I was in denial, and angry, for so long…
When I was 8 years old I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It was one of the scariest moments of my childhood, mainly because my mom had started to cry right there in the office, and looked like she was crushed. My mom always has, and always will be my rock. This woman is the reason I am alive today, for many reasons. But, I digress.
I have so many memories of doctor’s appointments left and right. Odd feelings, pins and pricks from needles, bloodwork, etc. Feelings of hunger, feelings of “why me?”, “why can’t I eat the yummy foods like all the other kids?”, and feelings of annoyance at the dietary suggestions that were made to me. I will never again eat honeydew melon!
I remember having to constantly do things differently than everyone else. Having to step away to check my blood sugar. Having to miss out on a few trips over my school years because I needed to monitor my diabetes, or having to consistently check in with mom to make sure I was following what I was supposed to be doing while out on the trips I was able to attend.
I’ve had 25 years of “dealing with Diabetes,” so you’d think I’d be a pro by now. But, I spent so many years denying that this condition could control my life. I spent so long being angry, wondering why I had to deal with this, why I always had to listen to the doctor lecture about the possibility of infections, kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, and even premature death. I was downright pissed off that I had this condition that developed due to no fault of my own, or my parents, and that, of which, there is no cure for. A condition that most insurances fought for so long to not cover because it’s considered “pre-existing.”
It’s not that I didn’t take care of myself. I have always taken my insulin, my medications, and counted my carbohydrates like I was supposed to, but I didn’t take better care of myself. There were definitely diabetics out there that were worse off than me, but I spent so long being angry and just wanting to live my life that I didn’t put in the effort I should have from the start.
In March of 2018 all of this changed. A book blogger I spoke with on the regular (for those who don’t know, when my husband and I moved to AZ in 2016 I became a book blogger) suddenly passed away from a blood clot that had traveled to her lungs. Her only risk factor was that she was overweight. This was a serious wake up call for me. I was overweight AND a Type 1 Diabetic. I have risk factors out the wazoo just from my lovely Diabetes. So, I decided enough was enough. I was going to take charge of my life. Diabetes was not going to get the better of me.
Here we are, over 2 years later and I have lost 110 pounds of fat, significantly lowered my blood sugars AND insulin requirement (for those who don’t understand, Type 1 Diabetics WILL ALWAYS NEED INSULIN TO LIVE, whether it be from injections, an insulin pump, or the newly developed inhalable insulin), and I’ve completely stopped taking my cholesterol lowering medication, lowered my thyroid medication dosage, and finally stopped my medication that was treating my insulin resistance (YES, sounds crazy, but as a Type 1 Diabetic, I genetically developed resistance to the one thing I will never be able to live without).
Do I have the same risk factors I had before? To an extent, some of them. I will never have a fully functioning immune system. I will always be at higher risk of developing heart disease, blood clots, blindness, neuropathy, and kidney failure, but those risks are much lower now that I have permanently changed my eating and exercise habits, and lost the fat.
Am I still angry? Sometimes. I could go on and on about how difficult this journey has been, with missing out on exercise days because of low or high blood sugars (yes, it is not advisable to exercise with high blood sugars because the muscles release glucose, which would cause them to go higher), having to go over my calorie limits on low blood sugar days, or because of the physical and emotional drain those roller coaster blood sugars cause (out of range blood sugars cause anxiety, anger, fatigue, and sometimes achiness). I could rant about the jealousy I still sometimes feel when looking at healthy, thin individuals who can eat whatever they want (and brag about it) and don’t ever have to worry about their blood sugars, people who don’t, or didn’t, have to work as hard as I did, and still do, to lose fat and build muscle. But, I have been trying to look at Diabetes as a challenge rather than a hinderance now.
I am a Type 1 Warrior. My struggle has been, and will be, twice as hard as a healthy individual, but that makes me twice the badass! I’ve come a long way, and I will continue to make progress, and stay healthy!