Category: Struggles

At War With T1D

At War With T1D

By: Izzy Myszak


Imagine fighting a battle against yourself everyday.

If you let your mind win, your body fails. If you give into your body you lose your mind. Imagine fighting a battle that will never end. One that will follow you for the rest of your life. Imagine yourself becoming a battleground. One where the debris lingers and the destruction never repaired. Think about waking up sick one day and realizing that you are never going to get better.

What is the ammunition?

Is it is the rude comments and hurtful jokes? Maybe it’s the level of ignorance that you face in one day. Is it the endless questions and assumed answers. Oh wait it is the level of acting you put on everyday to act like you are fine. Maybe the ammunition is the multiple daily injections and the countless number of finger pricks. You become forced to learn to calculate the correct amount of the life saving or live ending drug.

I never dreamt that one day I would be a drug addict. That is what I am though. I take drugs so I don’t go too high and die, but if I take too much it will have the counter effect and kill me in a different way. You have to be perfect.

One word has changed my life.

One diagnosis has changed my normal and sent a countless number of fears into my life. I’m scared to sleep at night with the fear that I could never wake up. I am scared to have children, I don’t want to be the reason that another child has to deal with this. I am scared to be by myself. I am scared to love anyone and to be loved because this illness could become a ticking time bomb at any moment.

There are many things that are worse than this.

Cancer. Hunger. War. The list goes on and on. There is no finish line to diabetes though. At the moment there is no cure and diabetics are forced to live this life each and every day. It is not just a physical challenge though, but a mental one. Diabetics go through many emotional trials in their lives. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The stages of grief are prominent to those who get diagnosed with a chronic illness. Sometimes the sight of the bruises on your flesh become unbearable. It is hard to go through this by yourself. Eventually though, you find those souls who will always be there for you and you don’t let them go.

Diabetes is awful, but it is manageable. You learn about a part of yourself you never knew existed. You become stronger and more responsible than you ever wished you would have to. Diabetes forces you to grow up quickly.

I still look back every day on what life was like without this.

I miss that life, but I don’t miss who I was as a person before everything happened to me. I am stronger now. I am smarter. I am more vulnerable. I am kinder and more empathetic. I have learned not to judge others because you don’t know what they are going through. I learned that to be strong you have to be weak sometimes. I am a better person than who I was before. I hate diabetes and I would never wish it upon anyone else, but I do not regret who I have became because of it.

I refuse to let a 6mm needle rule my life. No blood sugar will ever prevent me from becoming who I want to be.


diabetes burnout

Diabetes Burnout is Your Right

By: Chris Ruden

Blog: chrisruden.com


Diabetes burnout is real. All the tedious finger-pricking and annoying alarms and evasive blood sugars and meandering moods get to you eventually. It can get exhausting, rightfully so.

For some, burnout is an emotional state & for some, it is an action or actions. Either way, it is a very real part of living with a condition for the rest of your life. It is important to recognize what diabetes burnout is– the signs and symptoms– and to figure out how to push through it.



Diabetes Burnout: The Emotional State

Diabetes burnout doesn’t always mean extremely high sugars and self abandonment. Burnout can simply be you completely tired of the repetitive behaviors life with diabetes requires. This emotional state of “blah” can affect people to different severities. Maybe you are just really annoyed with your diabetes, or maybe you mistake it for depression, or maybe you just kind of close off to the world mentally.

Regardless of YOUR version of burnout, it is your right as a diabetic to feel this. It should not be accompanied by guilt or shame or judgement. This condition, a condition no one asked for, is a huge weight to bear. It is natural for us to burnout temporarily and does not make us a bad patient. It does not make us a bad person either.

No one has the right to tell you otherwise, especially someone who doesn’t know what living with diabetes is like.

 

Diabetes Burnout: Behaviors

When people burnout, sometimes it stops at negative thought processes but, sometimes, those negative thought processes manifest themselves into behaviors.

Personally, when I’ve found myself to be burnt out in the past, I’ve caught myself checking my sugar 1 time a day (or less), taking insulin off of “feeling”, and not correcting at the right times. My burnout can get pretty bad. Does that make me a bad person? Does that mean I’m reckless or ignorant or less than a “good” diabetic?

