It may not be 25 or 50 or 85 years but it's MY 10 years with diabetes.
I've officially been blogging for over 2 years and I started in June which means this is the 3rd diabetes anniversary I've been writing for. However, this is the only time I've drafted up a specific post to ring in my 10th year with diabetes.
I never actually want to recognize this day. It's "D" day after all. At the ripe old age of 22 it was and continues to be the worst day of my life. HERE is my diagnosis story. It marks the day my life would forever be changed. At first it was for the worst. At that time, it was a really crappy bomb that I got handed. My life has never been the same and never will be the same as my 22 years of life up to that point. It sucked. It sucked big time. I went through a long and very difficult adjustment period. I remained ill for months to come until I started insulin which took me a couple more months to adjust to yet. Within a couple years of diagnosis I fell ill with what I now know was celiac disease for 6 years before finally taking action.
So let's see what this has done to me. Sudden onset type 1 diabetes at age 22. Shortly thereafter celiac disease. Two life long chronic conditions. Diseases, whatever you want to call it. Injecting insulin into my body in some way or another and avoiding wheat, barley and rye for the rest of my life. Depression as a result of the burdens of chronic illnesses. Liver and cholesterol complications and NOW the possibility of heart complications. Forever struggling with my weight. Living in fear of what might happen if I lose my job and end up without insurance. Always wondering what's going to happen next.
Yeah, kind of a lot to deal with and it's only been 10 years. I'm not trying to be over dramatic here, I'm just one for laying it out on the table. Diabetes sucks. Every aspect of it sucks.
What else though? well, it gets easier. You GET USED TO it. With every workout I gain more control and understanding of how diabetes and exercise work. So the next workout is a little bit easier. And being able to master blood sugars during exercise is a proud moment.
Living this life with diabetes has brought me things I could have never imagined.
The diabetes online community. Like, oh my god!.. And all of my real life friends I've gained through that has been integral to my life with diabetes.
Team Type 1 and Connected in Motion. Hands down the best things to happen to me since the combination of peanut butter and chocolate! Being a part of these two organizations has changed my perception. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into with Team Type 1 and I'm not sure where I'd be today if it weren't for the positive direction it has brought to my life. Actually I know where I'd likely be. Sulking in a corner somewhere. The travelling and bike racing. Meeting people and being a role model has helped me to understand my own disease better. It has motivated me to put in that extra little bit of effort to prove that it IS possible. It has impacted my life.
I have gained an insane amount of knowledge of my body. How it works with exercise, nutrition and everything in between. From stress to excitement to the simple act of brushing my teeth or going shopping. How these two things can drop my blood sugar so quickly I will never know. I no longer take food for granted. Despite Celiabetes ruining any possible relationship I could have with food. Knowledge is power and I've gained an understanding I never would have thought possible. Did I want to learn all that? Not really. But the closet health nut that I am gets a kick out of it.
Diabetes has given me a greater appreciation towards LIFE. Towards living every day and trying (hard as it might be) to not dwell on it. It has made me a better person. It has taught me the power of moving forward. Fighting for tomorrow. They say T1D is one of the most intense and difficult diseases to live with. It requires moment to moment decisions and adjustments from the patients perspective. It's a never-ending, all-consuming, life or death decision-on-a-whim disease. Whether we choose to admit it or not, we hold our lives so very precariously in our hands. Every.Moment.Of.Every.Day! That's powerful
It has been the BIGGEST life lesson I could ever encounter. Diabetes REALLY puts life in perspective.
Would I be such a strong-willed and obsessed with exercise person without diabetes? Probably. I've always been one for pushing my body's limits. But doing it all while trying to manage the myriad of diabetes factors that only seem to want to thwart my efforts? Intensely rewarding. It's almost more rewarding to finish a half marathon with perfect blood sugars than it is to finish it in general.
Ten years. Thousands of finger stabs, injections and infusion set insertions. Lots of tears and frustrations. Ruined relationships, while new ones are created. This is my life and I'm doing the best damn job I can at keeping myself alive. Not just alive but alive and as healthy as I can be with an awful, terrible, evil incarnate chronic condition that is Type 1 Diabetes.
I awoke this morning in a big puddle of sweaty shaky hypoglycemia and I thought, "well isn't this ironic?". I don't know what I'm going to do today. I don't want to celebrate but I want to pay recognition. I've been struggling with my weight so there will be no gorging on cakes and ice cream. It will be just another day at work. But inside I will be pretty damn proud to be here. To be healthy. To be aware of where I've come from.
I have a deeper appreciate for life I never had before.
10 years............... today.
(and not a single swear word in this post!)