Category: Support

My Journey With a Type 1 Diabetic

My Journey With a Type 1 Diabetic

My Journey With a Type 1 Diabetic

Written by: Mitchell Jacobs

I remember the first time I met Brittany, it was like yesterday. She was this cute, bubbly, giggly girl. But mostly what I remember is how beautiful I thought she was. We began dating when I was only 19, I was fresh out of high school without a clue of what the world was or even what diabetes was.

All I knew was my pickup truck, my dog Petey and this girl I couldn’t stop thinking about. Then one day I was with her and she introduced me to this disease I had never been familiar with. Known as Type 1 Diabetes. We were out to lunch like any couple would be and Brittany began to explain to me the details of her disease. I didn’t know anything, and at the time it didn’t really phase me much either.

As months passed we moved in together. This is when I really started to see how ugly of a disease Type 1 Diabetes really is. Her family had recently dropped her from the insurance and Brittany and I began to feel the repercussions of it, barely being able to afford food, let alone insulin.

I began to see Brittany’s blood sugars crashing to lows so severe that she would become unconscious. I was having to wrestle with my girlfriend going from normal to extremely combative to unconscious, and having to call 911, all within an hour. I was flabbergasted by this disease. “What in the HELL was going on!” Why is her blood sugar so wacky and why can’t we figure this out?”

I remember becoming so involved in trying to figure this disease out and be as supportive as I possibly could. One day she had an appointment at the endocrinologist’s office, and I stayed up the whole night thinking about questions to ask this Doctor, so I could write them down in a notebook. I needed to know how to fix this disease. “it’s simple” I thought, the blood sugars are numbers, carbs are numbers; “there has to be an answer to this equation.” I was wrong. I soon realized how complex diabetes was and that I couldn’t fix “it”. I couldn’t do anything but be her rock.

We continued to live our life from hospital visit to hospital visit, DKA, and many close calls. We were trying to be 20 something-year-olds, going out having a good time and trying but barely managing this disease. In all honesty, I noticed times through our past that we tried to ignore the fact the Brittany wasn’t a “normal” girl. We would go out and be irresponsible while trying to ignore this MONSTER. When I finally realized that I was going to have to really step up for Brittany was when I had recently turned 22, Brittany and I went out for a few drinks at a local restaurant.

We went home and the next morning Brittany woke up to take her insulin. Which at the time she was taking a long lasting insulin while supplementing with a short acting insulin. Well, she took the short acting insulin on accident and I woke up to find her walking through the house. Pale white, sweating profusely, and incoherent. I immediately knew her blood sugar was low. Coffee was brewing, and the sugar was sitting out with a teaspoon already in the tupperware.

So I grabbed the teaspoon and coerced Brittany into taking the spoonful of sugar. This is when her grand mal seizure began. She clenched her teeth, her eyes rolled to the back of her head, and I grabbed her as she began to collapse, screaming for my mother nearby to come help and call the police. The minutes felt like hours waiting for the EMTs to arrive on the scene.

I can only remember crying this hard as a child. “What have I done, what am I doing to this girl?” I felt like I wasn’t doing the best that I could do. I became well aware of how fragile her life is every single day. Yet, she embodies such perseverance and courage that I’ve never seen before. I began to think about diabetes constantly and how I can help Brittany live a long life.

This is the person I want to spend my entire life with, and I better figure out how to keep her around. Shortly after this incident, I left for Naval boot camp, Brittany became my wife, the mother of my children and was able to get health insurance. She now has the best health care and products to assist her in managing this disease.

However, the battle may be easier, we have not won. I have been blessed with this woman. Whom I am so proud of for how far she’s come and for showing me not only her weaknesses but her inevitable strength. She has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. Thanks to her I am the man, the husband, and the father that I am. This journey has been paved with failures and victories but, it’s only the first chapter of my life with a Type 1 Diabetic.

When I vowed.. in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.. I meant it.

Feeling Judged With Diabetes

Feeling Judged With Diabetes

Feeling Judged With Diabetes

Dealing with diabetes is more than just a number. It’s more than an A1C result, a blood sugar reading, or the amount of carbs I’ve eaten throughout the day. It’s the endless minutes, hours, days, and years that I’ve been battling this disease.

