It’s been just over 4 months since I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I can tell you; this disease is a lot easier to manage with a good support system behind you. Being able to have people by your side, rooting for your ability to keep on every day, is a great feeling in itself. This disease really forces you to learn how to weed out the negative people in your life, surround yourself with the positive, and focus on your needs. Being the type of person I am, I always used to be worried about everyone else’s needs and wants before my own. I allowed myself to be pushed to the back burner, in order for others around me to be happy. This disease has really helped me find my voice. It has taught me to express my needs— even if I don’t want to.
Things are made a lot easier, due to people being understanding of all the trouble that’s associated with diabetes. The picture above is of me (left) and my beautiful girlfriend (right). This woman is one of the most important support beams in my life. After spending 9 months apart and getting back together, she learned of my diagnosis and jumped right in to this crazy roller coaster with me. She is doing everything she can to learn with me- the ins and outs of diabetes. She’s not afraid to ask questions. She’s not afraid to makes suggestions. She’s not afraid to branch out and seek help so that she can better help me cope with this. She is my safety net and my rock— my reason to get up tomorrow. I won’t ever be able to express my love and appreciation enough to her, but she truly is an exceptional part of my life and without her support and love I wouldn’t have the strength or courage to do this.
I recently went on a two week vacation to South Carolina with my family. I’d have to say it was, by far, the most interesting and nerveracking experience I’ve had with diabetes, since my diagnosis. It was a little more challenging due to the fact that, shortly after my diagnosis I had a complete thyroidectomy which now requires me to take a thyroid hormone every day for the rest of my life. For my thyroid hormone to digest properly I have to wait at least 30-45 minutes after taking it to consume any liquids or food. This process requires me to wake up early, make sure my BG is at an acceptable level, and eat breakfast at a reasonable time. I lucked out with a supportive family in the fact that, they never rushed the process. Never made a fuss because we couldn’t stop for breakfast right away. They understood and were patient with me.
Throughout the entire vacation, they assisted in making sure I was well. As other diabetics know, visiting the beach for the first time with diabetes is a little nerveracking too. You are faced with the challenge of keeping insulin cool, making sure you have enough supplies to last you your time on the beach, being aware of your surroundings and how your feeling, and eating when necessary. My parents made sure I had everything I needed at all times, and would even cut our time at the beach short, in order for us to eat lunch.
Part of my reason for accepting my parent’s offer of joining them on vacation, was to visit family down there. By doing so I hope I was able to relinquish any fears my family had about diabetes and my ability to maintain it. For those who don’t have diabetes or have never faced anyone with it, the disease can be a confusing and scary thought. I was one of those people. Before being diagnosed I had many terrible misconceptions about it and quite honestly made many smart-alec remarks jokes about it. All that was said and thought about the disease were based upon uneducated assumptions. After learning as much as I have now, my goal is to educate others around me in hopes to stomp out these assumptions, that I myself once had, and I know many people still do. So, I truly hope that my family is able to sit more at ease with the knowledge I gave them and knowing that this disease does not control nor define me— I am the ruler of my life, not my diabetes.
Life, it’s just like Diabetes— a hectic roller coaster full of ups and downs. There’s no determining what’s going to happen tomorrow and no controlling what happened yesterday. All you can do is make good of what you have going on today.
That’s a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way within the last month. It started with my (ex)girlfriend giving up on me, cheating on me, and breaking up with me. Followed by almost losing what little possessions I have left. Proceeded by relocating to my parents house and starting over. In reality though, starting over isn’t all that bad. It gives me the chance to wipe the slate clean and fill it back up with better situations. I’ve learned who’s truly there for me— the ones who’d rather help me pick myself up at the worst times in my life rather than let me lay there. I’ve gained a nicer-newer car, some good friends, and one person that I had thought was gone for good. So for every bad thing that happened, even though all the bad happened at once, I had one good thing happen in return.
Aside from the roller coaster that is my life, I seem to be doing well managing my diabetes. During my last appointment with my endocrinologist, he tested my A1C and we were both pleased (as well as surprised) that it has dropped from an 11.7 in May to a 6.6! He explained to me how he’s normally not impressed with patients, but I impressed him completely. We had to back off of my Lantus at night— going from 25 units to 20. My numbers were “too tight” which was most likely the cause of my frequent lows. I could bank on a BG in the 60> in the mornings. I’ve gotten pretty good at finding foods to keep my BG up over night and avoiding those lows in the morning. Working screws with the BG as well. The harder I work the more lows I have through the day. Luckily though, i have a fantastic employer. After explaining to them about my diagnosis, not only did the staff become more interested in learning, they don’t question me when I take a seat for a few minutes. They’re actually very attentive about learning and how I’m feeling through out the day.
All in all though, through everything that’s happened within the last 6 months, I’ve really grown as a person. I’ve learned to think of myself and be assertive with my needs and wants. I’ve committed to counseling again to better assist me with my emotions and how to deal with them. And I’ve learned to surround myself with those who would rather walk by side through this journey of life, rather then two steps ahead of me.
— That’s it folks. That’s a day (well quite a few actually) in a nutshell of a Diabetic.