Hell no.

It means I’m human. It means life can get hard for even the strongest of people. And that’s OK. It is a moment. It is a temporary state of frustration that you are fully entitled to at times. It is a reaction to an incurable disease. I don’t feel bad for admitting the truth and neither should you. But you do have to shake it off in time.



Identify Why

“For every action, there is always an equal and opposite reaction” might be Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion but it is absolutely applicable in diabetes burnout in terms of cause and effect.

Was it one specific event that set you off or the combination of all the arduous tasks and occurrences and variables that led you to burn out? It is important to attempt to identify the why. For me, a series of unfortunate events like my pump running low of insulin while I’m out or a week of off blood sugars can lead me towards burn out, just by the chain reaction of events that sometimes follow.

Try and take a step back and see what caused your specific burnout and then you can begin becoming proactive in the future.

 

What You Can Do

While there maybe a moment where you just want to reflect alone, there also comes a time to “get back on the horse” so-to-speak. This is where effective thinking can really help you.

Ask yourself “ What can I do now and from now on to make this better or at least to make this suck less?”

Facebook support groups for diabetics are an amazing outlet for like minded people to vent, learn, and just feel understood.

Diabetic events are also an awesome place to meet fellow diabetics and really feel a sense of belonging.

The worst thing you can do is hide. Don’t seclude yourself from society in thinking no one understands. Trust me, we get it and we get you. No one is perfect but diabetes burnout is perfectly normal. Reach out for support. Vent when you need to. Take your time. And, most importantly, don’t beat yourself up over a temporary burnout– it’s allowed and it’s your right as a diabetic to experience it.


Feel free to watch my video on diabetes burnout above or listen to my diabetes podcast episode on burn out on iTunes or Soundcloud


undercover type one

Undercover Type One

Undercover Type One

-Megan W


I have had Type One Diabetes for six and half years now! It’s been quite the ride. Every day really is a learning experience and I grow each and every time, but the one thing I’ve struggled with from day one is the judgment of others.

Isn’t dealing with Type One enough of a struggle without having to receive questioning glances from others?

From the start I have felt the need to hide my disease so I appear normal to everyone else. I tested my blood sugar under the table at restaurants. I went to the restroom to inject insulin. I would wait until my college dorm mate was out of the room to change my pump site and wear long sleeve shirts to cover the CGM on my arm.

Even as I’m typing these things I’m shaking my head thinking I cant believe I do these things!

But, I do these things because of the looks I get from strangers. As if trying to prevent my disease from causing others discomfort, their discomfort!? As much as the inner boss lady in me doesn’t want to admit it the stares, brow furrows, and uncomfortable glances sting. And as much as I try to let them roll of my back one always seems to slip under my shell. So how to I stop the painful stares and the pressure to hide this already exhausting disease? Educate!

If more people out there understood diabetes maybe those of us in hiding could come out from the shadows.

So I’ve challenged myself to do just that: educate the confused and judgmental! I vow to stop covering my CGM as well as check and dose right in the middle of a restaurant. I would like to challenge other type one’s to do the same. Let’s get this disease out there and teach others what it’s all about so the gazes can stop once and for all.

To top off my challenge to myself to stop being an undercover Type One, I’ve made an Instagram page specifically to share my life with Type One. Not only do I hope to shine light on this disease and teach the uninformed, I wish to provide comfort for other Type one’s. Let’s end the stares for good!


share a story

A Positive Outlook Leads To a Positive Outcome

A Positive Outlook Leads To a Positive Outcome

Anita Brown

http://anitanicolebrown.com/


My name is Anita Nicole Brown and I am an 18 year Type 1 DiaBadAss! On November 12th, 2017 I will be celebrating 19 years with this disease and I will be celebrating!

I want to change the perspective of what it means to be a Type 1 Diabetic!

So how do I plan on doing that? By celebrating everything I have learned since being diagnosed with T1D and by bringing attention to this disease so that others can see the strength we actually have!

