For me and I suspect for many others with DeTickles, there is no switch to turn off thinking about the disease. It’s like background software in the mind, always running and taking up some memory or necessary pathways for other functions and thought processes. My mind is already non-stop whether I want it to be or not, and the constant awareness and management needed for DeTickles just added to that busyness and chaos of thought.
So, it isn’t surprising to me that, especially in the first year of diagnosis when I was on the fastest learning curve and one-way lifestyle change I’ve ever experienced, every conversation made me think of something DeTickles related.
A friend could say, “I am so hungry!” and I will immediately think, Food, yeah that’s a good thing, important. You should eat. If I were to eat a snack like yours, I’d have to count up those chips, check my blood sugar, make sure chips is an okay choice for me right now, then get my insulin, and then I have to make sure I eat all of the food even if I decide I don’t want it.
Or I might hear how cool a concert was and think about if I had gone or if I wanted to go to a different concert how often I would have to check my CGM to make sure my blood sugar was stable because I wouldn’t likely be able to hear any warning alerts.
Or if I were invited to go to the beach later in the week, I’d be thinking about where I want to wear my insulin pump and CGM and which swim suit to wear–do I feel like hiding the pump and monitor and feeling more “normal” or proudly wearing them visibly and being an advocate–and also prepare for questions. I’d think about carrying emergency carbs with me, preventing dehydration (which sends blood sugar numbers up) and sunburn (which can also weaken the body and send sugars up), and trying not to feel like an idiot when I carry a huge, awkward tote of everything I could possibly need (or skipping some of it and taking a risk).
For me, everything comes back to DeTickles management; DeTickles affects everything.
Eventually I noticed how often the word “diabetes” came out of my mouth. I didn’t count, but I was beginning to annoy myself, so I figured maybe it was getting old for others, too. Now, I have a lot of amazing friends who engage and ask honest questions and want to learn about it. That’s great! But for my own sake as well as maybe theirs, I didn’t want absolutely everything I ever talked about to be diabetes this diabetes that, diabetes up the wall and in the bathroom and at the vet’s and on vacation.
There is still a very real element where I do need to talk about it, and often if I have an alarm sound or feel off or whatever, DeTickles will and has to enter the conversation. But I get to choose the other times how much I want it to take over and be the only thing I talk about.
Nah, man. I’m far too interested in a bajillion other things to want that.
Making this blog was in part so I could have a place to regularly pipe up about it without noisly taking it to every restaurant or hangout with friends or shopping trip. And I’m still learning, but I have been a little more proactive in not chiming in with DeTickles fact #1203 or DeTickles complaint #1701, and I’m not sure if anyone else has noticed, but I’m happier for not letting it consume every single time I talk to a friend or family member or share something on social media.
Sometimes I really do even forget I have it. And that’s pretty nice actually.