship this past weekend. I had a high blood sugar that for hours would not budge. I spent the night constantly giving more insulin, waiting for some sign that I was in the clear. But my diabetes decided to be stubborn. I would see the arrows on my CGM head downward, only to plateau at a level still too high. I felt like I was yelling to a child, “Get down from there right now! Are you listening to me? I’m going to count to 3.” And then my number would come down a little bit, enough that it was still following directions, but not enough to be helpful. “You stop that, you cannot be that high! Come down right this instant!” Then just to prove a point, my number did come down, and down and down. It dropped below 55 and despite waking up 3 times during the night to treat it, it stayed low. I could hear it saying, “You wanted me to come down. Well I’m down now, you got what you wanted.” Ugh, so infuriating sometimes!
The Coach- Living with a chronic condition has taught me a lot of different things and in many ways it has helped shape who I am today. It’s taught me about persistence, responsibility, perseverance, hope, determination, independence, and about taking an active role in my health and my life. Sometimes my diabetes acts like a coach, pushing me when times get tough. “You can do this, you’ve dealt with worse.” “Don’t give up, there’s hope yet.” Managing diabetes is not easy, but living with it has helped me grow in many ways that I am truly thankful for.

The Popular Friend- We all have or know that person that everyone seems to want to hang out with. When you’re with them, you get invited to the best parties, you get drinks sent to you at the bar, you feel like you’re on the inside and everyone wants to be your friend. Your association with this person is your ticket, and you are glad to be along for the ride. It’s odd to think of my diabetes this way, but there are times when it is my golden ticket. Ticket to what exactly? It’s hard to say. Sometimes it’s being able to relate and connect to someone in a way that others can’t. “Oh wow, that must have been so hard to grow up with (fill in with some autoimmune disease/chronic condition/difficult illness/food or physical restriction/other)! I can’t imagine what you must have gone through, but growing up with type 1 diabetes, I know that it’s not easy.” Having type 1 diabetes has been my ticket to the DOC (diabetes online community), a community of such supportive, informative, and inspiring people that I feel lucky to be a part of. It has led me to diabetes related events, causes, committees, and friendships that I otherwise may have never been involved with. This popular friend has been the subject of many school essays, interview questions, and hey, it even has a blog dedicated to it!

The Distant Roommate– Luckily, I spend most of my time in this last type of relationship. Yes, we spend a lot of time in each other’s business, but we’ve for the most part figured out a system that works for both of us. We live our lives intertwined, but without too many issues. We’re respectful of each other’s needs, we keep our distance when we need to, and even though we may not be friends, or even like each other sometimes, we still find a way to make it through together.

What kind of relationship do you have?

Disclaimer: this post was written in the abstract. It does not refer to any particular person in my life, but is instead meant as an archetype of possible relationships that may exist for others. 

2 thoughts on “Revolving Relationships

  1. Very interesting perspective. Personally, I've often thought of my diabetes as an annoying roommate. You may not get along all the time, but you've got to live together so you make certain concessions and try not to get on each other's nerves too much.


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