So my story is simple:

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on November 12th, 1998 (my father’s birthday and an A1C of 28)! Shortly after, I was also diagnosed with diabetic nerve damage in my legs and feet that cost me the ability to walk for about a year!

Now, this was in no way caused by me or how I was taking care of myself. It was later determined that my diabetes should have been discovered in 8th grade. However, it was not diagnosed until my senior year of high school! And because it went so long without treatment, the nerve damage set in.

As you can guess, it was a difficult time! I mean it was my senior year of high school! A time I was to be excited about prom, homecoming, graduation and college! Instead I spent most of my senior year either at home or in the hospital! And I was so afraid that because of this disease, I would not graduate!

But, I do believe I am a bit too stubborn for that to have been the end of my story! See, when my doctors told me it was a possibility that the nerve damage would never go away and I may see permanent damage….. I was not in agreement!

So I kept fighting.

Kept working at getting my levels in order and learning as much as I could about this new disease. And one morning I woke and my nerve damage had gone away! I do not think I can express the feeling of being able to walk, run, dance without help or assistance or pain!

And to graduate 2nd in my class after all that! But that was not the end of this battle with T1D! There was more to come that (at 18) I could not have been prepared for! You see, I also found myself dealing with many failed pregnancies and even a thyroid problem and even more!

It got to the point that I felt that life was not worth living if this was going to be my life! And I did try to end it all. I did throw in the towel! I remember when I came to this decision and I told God (or whatever power above you believe in) that I could not continue. That it was too hard.

But, I also told Him that if I woke the next morning….. I would know I had a purpose. A reason for being. As you can see I did wake the next morning. And I woke with perfect glucose levels! As I saw this I looked up to God and said: “Message received….. Just tell me what You have in store for me!”

From that moment, I knew I was stronger than I had given myself credit for.I knew I was given this disease because I could handle it. I can learn from it and I can grow! And that has been my mission!

I know how hard it is to have this disease. To constantly have to count carbs, make insulin adjustments, keep up with doctor’s appointments and pay attention to what my body is telling me! It is a JOB! But I now confront it with a positivity I did not have in the beginning!

Instead of being angry or upset, I look to find the positive!

And the biggest positive is the fact that I woke up this morning when so many did not! This tells me I have more to do! That my reason for being has not been fulfilled!

So I decided to go even further! I mean why not be a T1D Actress, Model, Action Fighter? I mean who says we can’t do these things and still be upfront about our disease? Still keep people informed! Still spread awareness? When I was 17 and trying to find someone….. ANYONE I could look to, I had NO ONE!

I am the only type 1 in my family so when I was learning and dealing with this….. I felt so alone! Now, I know I am not alone and I love the strength this T1D community has! I want to show the good and the bad with being a type 1 diabetic. And I hope that by showing both sides, the good is what can be seen and looked up to more!

We are so much stronger than we know and give ourselves credit for! We were given this task of balancing our lives around this disease and making it look….. easy even when it is not! But I know we were selected because we have that power….. we ARE that power!

We may never be “normal” and that is a beautiful thing! No one who has ever accomplished anything was considered “normal”! So let’s let be loud….. Let’s be vocal and show this world how DiaBadAss we truly are! We have the power to tell our story…… So let’s tell it!



 

dear diabetes

Dear Diabetes –

Dear Diabetes –

Photo Credit: David Marcu


Dear Diabetes,

The monster, the nightmare, the thing I never wanted to meet.

Here we are.

Here I am—standing stronger than ever.

Alive, thriving, living beside you.

Day after day.

I’ll admit, I didn’t know that I had it in me.

I didn’t know if I could make it this far.

But you pulled strength out from within me that I didn’t know existed.

You made me who I am today.

Through all the darkness has come light.

I hate you.

I hate something that I can’t put a face on.

I hate that nobody knows how bad this disease really is.

I hate that I can’t fight you off, you won’t go away.

Why me?

I used to ask myself this very question.

What did I do to deserve this?

I’ve been nearly close to death and somehow I’m still here.

You haven’t left me alone, not once.

