After hearing that I was selected as one of the participants of phase 2 clinical trials, I spent the entire day yesterday (6 hours) riding horse at Zumbro Bottoms horse camp with hundreds of miles of trails up in the hills and along a river valley…absolutely beautiful. I have included some pictures to give you an idea how amazing the riding was.
As I was riding Izzy, I began to think about the new possibilities participating in this trial has opened in my mind. One of the thoughts was, I just might be cured of this disease. My mind stuck on this possibility and out of this came some other thoughts; what is ‘being cured’ going to look like? Over the past two decades I have had Diabetes direct every aspect of my life. Everything had to be planned around this disease no matter what I did. For example, yesterday I had to plan for every contingency regarding my disease before I was able to ride. Do I have enough food? How do I keep my meter cool enough to take my blood sugar readings? What happens if my tubing from my insulin pump gets torn out by a tree branch? What happens if my pump fails, what other methods of insulin delivery can I use? What happens if I get sick and need to get to a doctor? Some of the areas I rode in were only accessible by horse and helicopter. I had to think through and plan every possibility before I left camp for the trails.
Then, as I was riding, my thoughts turned to some not so comforting thoughts about being ‘cured’. I am totally excited about the possibility, but the psychological piece of this question, can I return to a new normal, is working on my brain. I have dreamed of being cured of this disease since I first entered the emergency room back in 1996, the transition from non-insulin dependency to taking 4-6 shots a day (before my pump days) was overwhelming, emotionally, to me. Plus I would faint at the sight of a needle. The nurse who took care of me during my intensive care assured me, one day, this would be as normal to me as breathing. She was absolutely right, at the time I thought she was a nut case!!! Now I face the same paradigm shift if I am cured. How am I ever going to trust that my body will not fail me again? This question is emotionally overwhelming for me. How can I make the transition back to ‘normal’ now that I have adjusted what normal is? How do I not worry about my blood sugars spiking or bottoming out? I have trained myself to live this way for a long time, to just switch it back seems alien to me.
So….what is normal? For me normal is planned spontinaeity, normal is checking my blood sugars often, every single day. Normal is preplanning everything that may or may not happen in a day. It is filling my pockets with glucose tabs, protein power bars, fruit, or other snacks for my daily activities. It would be unusual for me to not crackle or crunch from the wrappers of food in my pockets as I walked or rode or did whatever. Normal for me is riding the blood sugar roller coaster, being tired after the ride and hoping my a1c’s do not reveal a bigger potentially life threatening problem every 3 months. Normal is trying to find health insurance plans that will cover all my diabetic supplies which are thousands of dollars a year every year! Normal is my insulin pump connected to me 24/7, 365. Normal for me is sameness, now it may change, cue the intense music as my anxiety rises. Boy I am not completely ready for this!!!! I will be because it will become the new normal and after some major mental adjustments, will also become ordinary and everyday….but not today.