Saturday, November 14, 2015

10 Years of Diabetes


I did a guest blog post this year with Diabetes Mine sharing my story of living with diabetes for 10 years. Be sure to check out my post on their website. And here is my story to celebrate 10 years of living with Type 1 diabetes. 

I had just moved away from home to go to college. I was 18, living on my own and beginning the next chapter of my life. I was working at a bakery during the mornings and going to school in the evening. I thought I had it all figured out. Then I started to feel exhausted, my restroom breaks were affecting my classes and work, and I was dropping a ton of weight. The losing weight thing wasn't a huge red flag for me, I thought I was having another growth spurt, but I would soon learn that wasn't the case at all.

I had a bladder infection and decided to stop by the urgent care after class. I used to get them all the time and didn't think much of it. I peed in the cup and waited for the doctor to come in. When he came in the room he had an odd look on his face while going through my chart. Then he proceeded to tell me they found ketones in the urine and were going to test my blood sugars. I had no idea what a ketone was and thought he was crazy for thinking I had diabetes. I was healthy, thin, and young. It didn't make any sense.

They tested my blood sugars and I was at 250mg/dl. I explained to the doctor that I had just had a Dr. Pepper and was sure that that was all it was. He explained that that wasn't the case and that he was going to refer me to a physician to treat me for diabetes and write me a prescription for my bladder infection. I called my mom in tears I couldn't believe it. I had diabetes. I didn't even know what it fully meant, but thought it was the end of days. My mom came to my first appointment, where we learned about the honeymoon phase and that I would be treated like a Type 2 with oral medication until my pancreas decided to stop making insulin.

It was a hard transition full of emotions. Learning how to eat with this disease was the biggest frustration. Everything has carbs?! I thought I was going to starve. Experiencing my first low while having a dance party with my roommate made me want to cry. Why was it so hard to do the things I loved to do? It was hard, I just wanted everything to go back to normal. But I was soon going to learn that it wouldn't.

After learning that I had Type 1 diabetes and going through the 5 stages of grieving I was able to understand that my life would look different. I got on an insulin pump shortly after, which helped ease things up a little. And when I got used to living with diabetes after 2 or 3 years I started feeling comfortable talking about it with people. The more I talked about it the more I realized the lack of knowledge there was about this disease. I wanted to share my story to help teach people about what life if really like living with diabetes. Give people some hope and clarity in a confusing situation.

After 10 years of living with this disease I have learned it's not that bad. You have to laugh about it and find community in it because doing it alone is the hardest thing I have ever done. This disease is frustrating and hard, but has honestly done a lot of good in my life. It taught me how to be self sufficient when it came to health, it helped me to be more in tune with my body, and to laugh things off. Don't let diabetes be the thing that ruins you instead make it the thing that empowers you. 

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