But even after enduring all the battle scars—I just keep getting right back up, brushing myself off, and keep going.

There’s never been another choice.

The time I’ve spent with you feels like a test.

It’s a fight that’s never ending.

One minute I think I’ve figured you out, and the next I’m completely lost.

I don’t feel like I’m winning but I can’t tell if I’m losing either.

You’ve challenged me to take control and face my worst fears.

You’ve pushed me to the point of breaking, but I never surrender.

I always persevere with whatever strength I have left in me.

I used to be afraid of your capabilities, the unknown, and of all the things I can’t control.

But I’m not afraid.

Dear Diabetes

You don’t have control over me.

This is my life and I’m going to live it.

Even if that means that I have to dance in the rain.

Sincerely,

Me



 

Diabetes: A Disease That Has Become My Life

Diabetes: A Disease That Has Become My Life

Diabetes: A Disease That Has Become My Life

By: Megan Mckay


Diabetes.

A disease consuming me,
Taking every inch of me,
Destroying any control I had left.

A disease that has become my life,
Making my body ache,
Craving perfection that will never come.

Not eating when you’re hungry,
Eating when the disease tells you to,
Too much insulin,
Not enough food,
A cascade of fatality sets in place.

Do you know what a low feels like?
Where your mind loses control,
Sweating,
Shaking,
Barely surviving as you race to get help,
Consuming anything that’s in sight,
Your only goal,
To save your life.

But,
You eat too much,
It happens more times than you’d believe,
The taste of Ketones in your mouth,
A body getting tired,
Eyes aching,
Mind fogging,
Insulin,
Your body craves it,
So you do as it demands,
You take it,
And oh my,
You just hope it’s enough
(Or maybe you hope it’s not too much),
And they wonder why we don’t have better control.

A constant battle,
From the moment you open your eyes,
Your first concern?
Blood sugar,
Is it too low or too high?
Can I eat breakfast today?
Can I even make it out of bed?
When will it end.

Not many get it,
But I do,
We do,
The battle within your own body,
A fight against yourself to stay alive,
I only hope one day the battle will stop,
The cure will come and the worries will fade,
One day,
I hope you wake up in the morning and do whatever the hell you want do.

~MM


share a story


Raising a teen with type 1 diabetes

Raising a Teen With Type 1 Diabetes

Raising a Teen With Type 1 Diabetes

Raising Ezra, Our T1D

By: Christie Meyers

Who knew that day at the pediatrician, we would be admitted to the hospital a few hours later.

My little boy, 5 years old, bravely getting insulin injections and checking blood sugars fearlessly. He said to his Endo, “okay I eat, my mom gives me a shot and I check my blood sugars. Can I go home now? My sisters miss me”. I was amazed as his ability to accept this new way of life. I thought “we’ve got this!”.

That continued for quite some time. Ezra, my “z man” as we call him, took diabetes head on. He began using an insulin pump at age 6. This allowed for more freedom as he went to play dates and played sports. I could administer a bolus by his meter and he wasn’t interrupted.

We both were feeling so confident; so optimistic.

I read about complications and about kids and adults with Type 1 diabetes refusing to care for themselves. I thought “thank God he is responsible. We’ll never have that problem”.


Now we’re here.

Age 12. Puberty. Entering the teen years. And it’s been a rough two years. He eats and doesn’t bolus. He lies about blood sugars. He doesn’t want to carry his meter when he goes outside. Ezra is tired of having diabetes.

He’s embarrassed of always having supplies with him. He’s overwhelmed by the process and never ending responsibility. And I now think, who can blame him? I’m his mother. I don’t have diabetes. And I hate it. The worrying. The midnight checks. The extra prep that goes into everyday. Counting every carb he eats. Measuring food. Packing supplies.

Watching him go through something that I can’t take away from him. I tell him to be positive. That it’s not a choice he has to neglect his health. But ultimately it is his choice. He’s growing up. I can’t be everywhere and I can’t make all his choices.

I believe in him.

