Posted on May 3, 2011


Fear.  Fear.  Fear. 

So often, fear stops us in our tracks.  It prevents us from trying new things and taking risks.  Why?  Why does fear settle in?  Is it a protective mechanism. Sometimes.  But sometimes that protection goes too far.  It prevents.

Yesterday I wrote about finishing the half marathon.  I had been looking forward to running and taking in the excitement of the day with 15,000 other runners.  But in all honesty, part of me was afraid. 

Last year I completed the same race and felt great at the end.  After finishing, I tested my blood sugar (138), ate a bagel, and drank water.  I sat down on the grass with some friends while we waited for a few more finishers in our group.  About 30 minutes later, I went to stand up, and when I stood up, my ears started ringing and my world started spinning.  My world went black.  I collapsed and lost consciousness. 

“Michele”.  “Michele”  “Wake up Michele”.  I could hear my neighbor trying to get my response.  All my energy was zapped.  I was dazed and confused.  The sun was bright on my face.  I remember trying to open my eyes in the intense light.  I knew who I was but it took a few minutes to recollect where I was and what I was doing.  My head hurt.  Someone from the first aid station was now there talking to me. 

I kept telling him that I was okay.  I was a diabetic and needed sugar.  I had glucose tabs and Power Ade next to me.  I was able to sit up and eat and drink.  An hour later I felt much better.  No one ever tested my blood sugar so to this day I don’t know if it was  a low blood sugar episode.  I am guessing my blood sugar just dropped really fast and unfortunately gave me no warning. 

I was scared.  I felt out of control.  And for months later, I had to deal with a mild concussion (based on CT scan and MRI) that caused waves of intense vertigo/dizziness and nausea.  These did improve over time (luckily).  

The feeling of helplessness is what paralyzed me though.  Losing control of my body, mind, and spirit.  Losing control causes me to fear diabetes.

Diabetes can definitely be a control and fear game.  I work so hard (sometimes too hard) to stay healthy – blood sugar, cholesterol, weight, etc. I do this because I want to live.  And when something challenges me, I have to take a step back and assess what is going on? 

Am I really in control 24/7?  Do I need to let go a bit?  No?  Yes?  No?  All the above. 

I have learned that diabetes can be controlled to a point.  But it is not always a perfect science that we can manipulate.  Stuff out of our control is going to happen.  Hormones, metabolism of food, stress, all this stuff can affect our regulation, and we cannot always precisely measure those effects.  Which is why I have learned to let go a bit.  Loosen my grip on my diabetes. 

I take it moment by moment, day by day.  I don’t let the fear stop me.  I keep moving forward recognizing and addressing when stuff slows me down.  Everyone gets bumps in the road.  I have to pick myself up (sometimes literally) and keep going (maybe at a slower pace).  I have an inner voice that gives me a pep talk “you can do it Michele”.  It is like having a cheerleader inside my head.  The cheerleader cheers over fear. 

I focus on what I want to do that day and how I am going to do it even with diabetes.  I try to visualize what it will look like achieving that goal (so for example, crossing the finish line at the half marathon and having them put a medal around my neck).  I focused on that image when I started thinking about what happened to me last year post race.   I had to focus on the here and now – letting go of the past.

Diabetes is about living life and doing the best we can do.  That is all we can do.  Fear will set in, especially when we lose control.  But that is part of life.  Diabetes just makes it more special. 

Talk to me about fear and diabetes.  Tell me your stories.  How do you deal with fear?  Control?

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