Category: Struggles

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.


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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


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It's Like I Fell Into a Deep Well

It’s Like I Fell Into a Deep Well –

It’s Like I Fell Into a Deep Well –

By: Krystal Konzal

For the first time I felt completely consumed by diabetes. It’s always been a part of me and to onlookers I have it under control. It must not be so hard, they say. She looks fine. It’s so hard I don’t even know how to tell you.

It’s like I fell into a deep well.

The water creeps up past my neck. Will I make it through this day alive? How do I get rid of these feelings? I’m strong and independent. Why do I feel so weak and longing for someone to hear me. Surrounded in darkness and pain, I feel so alone.


This is when I see a rope. I do all I can to stand on my tippy toes. Reach. A little higher. There, got it. I call this rope faith. God sent it down to remind me He is there, even if it feels I’m walking through hell, trapped in a well.

How will I ever climb out?

Muster all you can to find the beauty in life, do not be consumed by my circumstance, I say to myself. I need to climb out of this well, some knots in this rope will make it possible. I tie the first knot, that was my choice.

My husband helps me tie the next. He loves me, accepts me and is so patient with me. My angel mother, she ties the next. She listens and loves and knows the dread, she carried me through it for years. My father he ties one, because that’s what he does. My family and friends, they don’t know what I do daily to stay alive, but I know they love me. So, they tied one. My nieces and nephews look curiously at me and ask the greatest questions. They make me feel noticed. They tie knots in that rope and allow me to tie a few more because they remind me I am strong and I must show them sometimes we have to fight no matter how hard it is.

Keep going.

I find myself inching my way out of the deep well water. Suddenly the doctors, the nurses, educators and assistants they all surround the well and cheer me on. With their knowledge and supplies they give me strength. They let me know it’s possible and that they will help. I just have to climb a little higher.

Don’t let go.

Finally I see light and I’m above ground. All along life was beautiful, my circumstance, not so much. Surround yourself with support. Find it and fight for it. Climb and tie a knot whenever you can. Connect with others who can relate and they may keep you away from the well.
You may will fall in again, but this time the rope is there and the knots are formed. You must not forget, you know how to climb and life is beautiful.


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Diabetes Won't Stop Me From Living

Diabetes Won’t Stop Me From Living

Diabetes Won’t Stop Me From Living

By: Nickie Eckes

I have type one diabetes. I was diagnosed back in February of 1990, at 5 years old, because my body decided it wanted to wage war upon itself and destroy the beta cells in my pancreas.

I remember going to the hospital, and I remember being terrified and having no idea why all these doctors were “torturing” me. I just wanted to go home with my mom, dad, and brother. They said my blood sugar was over 1000 and I had to stay.

The weeks that followed in the hospital were not fun. I had gotten used to getting up and playing and running on stop. Now I was being told I had to live on a strict schedule, only able to eat a certain amount of food at certain times, along with a shot of insulin to ensure that my blood glucose levels were maintained.

They also informed my parents of a place called Camp Sioux, a camp for kids living with diabetes to go and have a “regular” camp experience, but also learn about diabetes. I loved going and it made me feel not alone because everyone was diabetic, and I made some lifelong friends. The type that understands me when I just need “a minute” or “a snack” and understand all those diabetic jokes that make my stomach hurt from laughter.

I’ve dealt with the highs and the lows of this disease now for over 27 years. I’ve handled people telling me if only I would take better care of myself, I wouldn’t be this sick. I did nothing wrong to get this illness, it’s an autoimmune condition. My body can’t make the hormone insulin, which is what is needed for the simple sugars you get from food to enter your cells for energy.

I have to calculate everything I do in a day, from what I eat, to how much I’m going to be moving, along with stress levels and illness (such as common cold or the flu) just to ensure that my blood glucose level stays within a good range and I don’t pass out due to a low blood sugar, or go so high that I get diabetic ketoacidosis (meaning your body is producing a thing called ketones and those can make you very sick). And what works one day may not work the same the next day.