I believe he’s going to be okay. He’s going to find a way to find his focus and to be successful mentally, physically and emotionally. What I see is diabetes affects so much more than the physical. And I’m so proud of my son for being who he is and being able to talk to me about how he feels.

It’s been almost 7 years since our lives completely changed. My Zman is my hero. He’s my little lion. Fearless and brave. And diabetes will not beat him down. He’s going to conquer before it has the chance.



I Have Diabetes –

“I Have Diabetes”

By: Tiffany Slabbert

“I Have Diabetes”–

A phrase said by a number of people at any point in the day. It is a phrase that can limit you or it can motivate you – the choice is up to you.

In the beginning when I was first diagnosed –

I used to think it was some sort of punishment to be labeled as “the kid who is sick” and all the stigma attached to being diabetic. It was a combination of being slightly teased about being diabetic as well as the half-hearted: “I would never be able to eat sugar” or “Can you eat that?” responses. Or the constant blood glucose readings and injections and having to excuse myself from class or exams to eat due to low blood sugar. All of this somehow caused me to become ashamed of my diabetes.


why managing diabetes is a full-time job


It wasn’t my fault and it was definitely not a punishment –

Yet I felt as though saying that simple phrase “I have diabetes” would cause my world to shatter and fall apart. I felt judged, like somehow I did eat too much sugar or not exercise enough and that’s why I became a diabetic. When deep down I know there’s nothing I did or could have done to prevent this. It’s a disease that can happen to anyone.



It took me a long time to get over this mindset I had created –

It was a battle to change the way I viewed myself, I am not a broken human, but instead I am completely 100% me. Now wherever or whenever I say that phrase, I own it. I am proud to be a survivor and a type 1 warrior!

Be proud of how far you have come, and never give up. You are greater than your highs and lows.



 

The emotional side of diabetes

The Emotional Side of Diabetes

The Emotional Side of Diabetes

Today let’s revisit a prompt from 2014 – May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with, or caring for someone with, diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and / or your loved one, and how do you cope?

The emotional side of diabetes is what I tap into often. Everyone has their own way of dealing with diabetes, and not one way is wrong.. because every journey is different. I’ve had some people tell me that my viewpoints are often depressing or negative. While I do like to share all aspects of this disease, the emotional side is what releases my mind.

Now in real life, besides the lows and highs that come with this disease, I manage pretty well. Or as best as I can (of course) with the lack of a working pancreas. But I wasn’t always doing so “good”. When I was diagnosed at the age of 12, I thought my life was over. I didn’t want to be labeled or seen as different. I didn’t like the idea of the possible complications or sudden death that could occur from this disease. I just wanted to hide, ignore it, and pray it would go away. I was scared, and I had no one to talk to about my fears or doubts. On the outside I looked fine, but on the inside — I was battling my inner demons.

Along the way, many years of only talking about my diabetes to family and close friends — I eventually started this blog. It was my time to talk about what’s not being discussed. To start conversations and show the reality. The things that many struggle with but are difficult to express or understand. I would say I’m living proof that you can go through hell and back and come out of it even stronger. I know there are many people who are going through what I’ve gone through, and I want to share how bright the future really is.

I would say the emotional side of diabetes is harder than the physical. The needles don’t bother me, the blood sugar checks, the long nights, or the constant monitoring of data. What bothers me now is that I have a family of my own and there is no cure for my illness. Now as I’m trying to teach my children about it, I’m also trying to teach the rest of the world through my blog. It’s open to anyone to share how diabetes has impacted them, because someone, somewhere, is most likely going through that RIGHT now.

I think my biggest accomplishment with diabetes is letting myself become vulnerable. Not caring what everyone thinks, embracing who I am, and who I’ve become — weaknesses and all.  I believe by doing this, I’m able to cope with the emotional side, because I no longer fear, I just live.


share a story


 

Studying Abroad With Diabetes

Studying Abroad With Diabetes

By: Maria Sweezy

(Sugarfree & Sexy Blog)

This past January, I packed my bags full of my most essential articles of clothing (not enough socks as I later realized), a travel journal, and over three months worth of diabetes supplies and boarded a plane for Florence, Italy.

