Diabetes In My Hierarchy of Needs

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True or False
(1) Diabetes doesn’t rule my every waking moment.

(2) Diabetes isn’t in control.

(3) Diabetes doesn’t dictate who I am or what I do.

(4) I am more than a person with diabetes.

If you’ve followed my blog entries over the last six months, you might read my answers to the statements above and say to yourself “Umm, no.” And I couldn’t fault you for it. What I’ve written for The Diabetes Self-Management Blog makes a pretty good case that since my diagnosis last year I’ve been all-consumed with Type 1 diabetes. In fact, a few times you’ve come right out and told me. There have been comments by a few seasoned veterans of diabetes who’ve responded to a topic by saying something to the effect of “get on with your life.”

For them, diabetes is background. It’s there, but it sounds as if they don’t give the condition too much thought.

For me, diabetes is all-ground.

But that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes I wonder if my diabetes is so pervasive in my thinking simply because it’s still new to me. In fact, I bet most people would say that the time I spend thinking about diabetes will eventually taper off. That I’ll learn to live with it. That I’ll find a way to incorporate it into all aspects of my daily life.

Guess what? I already have.

Besides, at what point does the newness of living with diabetes wear off? I’m pretty used to it by now. Yet still I contemplate my relationship to diabetes. I’m not growing weary of it, and I don’t often find myself burdened by diabetes—probably in large part because I write about it and spend time ruminating on what living with diabetes means to me.

Getting on with my life means that I continue to think about and try to understand better who I am now that I have Type 1 diabetes. How can I not? Take a look at Maslow’s hierarchy. At any level, if you have diabetes, is there any way to realistically exclude diabetes?

There isn’t a situation in which I find myself at any point during the day that can’t be applied to living with diabetes. Not if I’m honest with myself—that endocrine system is pretty much integrated in every aspect of being alive.

So, once a week, when I sit down to work on this blog, I begin with maybe an idea or two, a few suggested topics from a grab bag, or an incident that happened to me within the past few days. I end up having to constrain myself, or else my writing moves all over the place and goes on for pages. For example, I started today’s entry with at least five different things I wanted to encapsulate in less than a thousand words. I was going to write about:

  • Jens Christensen’s new social network for people with diabetes. A pretty cool thing. Maybe you’ll sign up, too?
  • Continuous glucose monitors. A follow-up up on my blog entry from a few weeks ago (“Do My Test Strips Define Me?”) about why my foray into CGMs has slowed. (And thanks to everyone who shared their stories and experiences!)
  • Pictures of my supplies. Yeah, a lot of people take photos of their supplies. I’m not immune.
  • Yesterday’s visit with a dietitian. My quest to figure out a happy medium between my exercise days and my blood glucose numbers continues.
  • Monday’s visit with my new general practitioner. Happy numbers for my cholesterol!

But I’ve ended up here, now, near the end of this week’s entry, and those topics I wanted to write about will have to wait. Or, more than likely, they’ll never see the light of the Internet, because something else will show up over the next six days and take their place.

I need more space and time!

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