I had the years of rebellion and not caring what my numbers were. I did the whole I’m gonna die young anyway so who cares. And then I decided, I wasn’t going to let this disease keep me down. My friend calls diabetes livebetes because he says “it won’t stop me from living!”

 

Research has made many amazing developments since then, so much now that newly diagnosed people are being told that not much in their lives has to change; they just need to know where their numbers are and how much insulin flow take for those different numbers. We can even program those numbers into a pump and have it do the dosing for us (although not completely without thought from us).

We now have faster acting insulins that instead of having to wait 30 minutes after taking them to even start eating, we now only have to wait 5 minutes. We have what is called a Continuous Glucose Monitoring system (or CGM for short) that can tell us our levels every five minutes, which helps a lot given it can predict a high or a low before they occur, and we can correct the issue before it becomes an issue.

In fact this year, with any luck, I will get to obtain the new diabetes pump, with the first ever closed loop system on it! Both my doctor (who is also diabetic) and I are rather excited for this and are not so patiently waiting. There’s still always planning and calculating everything. It helps, but it’s not a cure. All of these advancements sound amazing and are fantastic, but it’s still a heavy load to carry.

Diabetes Won’t Stop Me From Living

I will keep fighting. I am strong. I hope to one day be able to say “I used to have diabetes.” And because of all this, I remind myself while I may have diabetes, it does NOT have me.


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Phoenix Rising Out Of The Ashes

Phoenix Rising Out Of The Ashes

By: Colleen Mattson-Goos

A few years ago a friend of mine referred to me as a “Phoenix Rising Out of the Ashes” and after thinking about this for some time I have come to the conclusion that he is right. I have a quiet strength that many people do not see until I feel the need to call upon it. Some have even mistaken this sense of quiet calm as weakness. They are wrong.

Unlike many others who have submitted their stories, I did not have a happy or healthy early childhood. I was often sick with ear infections or viral infections. I did not physically or emotionally grow the way most children do and I wet the bed constantly. I did not talk to people, especially at school, and was held back a grade due to a failure to interact. I did not feel safe anywhere and I just wanted to disappear. I was lonely, scared, and felt worthless.

By the time I was 9 years old I had had already testified in court due to abuse that had occurred in my home at the hands of people who I should have been able to trust. My dad and stepmom gained custody of me at this time and my overall health started to improve. I finally had a sense of security and felt that I was an accepted member of my family. I started to live like a child should, even if still very quiet.

Three years later my sense of security and health came crashing down, and my family was thrown into yet another crisis because of me. Or what I incorrectly perceived as my fault.

It was about January of 1984 that I started to feel like something was very wrong but I could not describe it. I was tired all of the time and started sleeping throughout the day, even in classrooms. I went home and slept, I fell asleep watching T.V., or playing with my younger sisters. I was constantly drinking water and was going to the bathroom every 10 minutes. I had always been so tiny that clothing never fit right, so my rapid weight loss went unnoticed by myself and my parents.

I smelled death and even had thoughts about dying, but I still could not put into words what I felt like. How do you tell your parents that everything stinks like decaying matter and that you think it is you? How do you tell them you think you are dying when you cannot even describe what you are feeling to begin with?

On February 22nd I came home from school like normal and went into my room to practice playing my flute. I recall sitting down and putting my flute together, but after that I have no memory. I have no memory of my parents taking me to the hospital, or being in the emergency room. My stepmom later told me that when the nurses put a gown on me I was so thin I looked translucent; I weighed 50lbs and I was 12 years old.

What I do recall is waking up and being told that I am now a diabetic. In the 1980’s they still referred to this as “juvenile diabetes” and they knew it had to do with the immune system but not exactly how. I was told that I now have to take shots every day to live, and I need to test my blood sugar several times a day. I was also to follow a “diabetic diet”. I practiced injecting insulin into an orange and by the second day I was injecting myself and seemingly moving forward.

