26 August 2007

Changes and Challenges

I'm being much more aggressive with my management recently. I'd been slipping and my A1c isn't where I'd like it to be. During camp we test at least eight times a day and I'm trying to keep up with that amount of testing, being sure I always have candies with me, drinking more water and exercising more frequently. Rather than testing a few times a day, almost never having sugar and just being high, drinking lots of coffee and exercising occassionally. I think I let myself get out of control because I was in a funk or some state thereof. After Hurricane Katrina, I moved to Houston where I just wandered around not knowing what to do with myself for awhile. Then I decided to go back to school and started a Certificate of Public Health program at the University of Texas School of Public Health in the Medical Center. I finished the certificate program in December. After about a year and a half I had had enough of Texas and packed up my life and my cat and moved out to Maryland in late February looking for a change. My parents moved out here in Novemeber, having had enough of the New Orleans situation, one of my sisters moved after the hurricane to DC. So now, almost all of us are on the east coast - adjusting nicely, I think, to our new lives in this strange place. Now my challenges and changes continue. My current position with AYUDA is coming to a close since it's a contractual gig and I need to find something else to keep me employed and happy. I also need to finish what I started in Texas. I want to go back to school to get my MPH and eventually become a CDE. All these changes and stresses seriously affect my blood sugars so I just try to go with the flow and try not to worry so much about the future. With a condition like diabetes though it's all about the future and what could happen if you don't take proper care.
My mind still drifts back to Ecuador. I've only been back in the states for 10 days but I don't think I ever fully come back. Each time gets harder to leave. Harder to say goodbye to the people you connect with and want to help. Harder to return to your own reality. Then I remember how I'm not only helping them but they're helping me as well.
For the past couple weeks, I've been waking up and reaching for my glasses only to remember I don't have them anymore. I gave them to one of my campers. She's eleven, looks about seven, has cataracts, doesn't hear well and comes from a difficult home life. I'm determined to help her anyway I can because she won't get it any other way. However, I don't know exactly what to do. I have the will and the desire to help change this girls [and all the campers I meet] life but I have not the means or full knowledge on how to do so. When I think of her, I think of how easy my life is, how lucky I am to be able to care for myself and be in good control. So why did I let myself slip for so long? She has given me a new strength, a new drive. I only hope I gave her some of the same during that week. That week that now seems so distant. The only reason I know it actually happened and it wasn't a dream is because of the pictures I took and the glasses I no longer have.

Take care of yourself.

1 comment:

Alissa said...

Wow. Reading your post is like reading almost word for word exactly what has been on my mind-except you actually put it in words, where with me it's more like it's been floating around in my head leaving me a little distracted from life. But I guess having the same thoughts is something that happens when you share an experience like Campo Amigo with other people. It's such a unique experience that it left me with so much to think about-and it was hard having to leave everyone after the most intense experience of the summer. For starters, I too have tried to tighten up my management, after having a month with too much white bread. I don't know what it is about traveling, but for some reason I make myself believe it's okay not to worry so much about some of the highs, and that I can just fix them when I get home. But then I saw some of my campers who took better care of themselves than I do in some ways, and I felt really ashamed of myself because I have better resources to manage my diabetes than any of them, and I felt like I wasn't taking advantage of them as well as I should. I too don't think that I've left Ecuador yet. I miss my family there a lot, and all the people from camp who you really grow to love. I think that's so cool how you mentioned that they were helping you, and I really feel that way too. I spoke up about that on the last night during the campfire, and I'm really glad I did, even though I was a little timid, it was really something I wanted the campers and the rest of the group know how much they help me. Moments like during the final campfire speeches are so special, and it's during them that I really feel like people with diabetes who don't ever go to diabetes camp are missing out on the good parts of having a condition like this.
I think that's so great what you did for your camper and the glasses. what a lucky fit that she could use yours. that was so sweet of you. I gave my host brother Jose an extra bottle of humalog I had right before I left because I couldn't stand to see him use humalin. I know exactly what you mean about wanting to help the campers so much, but not having the means or all the knowledge to do so. that was a challenging aspect for me at camp (as I shared in our closing activity). It's just not fair that everyone doesn't have the same access to healthcare and education that we do. Although even in the US it could be much better. I can't even imagine how someone would pay for diabetes supplies without health insurance. Our current system is ridiculous. there are too many challenges for people with type 1 diabetes in this world. as is having the condition wasn't enough of a challenge.
Camp was only three weeks ago, yet it seems like a distant dream that happend in a different lifetime.