Diabetes Blog Week - I Can (Day 1)
I was diagnosed in my late teens with Type 1 and thought it would be the end of my world. I thought that this disease would hinder me from being able to live life like a normal person. The only images of people with diabetes I had were the people in movies. I kept thinking to myself "Am I going to be like Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias"? It was frightening to think about. But then over time I reminded myself that those people in the movies were just characters and that didn't/wouldn't be me.
Yes, you have to take precautions with anything you do if you have diabetes. There is a lot of trial and error that goes a long with it, but diabetes should never be the reason you think you can't. When I was first diagnosed I was taking a dance class in college and dropped the class because I thought I can't do this I have to protect my feet. Then after missing dancing a year later I decided to take another class. I talked with my instructor on my first day back and let her know that I had diabetes and would need to check my blood sugars once or twice during class and that I would need to sit out to take care of a low blood sugar when it happened. My instructor didn't tell me "sorry you can't participate" but instead told me "not a problem" I performed in my first recital in years that year and loved every minute of it.
Later, I decided I wanted to run a 5K and believe me, diabetes wasn't my first road block, my lack of exercise and hate for running was. I like to research things before I start them, I sought out a girl in my diabetes group who is a runner and asked her for suggestions. She let me borrow her running belt and told me it would help with carrying my pump and snacks. Then I started training and the trial and error started too. I decided to play with my basal (long term insulin) rates and see what affect running for long period of time would have on my body and I learned a lot. I learned that running makes my blood sugars drop dramatically, but then an hour or two after running I would see huge spikes in my numbers. Overtime I learned the right setting for my insulin pump, packed some gummy bears in my running belt, and finished my first 5K with no problems.
Now, I am beginning my research phase of what it looks like to be pregnant with diabetes. I know this was a concern a lot of my family had when I was first diagnosed considering most people watch Steal Magnolias and think that's my future. But after looking at other Type 1 blogs and talking with other diabetics who have done it, I know that there isn't a closed door on this issue. It will be tough and take a lot of time and energy like anything involving diabetes, but it can still happen. Diabetes won't be the thing to close the door on this option in my life, but rather open the door to meeting new people and building my diabetes community in the online world and in my hometown.
Having diabetes has done more for me then I thought it would. It helped me to really begin thinking about my future, it helped me to get healthy (that one took longer than the others), and it helped me use my story as a way to help other who are in the beginning stages of their diabetes journey. But the greatest thing that diabetes encouraged me to do was to challenge all the things I was told I couldn't do and learn that even with diabetes I still could. Just remember there are more I can do this moments in living with diabetes than the I can't moments. All it times is some time and patience.