My early childhood had already set me up for emotional difficulties including eating disorders and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. When I was taught to care for my diabetes what the educators and doctors unknowingly taught me was that I now had the ability to gain weight, lose weight, and even easily kill myself if I wanted to. In my mind this became a covert power and something to cherish. The beast that emerged was my secret friend. Unfortunately by the time I was 19 this friend, in combination of lack of access to care, caused the loss of a baby who would now be 26.

In 1992, after years of quietly abusing myself the way that I did and suffering loss, I discovered that I was pregnant with my daughter. I started to care for myself because I wanted her more than anything one could imagine, and in July of 1993 she was born. She was a perfect, beautiful, redheaded baby. Unfortunately, complications from my diabetes, C-section, and emotions arose and I was placed in ICU for some time.

My daughter went home two weeks before I did, even though she was born early. I had severe postpartum depression from this separation, and such a horrific fear of harming my child that I regressed. I left the hospital under 70lbs after her birth and the Beast was back with a vengeance. I was hospitalized numerous times over the next few years, and once I was placed in psychiatric care. One day when my daughter was about 3 years old, she asked: “Mommy are you dying?” I looked into her face and saw so much fear it shattered my heart. I swore to myself, and silently promised her that I would harness the beast that is Type 1 Diabetes, Diabulimia, and Mental Illnesses.

With the support of my husband and our families, I have seen our daughter up, and I have maintained a healthy weight for over 20 years. I am almost finished earning a Master’s in Library and Information Science with a GPA of 3.972, and I am a Teaching Assistant at the university level. My A1C’s are no longer 12+ and with my CGM, and pump we sleep better at night. Sometimes the beast breaks its chains but the Phoenix always rises to the challenge and my story is not over.


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Never Be Ashamed For Being Different

Never Be Ashamed For Being Different

Never Be Ashamed For Being Different

Throughout my school years, I hid my diabetes from my peers. I felt embarrassed and ashamed for having a disease that was easily misunderstood. When I went to class I never came fully prepared for a low blood sugar. I wouldn’t check my blood sugar or administer insulin in front of people. If I had to attend to my diabetes, I would do so in the bathroom. The only people aware of my condition was my family (of course) and a few really close friends.

I didn’t want to be treated or viewed differently from everyone else. It went to such far extremes that I was putting my life at risk at times. Which ironically became even more humiliating when it came down to it. I recall my doctor advising that I should try an insulin pump, which I completely avoided. I didn’t want the looks or stares with wearing a life-saving device.

I remember getting teased on one occasion in particular in school when someone saw a insulin syringe in my purse and accused me of taking “drugs”. I simply explained: “no, this is insulin, a hormone that I MUST take everyday to stay alive.

After many years of battling my self-esteem and confidence, the worry of what other people think went away. What it eventually came down to was realizing my health and well being comes before anyone’s perception of me.

I started talking and opening up to more people about my diabetes which then brought on more conversation and ways for me to express myself. I embraced the person I’ve become by sharing even the littlest details with pride. Hiding it for so long made me feel like a prisoner in my own body.

Now I have an insulin pump and CGM, which I wear proudly. I give myself insulin and check my blood sugars wherever and whenever. And in any given opportunity I try to educate more and more people because I know what it’s like to feel alone and misunderstood. So this is my way of taking strides to inform the public and let other’s know they’re not alone. And that you should never be ashamed for being different but feel empowered for what makes you unique.


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We Are Not Letting Diabetes Win Anymore

We Are Not Letting Diabetes Win Anymore

We Are Not Letting Diabetes Win Anymore

By: Jodi Otis

10 years ago our lives were forever changed when my then 6-year-old son, Bailey, was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic. I will never forget the day his beautiful brown eyes looked at me as he uttered the words….”Mom, am I going to die?

I swear my heart stopped for that moment in time. I saw his life flash before me in just a matter of seconds. The tears softly rolled down my cheeks as I promised him he was going to be OK, that no matter what, he was going to feel better soon.

Before we knew it we were off to Children’s Hospital where his blood sugar was almost 800 and he had large ketones but was not in DKA. We spent the night and as many T1D parents do—you admire them as they sleep. As I sat in the darkness and silence the tears fell like rain.

