Seven stages of grief

7.  Shock.

I get up the next morning, and several mornings after that having slept fitfully.  I’m dreaming about odd things at night, and I’m not getting to bed at a decent hour either.  I don’t even try to research much, which is really unusual for me.  Typically, I want to find out all I can when something new or different comes along, but this time is different.

6. Guilt.

Oh boy, this one comes at me hard.  My husband had to deal with his diabetic mother for years.  She never took proper care of herself until it was really too late and things were pretty far gone.  I hate that he’s going to have to deal with this all over again.  He doesn’t deserve that.  Not to mention, now my kids have a likely chance of getting diabetes themselves.  If only I’d taken better care of myself, I wouldn’t be in this position now.  If only, if only.  I crawled into my cave and wanted to stay there for days, I was so unhappy with what I’d done to myself and my family.

5.  Fear.

The research bug finally kicks in.  I start finding out about how I could go blind, how I could lose my feet or legs, how I could need a transplant of some kind some day.  I learn about insulin, and the daily testing I’ll need to do- couple that with my fear of needles and shots in general, and you’ve got fear big time.  One of my favorite movies is “Defending Your Life” with Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep.  It’s about how after we die, we have to defend our life and prove that we have faced our fears during our time on earth.  If we win the trial, we are moved forward in the universe.  If we lose the trial, we are sent back to Earth to try again.  I sure hope diabetes isn’t the universe’s way of making me face my fears.

Of course, what I’m really afraid of is that I won’t be able to get this under control, and that I’ll have all these complications or worse.  I worry that I’ll die young.   My dad died unexpectedly when he was only 46.  He never got to know my kids, or really know me as an adult.  My grandmother always used to go around talking about how we had to be good to her now, because she wasn’t going to live very long.  That line of guilt was used on me for 30 years, and she’s still going strong.  I don’t want to make anyone feel guilty because I’m worried about dying before I get to know my grandchildren, but sometimes the words are out of my mouth before I can stop them.  Just tonight, I said that I wouldn’t live to see 80, that if I got to 60 I’d be lucky.  No one wants to hear that.  I know they hate it when I say that.

4. Depression.

This stage isn’t really its own stage for me in this case.  It’s been part of all the other stages.  At one point last week, I realized how badly I’d been treating a couple of people in my life and I did my best to make amends.  I did recognize that I’d been in a depressive state for about 10 days, and things finally started to lift a bit after that. The fear and guilt really feed the depression, so I’m trying to find better ways of coping with those to keep the depression monster away.

3. Denial.

This stage does not last long for me.  One night, I eat dinner and then at about midnight, I eat dinner again.  Big mistake.  I wind up with the shakes, and getting sick and getting a terrible charley horse in my stomach muscles.  If you’ve never had one before, believe me, it’s way worse than the ones in your calf muscles.   I’m also oddly concerned about telling people about this.  My husband and my kids know, as does my business partner.  I haven’t told anyone else, except people online who only know me under a screenname.  I’m already sensing a certain amount of judgment from people about what I’m eating, or what I should be eating.  I really don’t want to deal with that.  I don’t want someone feeling compelled to be the food police over me.  It’s annoying, and it won’t make me compliant.  So I guess that means I’m keeping this to myself for now, to the extent that I can.   Except for you all here.

2. Anger.

I start acting out- almost picking fights, being paranoid that things are going badly at work, looking for things to be offended about.  I’m feeling miserable about it.  I’m not my normal self.  I’m not engaging with others like I should be.  Why is this happening to me!  This is toning down now, and I’m not doing this fly-off-the-handle thing now.

1. Acceptance.

I don’t know if I’m here yet.  It’s only been about 2 weeks since I got the diagnosis.  I have a lot of learning yet to do, and I am doing a bit of research each day.  I did make the appointment with the diabetes educator/dietician person, and I ordered a couple of BG meters to try out.  The companies were offering them for free online, so I figured that would be less expensive than having to buy one.  I hear it’s the test strips that are really expensive.

Maybe I’ll to through these stages more than once.  I see items about “diabetes burnout” on a number of sites, but I haven’t read any of that yet.  I imagine that will someday be an issue I’ll have to deal with too.  Right now I’m still trying to wrap my head around what’s happening.  In the back of my mind, I think to myself how great it would be if I could reach 50 in ten years and be able to look back and say that getting diagnosed with diabetes was the best thing that could have happened to me because it forced me to change.  That it saved my life.  Today, that seems like a total fantasy.  Like I could lose weight, get all these issues fixed and feel healthy and active.  I just don’t know how I’m ever going to do this.


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