I'm trying something different this week. Karen of the Bitter-Sweet Diabetes blog came up with the idea to have all of the people who blog about their diabetes experience to write about the same topics this week. Every day is a different topic. It will be interesting to see what people have in common. I just checked and there are a lot of participants.
Today is designated to describe a day in the life of your diabetes. Karen also decided to include a wild card day to describe whatever you want. I am starting with my wildcard day today. I think I need it to provide a transition as to why I would still want to do this. So my topic for today is - Am I still a diabetic?
I have had this conversation twice recently with people who know me and my transplant experience well as to whether I am still a diabetic. They were both surprised, and curious when I said that I still am. I know that I say often that I feel cured, and I do, but I still have many of the same habits, both physically and emotionally. I still test my blood sugar about 6 times a day. I do this for the data for the islet cell transplant study and for my own knowledge as to how I am doing. Instead of taking insulin, I take handfuls of pills with my meals. And I still exercise every day.
Emotionally, I still worry over each blood sugar. The range of numbers that I see now (85 to 158 this week) is much different than before my transplant (40 to 400 on an average week) and that is why I feel cured. My new numbers don't elicit any symptoms at all. The worry is over what the future will hold, just as before the transplant. I can't bare to think, say, or write that my cells might not last forever, but I know that statistically, they might not. One of the reasons that I chose U. of Minn. as the site to have the transplant done is because they had the best statistics, but still there is no guarantee. That's just part of being in a clinical trial. Just like before, I do my best to stay healthy, but I know that its all up to my immune system as to how long my new islets will last. Other than taking my pills, there's not much that I can do. The book Flowers for Algernon haunts me, but I have certainly learned how to appreciate the present and a lot about what is really important.
Maybe even more importantly is that being diabetic for so many years is just too ingrained into my self concept and identity. You can't just take it off and walk away.