I have not listened to the entire speech Hillary gave at the Democratic convention but reading a few articles and watching a few clips of the speech it came struck to home for me. Both she and others talked about how much of a fighter she is and how she has fought for her believes. I am not here as a political advocate for her but the message, the concept, of fighting for something is very familiar to me and all other diabetics.
Why you ask? We have to fight to control our diabetes every minute of every day. Dramatic? A little but if you ever have to live as a type 1 diabetic you will understand how taxing it can be. Have some cake at the party? Well you have to decide on one of two options. You either have to just say no or figure out how many cabs are in that cake (not every cake has the same amount) and then calculate the amount of insulin you need. Starting to see to effort here?
I have had many different jobs over the years and each one has both unique physical needs and a guaranteed unpredictability to it. In my current job I either have a long wait for the machine to finish its task or I am constantly working to set the new piece in the machine in just the right spot and then clean up the last piece plus get the next one ready. To put it plainly, I am either standing there watching the machine to make sure it doesn’t break a tool and then the work piece or I am scurrying around trying to get the finished piece ready to go out and the next piece ready to set in place. Yes, exercise wise it is like waiting in line to jogging around the block.
As a material handler the difference was even worse. Isn’t that just driving a fork truck around? I can hear those comments and questions already. No that is not material handling. You have to get off the truck to log in materials, fill coolants, change oil barrels for the machine operators, pull materials off one pallets and set them on another to take to a machine. At times you move over a ton, just 50 to 70 pounds at a time. It is a lot of work and you can’t plan for it. Some you can but there will always be that time when a machine has to switch from one part to another because of bad material or programming. That is the kind of stuff you can’t plan for. I also had to clean any spills on the floor like coolant or oil. That is extra energy I didn’t plan on as well.
The point I am trying to make here is that a diabetic needs to stay vigilant and aware of what is going on around them and make quick decisions so, not trying to be dramatic but, they can stay alive. Face it, a diabetics life depends on being able to keep their blood sugar under control and we need to constantly fight to keep it there. An average non-diabetic person doesn’t need to count carbs (calories maybe) or measure out the right amount of insulin for any food eaten each day or make sure they exercise but not overdo it.
It’s a balancing act that has to be done every minute of every day for the rest of the person’s life. If you can’t, you die. Your kidneys, your heart, your eyes, your feet, and many other body parts will not do so good. I have been blessed so far in that other than some retinopathy, I am doing pretty good. I have a no heart issues although I have a friend who had a heart attack in her early 30s. I also know of many diabetics who have lost feet or entire lower legs from blood and nerve problems.
Just few months ago I had a conversation with my doctor about lowering my blood sugar and A1Cs even lower. The A1C was at high 8s or low 9s at the time. She wanted it lower than 7 but I was hesitant. I have had a terrible track record of not just troubling lows but dangerous lows. My blood sugar drops so fast and so far that normal “fixes” don’t work for me. I told her that I was willing to run the higher blood sugars rather than loosing my job or having an accident that will cost me my life. I never thought I would life past 40 and I am now 47. Her mouth dropped to the floor when I said I was 7 past my expiration date. “But you can life so much longer if you take care of yourself.” was her answer. I feel I am taking care of myself. Many bad things have happened to me when I go low and I do not wish to visit that again if I can help it.
OK back to task, a diabetic can not stop taking insulin, counting carbs, or maintaining a stable exercise routine. Again, if you don’t you will die. It will either be fairly quick without insulin or slow with all the complications that come from your blood sugar being to high for too long. I have read that the human body can repair itself from some effects of diabetes but there are limits and you need to fix the cause of the highs for your body to do its work..
When I heard and read about what people have been saying about Hillary and her fighting spirit, I felt proud. That can also be said about myself and most other diabetics. We fight not for political gain or financial gains but for life and as good a quality life as we can get. For us it will be a life long never ending fight that we must win.