Know Your Diabetes, Know Your Self
Total years in practice: 8
I lived my life never having to care about my diet, or any personal actions for that matter. During my senior year of high school, that changed. I was in good health, never having more than just the common cold. I was doing well in school and had a part-time job.
I began to feel weak and ill one week, and it went down hill from there. I always seemed to be thirsty and urinated every thirty minutes or so. People would sometimes comment on my appearance and that I needed more sleep or looked sick. I quickly began dropping weight and went from weighing 120 pounds to 98 within a few weeks. The final symptom, that finally made me go to a doctor, was extreme lethargy. I remember working at my job and falling asleep as I checked people out at the register.
After this, I went to my local doctor's office not knowing what to expect. After a few blood tests I was back to daily life. The result was a reading over the tester's maximum limit, with my blood sugar reading in at 750+. I was then told that I had Type-1 Diabetes and immediately put on a night-time long acting insulin to lower my blood sugar level. This news was shocking, of course, but I failed to realize the total ramifications of the diagnosis.
A few days later I got a call from my mother to pack a bag and be ready to go to the hospital. Once at the hospital my blood sugar was tested again on a better system, 900+ this time. The emergency team put me on an IV and I was watched like a hawk day and night. I was told they had no idea how I was still conscious through all of this. The next four days were spent in that one room.
In those four days I learned everything I needed to do now in order to stay alive. It was stressful and surreal that this had happened to me, and I had to do this much just to survive. It was a lot to take in all at once. I was mentally overloaded and physically ill from the sudden drop in blood sugar. Once I was somewhat stabilized, I was free to go home and use all my new knowledge.
From this point, I was given fast and long acting disposable insulin pens. The fast acting for every time I eat, and the long acting before going to bed every night. Once I got in the habit of checking my sugar and administering insulin, nothing was really different in my life. There were some occasional highs and lows, but with general exercise and a somewhat healthy diet, I stayed fairly regular for the most part.
After a year and a half of fighting insurance companies, I have recently received an insulin pump and have never felt better. I still test my blood via a glucose meter, but the pump is so accurate, my blood sugar runs like I never even had diabetes.
I am motivated to live. Managing a disease as intimidating as diabetes can be difficult, but those that have it can handle it. Diabetes can feel scary, unfair, or even just annoying, but now it is just a part of my life, and that is not as bad as it sounds. I have a couple extra steps in my daily routine, maybe a couple more doctor's appointments, but I still enjoy every moment of my life.
Encouraging WordsI am diabetic. I am a person. I am happy. It is not difficult to manage this disease as long as you care. Care about your life because your life is everything. Never be afraid to live, and never let your disease tell you how to live or tell you what you can or cannot do.
I have always been fairly fit, but ironically do not exercise too often. I have found that I can personally maintain a healthy lifestyle by doing simple exercise routines. On a weekly basis, I simply walk and do some easy body weight workouts.
After being diagnosed with diabetes, my diet surprisingly did not change that much. The worst part of nutrition wit diabetes is the near-unavoidable need to check the nutritional facts on almost everything consumed. Part of the nutritional information on products was the serving size, which might be strange and can be easily throw off a carb calculation for the meal. A major change was to stop drinking non-diet drinks, or drinks with carbohydrates in them. As long as you are not eating just sweets, and mix a healthy amount of carbohydrates and protein into the diet, you should be able to live a happy, healthy life.