I was surrounded by exclamations that I was about to experience “the opportunity of a lifetime” and that my “life will be forever changed.” Studying abroad is a big deal. It is an even bigger deal for someone with diabetes. I spent months leading up to my trip on the phone with insurance people, both my current and past doctors, my mom, and my pharmacy. I felt like I left America in a bold attempt at looking like I had my shit together, deep down being fully aware that I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I have fallen in love with Florence, Italy…as one does. I have never felt so at home in a place in my entire life. My heart sings with joy every time I can sit down in Caffe Notte with a cappuccino and write for this blog, or skip across Ponte Vecchio on my way to class. I sometimes feel as if I could stay here forever. As wonderful as this time has been, diabetes has also been her usual self. Following me around everywhere I go.

Being abroad, diabetes has left me feeling impossibly alone in ways that I honestly wasn’t prepared for.

Although in my day to day life back home in America I am usually the only person I encounter that has diabetes, I have carefully and meticulously built up a safety net around me. I have a support system. I would spend evenings with a boyfriend who knew a great deal about diabetes from witnessing it first hand and also independent research (bless his heart).

I would be at work with coworkers who I disclosed small bits of my disease with, the important details as they would experience moments where I had to step away to treat a low. I would talk about diabetes amongst my close friends in hopes to make it more present in their reality as it is so perpetual in my own life.

I also keep in touch with dear camp friends who I have grown up with, my “diabesties.” Although we are spread out across the country and world right now, we have been able to find a save haven in a group chat where we can disclose details of our personal lives (sex, drugs, gossip, and school life) and countless diabetes struggles. Our secrets, heartaches, and stresses bounce around freely among unbelievably strong, diverse women that truly get it.

Yet still, 7,025 miles away from anything familiar, I do not have that refined support system physically available to me.

As they tell you, this is a major part of studying abroad.

I was prepared for myself to be thrown into a new environment, surrounded by beautiful new things, a different culture, and foreign language. I was not prepared for the harsh and sudden reality that struck me once I realized that glucose tablets can not be bought at the pharmacy or supermarket.

Or the fact that I could pass out on one of these little cobblestone streets due to low blood sugar and I’m not even sure how long it would take the ambulance to get to me, let alone if they understand English. Of course I am not the only person in Florence, Italy with diabetes. It just has felt like that at times.

I have a constant internal dialogue here that is ferocious and frustrating at times. All of my friends I am surrounded by are deep in the sense that we have all thrown ourselves into the unknown together, but also fresh in the sense that it has only been a few months. The type of understanding of diabetes that allows someone without diabetes to have a meaningful conversation comes after months of exposure.

It has been difficult to not have many people to candidly vent to because as much as they are supportive of me because they are my friends, they do not understand my words in a wholesome way. They hear me proclaiming “I am low” or “my blood sugar is high” but they certainly do not know what these words mean on a technical level. They are understanding of the occasional need to stop for gelato due to low blood sugar and embrace these moments with reassuring smiles as their indulgence is also benefitting my health.

I am grateful for moments like this. With time, I have also befriended a local barista who has diabetes and even though our interactions are brief across our language barrier, it is heartwarming to know she exists in moments when I feel isolated within this disease. She also makes the best cappuccinos.

This journey here across my travels, from Italy, to Hungary, to the Netherlands, to Greece, has made me realize more than ever that as a person with diabetes you must be steadfast and tenacious in ways that many people will never understand. You can’t afford forgetful days. You must always be on top of your game, prepared for the worst case scenario.

Diabetes, and the anxiety that can accompany it, will be in your mind because it is inside of you. I have been working on befriending it as best as I can. Learning about it, everyday is different after all, and learning about myself as I go along. I am recognizing at what point my patience breaks, the moments where I feel fearful, and the moments where I feel confident.

I do not think you can love diabetes, it is a monster at times that robs you of time and energy and has taken the life of a friend of mine. I do believe however that you can certainly love your ability to try to control it. A knight may not love the battle, but perhaps he loves knowing his armor will protect him and the feelings of victory that come from championing through the fight.

All my Love,

Maria


share a story