And I prayed—I prayed for him to find peace and the strength to handle this. He was six, 6. He should be worrying about if he was going to jump in mud puddles or ride his bike not what his blood sugar is. I knew we had a long road ahead of us.

The next two days we had training so we could take our child home with us and be experts in diabetes. I should have known he would have had the most amazing courage, he took the poker and meter from the nurse and tested his sugar all by himself. He really has no fear of anything!

4 years later, when he was just 10, his 14-year-old sister, Bree, wasn’t feeling well and he could see the telltale signs and he told her to take his meter and check her sugar and if my heart did not stop again….her blood sugar was almost 300.

I couldn’t help but feel anger—not towards her but for her. Anger that she will have to struggle for the rest of her life after seeing him go into DKA twice and be hospitalized. After seeing him have high blood sugars and low blood sugars and feel awful. After seeing him get sick with the slightest cold or virus sometimes. Seeing him have to adjust….EVERY…SINGLE… THING…HE…DOES….TO ….SURVIVE.

I knew she would have a hard time, she is such a picky eater and not a good sleeper, meaning she can sleep for 12 hours at a time, crazy teenagers! She went through a period of depression and I felt her slipping through my fingers and she used her diabetes as a weapon.

I was heartbroken and angry for so long, I felt like diabetes had won, it had taken over my family and my life. Until we decided that we are not just surviving anymore. We are not going to let diabetes win anymore. She had to find the courage to come out on the other side of depression, not an easy thing to do.

Bree has an amazing spirit. Her smile lights up the world. Bailey has the strength of a million men. His courage is far beyond words. Both Bree and Bailey have raced Motocross for several years. It is mentally and physically demanding. Diabetes could have robbed them from a sport they love but they never gave in or gave up. They are my heroes, they are my true warriors. We choose how we live each day, you, me, we choose. Not the disease.

Every day that we fight, we win.


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We Are Dying For a Cure

We Are Dying For a Cure

We Are Dying For a Cure

By: Eddy Murphy

 

I’ve fought off writing about diabetes in an honest and truthful way for almost fifteen years. I guess it’s taken me that long to come out of a state of denial, becoming more intimate with it than anything I’ve ever been passionate about.

Perhaps my shame is what has gotten the best of me. I never wanted to admit that, by default, I was weaker than everyone else around me. It has taken me this long to realize that I’m stronger than everyone I know.

I’ve hazily confronted death more than fifty times, waking up in a hospital more than once, or coming to my senses watching my mother wince in pain, holding her belly, saying I inadvertently punched her in the gut while in the throes of a hypoglycemic seizure.

We were both soaked in orange juice turning sticky, when whatever sugar made its way into my bloodstream, brought me back from the brink of death. And because of times like these, it has been hard for me to accept my worth as a human being.

I hate drawing insulin out of a syringe, knowing it could be my last.

I hate doing my necessary rituals of survival in front of my friends, backpacking through the mountains of my heart, because, in the moment, everything else is beautiful.

I just want to revel in the earth that is my home, and then I have to confront this ugly thing, grab it by the horns and tell it I’m not going anywhere. Not now. I’m going to live this moment.

There’s this superficial feeling I get, where I am validating myself by taking type 1 diabetes on, thirty miles from nowhere while experiencing the most beautiful places I have ever been. As if I’m doing things most other people are afraid to do, while being at the mercy of the whims of an overpriced drug that I have to love and hate simultaneously. It is a feat to come out of every trip into the mountains unscathed, deflecting a scythe with a smile.

Before, I would have life-altering lows to bring me out of my denial. I would only check my sugars 3 or so times a day, not catching highs until way beyond their reign. And seldom would I realize I was two glucose tabs away from death, getting closely reacquainted with diabetes when my hands began to seize and I couldn’t speak. Thankfully, circumstances have worked in my favor all these years. Someone was there, or I caught the tail end of consciousness before things went too far down.

