Two years - Sept 7, 2013
Hard for me to believe that two years ago today I was diagnosed Type 1 Diabetic. That day is still very raw and real in my mind, not sure if that will ever go away. In some ways I feel like I have been diabetic my entire life. I find it hard remembering my days before regular finger pricks, counting carbs, bolusing for food, suffering with lows and highs. I think the reason for this is that it is so time consuming it has become a routine. In other ways I still feel like this is still all so new to me. Not a week goes by where I don't have to adjust settings, where foods that were okay the week before no longer cooperate with my blood sugars. I have been really low (like 1.4 low) and not felt too bad and I have been a bit low (like 3.5) and felt like I was done for. Not sure I will ever get used to the desperation that comes with having a low blood sugar. The ultimate panic and need to surface from a dark place where everything trembles and words cannot form. When everything is in slow motion and all you want to do is either fall asleep or eat the contents of your fridge. I have learned that pretty much every Type 1 diabetic suffers lows on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Let me tell you straight up - they are hell. And let's not forget about the high blood sugars. The feeling of lethargy that sets in, the thirst, the need to pee, the inability to think straight, the extreme exhaustion and the feeling of guilt. Yes, guilt and shame is such a huge part of living with this disease. Every time I see a high number I feel so guilty, so ashamed. What did I do wrong, what could I have done better and a big one is what consequence will I suffer down the road.
All of this seems very doom and gloom so far, so lets get to the positive things about being Type 1 diabetic (and yes there are quite a few positives). A big one for me and something I have heard from manyT1D's is that I am very in tune with my body. I know what foods make me feel good and what makes me feel bad. The motivation to stay healthy and active is huge. Every day I run, bike or swim and this benefits me in all ways. It makes my mental state much more calm than it usually would be, helps my blood sugars stay stable and makes me sleep so much better. Balancing the activity is a challenge on its own - high blood sugars after intense activity and then crashing lows. Having my pump and being able to set temporary basal decreases is a life saver.
The one thing I have struggled with over the last two years is opening up to others. To the outside world I appear to breeze through dealing with Type 1 diabetes. I hate for people to see me at my most vulnerable and am used to be the strong one. I have problems talking about my disease and often hide it. I have been having lows whilst at work and while being out in public with others and have hid it well while inside I am crumbling. This is my goal for the next year, accept my disease and stop hiding the bad times, as they unfortunately occur regularly.
The last two years have been the biggest adventure of my life. I have travelled the world and lived in different cultures yet nothing has challenged me this way. Being in charge daily of your life or death is a daunting task, but two years in I am ready for the challenge. Every day I hate this disease but then have no choice but to embrace it. I cannot change my reality....I can only live with it.