Now, I’m a man. A man who feels his age and more. I love a woman with every flame left in my soul. I am grateful that someone accepts me for all my shortcomings; more importantly, I am grateful that someone appreciates the enormity of my life’s battle. What a human thing it is to love. It is the music of the human experience and I get to embrace it after all these years of not feeling human anymore.

Consequentially, I feel the need to revel in every moment I spend with this beautiful person. My life has been an imitation of the real thing for fifteen years until now. Love knows no diseases. Because of this, I am even more angrier now than ever before about the ugly greed of the pharmaceutical companies, the FDAs lackadaisical approach to pushing forward a potential cure/cure’s, and the ignorance of the general public to the suffering of 1.2 million people who have been stripped of a future.

I mean this in every sense. 1.2 million people in this country could die at any moment, yet ‘with proper management could live a happy and fulfilling life’.

Because of the requirement of insulin and the perpetuity of type 1 diabetes, it is a cash cow for large pharmaceutical companies and doctors across the country. And if my life ends in tragedy, I can be blamed by citing “improper management”. At least they got their bag of silver, and will still do so as long as this disease remains with a cure and profitable.

So for now, my wallet is being squeezed dry, and I’m being forced to be grateful for just being alive. I have no assets. I will never be able to afford the land in Montana I want. In truth, I am living in what would amount to Great Depression standards of living. And the public doesn’t know or care because the majority of the media attention is given to type 2 diabetes.

No one gives heed to our deadly fight because diabetes as a whole is linked to laziness and poor diet.

In the meantime, all of our non-type 1 friends will continue to make jokes about us shooting up drugs and having too much sugar as a kid. Many in the support community are cute about type 1. “Christmas is a time to be grateful” and “T1D looks like me”. I am not sure if censorship helps the cause. Trying to make others aware of this dangerous disease by dodging the real tragedy of it is what has stunted any real instigation of progress in the type 1 activism culture. Victims cower in the corner, unsure of how to convince the general public of the need for a cure.

The last fifteen years I resigned my unworthiness to type 1 diabetes, and couldn’t fathom the heroics of what I did by walking through the mountains to improve my life. I couldn’t fathom my own significance in educating people about the injustices we face everyday, and the urgency of this moment.

We are dying for a cure.  


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Letter To The Man That Wasn’t There For My Diabetes

I sometimes wish you would call me and ask how my diabetes is doing or if everything is going okay.

Just for a moment; acknowledge my diabetes.

It doesn’t define me but it’s such a huge part of my life and the journey I set out on everyday.

The journey you never joined me on.

I can’t imagine how you felt hearing the news that your daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, an incurable disease.

Thinking to yourself — why me, right?

I asked myself that question too.

But now I ask why couldn’t you ever accept or embrace it?

I needed to hear from you that “everything is going to be okay”.

But I never did and probably never will.

You never had to see me on the floor unconscious, or in a hospital bed with DKA, or up all night crying and praying that this would all go away.

You had it easy.

I thought you were doing me a kind favor by ignoring it and thinking that I had this all under control.

But this disease is hard, it’s real, it sucks, and honestly I feel like I’m just winging it.

I needed you in my corner, cheering me on.

But you were nowhere to be found.

I felt like damaged goods; I wasn’t “perfect” in your eyes anymore.

Diabetes was too much for you to handle.

I get it, I do.

Sometimes this burden feels like it’s too much for me.

But I can’t quit.

Now that I’m doing good, it may seem like I’m winning.

But I haven’t won yet.

It’s not fair to get to see me at my best, but not at my worst.

This is not how it works!

When I put my boxing gloves on, you should have put a pair on too and fought right alongside of me.

But you didn’t.

You chose to tap out.

This isn’t me being angry or resentful. This is just me confidently saying “I’m going to be okay”.

I forgive you.

I don’t need validation or approval.

I got this.

I found myself, and my voice.

I found a whole community that has my back.

I have a beautiful family that is there for me every step of the way.

With all my weaknesses, strengths, victories, and failures… I’ve made it thus far.

I’m proud of who I’ve become, and I’m never going to quit.

My Journey With Diabetes And The 5 Stages Of Grief

My Journey With Diabetes and The 5 Stages Of Grief

My Journey With Diabetes and The 5 Stages of Grief

Throughout my journey, I’ve experienced and endured the five stages of grief. The hardest part about this disease is the emotional aspect. If only I could have accepted the diagnosis from the get-go, adjusted to the life long changes, and lived happily ever after.

But unfortunately, that’s not how the journey unfolded.

Having to give myself insulin injections every day for the rest of my life seem painful, but that’s the least of my pain. Checking my blood sugar every day, all day, throughout the night, seems daunting, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Denial

It’s almost been fourteen years since the day I was diagnosed. I was 12 years old at the time. Granted, I was old enough to grasp the idea that things were now different but I couldn’t process it to the full extent. I thought I would get home from the hospital and things would go back to normal. Or I could try to ignore it and it wouldn’t affect me.

I was in “denial”. Denial that I was different than my family and friends. Denial that I now had to use syringes to inject myself with insulin to or I would die. Denial that I wasn’t okay. Denial that anything bad could ever happen to me.

I felt invincible, and I could just skim through life untouched. I was only a child. I didn’t want this and I couldn’t accept something I didn’t understand.

Anger

My denial towards diabetes went on for a few years until I had severe life threatening run-ins with diabetes and I soon realized I couldn’t avoid it anymore. My emotions started pouring out. I felt sad, desperate, and angry.

I was angry with my family mostly. I inadvertently took in out on them in desperation for help. I was angry for not feeling understood. I was angry for feeling helpless. I was angry that I couldn’t change this. I was angry in the fact that I didn’t want to be angry at all.

I didn’t want to be bothered. I didn’t want to be asked about what my blood sugar was or what I was eating to fix it. Or if I took my insulin. I didn’t want diabetes.

Bargaining

I finally reached a point where I was desperate for answers. I was experiencing grief over the life that I envisioned I would have without diabetes. I see all my peers going to class, dances, and after school events without the fears and thoughts that I constantly carried around.

I hid my diabetes from others. I would go to the bathroom to eat a snack or give myself insulin injections. Nobody knew that I had diabetes. But after awhile I started fearing for my future for how I was taking care of myself. I was constantly being reminded of the inevitable truth.

I know that I wanted a family one day, with my limbs, eyes, heart, kidneys, and myself intact. Whether I wanted to face it or not, this is what I have to deal with. I felt cheated, as to why I had to carry this burden. I just couldn’t figure out how to get where I needed to be.

I was fearful of the highs, more so than the lows. I was using a life-saving yet deadly drug known as insulin, to try to save the long term effects but not thinking of the short term amplifications. I was bargaining by trying to find peace within this, but essentially just gambling with my life.

Depression

As time went on I realized that this fight, this disease just isn’t fair. Often feeling defeated, wherein areas I feel I was trying to improve, I thereby have a lack in others. I stopped caring. I stopped seeking attention.

I kept to myself for awhile and struggled with an eating disorder called diabulimia for a short amount of time. I battled with my weight and how I felt about myself. The depression also led to drinking to cope and thereby also having a seizure.

The depression I felt was so subtle, so easily overlooked. But the depression was there and it was real. I felt alone and that was the worst part.

Acceptance

One of the happiest and most pivotal moments in my life was when I was able to find the courage to let go of what I can’t change. I was finally able to reach acceptance with my disease in the five stages of grief.

Becoming a mother was what helped me see my life in a different perspective. That there is a reason that I’m here. I’ve been able to come out from the other side and see the beauty and strength in all that I do.

I was able to take my life back and love the person I’ve become.

To find purpose in my struggles and use what I was given for the good. To help others, to educate, to inspire, to empower, and show compassion. I believe the gift of life is to make others brighter.

I’m now able to embrace my journey, my success, my struggles, my weaknesses, my doubts, my fears, my hurt, my love, my essence and live on