If diabetes wasn’t hard enough—I often feel shame or guilt for how I manage my diabetes. I get the sense of anxiety and nervousness before going to an endocrinologist appointment. As if I have something to prove, and I’m needing acceptance.

It’s a look—or unspoken judgment that is presented. I feel uneasy and withdrawn—thinking to myself that maybe I’m not doing as great as I thought I was. Being told what I could be doing better, rather than all that I am doing right.

I think it’s a lack of communication and understanding. I feel misunderstood and judged with diabetes. I know that my health care team work towards helping me, but I sometimes feel like they don’t understand me. It’s one thing to be educated in something, but it’s another to be truly in depth with it.

Don’t get me wrong—I take a huge part in this as well. There are ways I could better communicate to my endocrinologist and health care providers. After all, there’s no one else who knows my diabetes better than myself. I know what works and what doesn’t. It’s been a lot of trial and error over the years. What’s great is when I can find a doctor who is on my team and we work great together. They understand where I’m coming from—while I can correspond with their recommendations.

By explaining that I’m trying my best but maybe could use help in certain areas.

Even when trying my hardest my efforts don’t always seem to show.

Why I don’t wish to try a certain medication and why I’m avid about it.

That having different views or ways of doing things doesn’t mean “noncompliant”.

How I’m feeling a certain way and that it’s okay to feel this way.

That sometimes just by having a solid conversation, helps ease my mind a bit. Hearing that I am doing a good job makes all the difference going forward.

Receiving some appraisal for being at this appointment, that I care, and to make me feel a little better leaving.

Feeling less judged with diabetes and being understood by my physician helps my diabetes management which ensures a better meWhile I do need their expertise and care, I also need myself in this more than anything. I know in the end it will be methat will get me to tomorrow, next week, 5 years, 10 years, 30 years down the line. I know what I’m capable of, and how far I’ve come. Nobody knows that but myself—that’s all that really matters. In this journey, I’m my own captain, leader, worst enemy, fan, advocate, everything.

diabetes burnout

Dealing With Diabetes Burnout: How It Is Different For Everyone

When hearing the phrase “Diabetes Burnout” the first thing that comes to mind is a form of severe distress. But when having type 1 diabetes for so many years, I know this isn’t always the case.

How can we directly define what dealing with Diabetes Burnout means for those that are diabetic? How come we pinpoint the exact symptoms or signs of having Diabetes Burnout?

We can’t. It’s not a one-size fits all scenario.

Just like how diabetes affects everyone differently, so does the effects of feeling burnt out by the disease. This disease is an everyday, lifelong battle. With no days off, no vacation – it’s a full-time job.

There’s been a time in my life where I would go days without checking my blood sugar – aimlessly taking insulin – and consciously avoiding my diabetes.

That is what I would consider some of the worst effects of being burnt out.

Now at the least, from time to time. I feel unmotivated and inconsistent with my diet.

All of which I would consider feeling “burnt out” by diabetes.

Does feeling burnout mean you’re a bad diabetic? Absolutely not. With anything in life, things can become too much to handle at times. But with diabetes, there’s no escaping it.

While battling ourselves, it’s also easy for others to judge. By making assumptions without knowing the actual demands and sacrifices that consist of having diabetes.

I’ll admit it’s hard to break free of feeling burnt out. I’ve battled with feeling helpless, depressed, and overwhelmed with caring for my diabetes.

diabetes burnout

But how can it be avoided? Dealing with Diabetes Burnout is not easy. Are there ways to help bounce back from it?

I went ahead and asked some diabetes groups of how to prevent or reduce the effects of feeling diabetes burnout. Here’s what others have suggested:

1. Taking vitamins.

By taking vitamins such as B-12 has helped others boost their spirits, energy, and helped them stay motivated. As well as Vitamin D, which helps boost your mood. Vitamins can help our bodies where we have a deficiency.

2. Exercising and staying active.

Exercising helps to lose weight and increases serotonin in the brain. Serotonin helps enhance mood, which helps to make you feel good.

3. Getting involved.

Participating in support groups, volunteer events, fundraisers, charities, and diabetes advocacy are all great ways to support the cause. By being involved helps you stay focused and determined to make a difference. Not only are you making a difference in your life, but others as well.

4. Setting a goal.

When setting goals, it’s important to be realistic. Making small changes can help achieve those goals, rather than setting expectations too high in a short amount of time. Whether it be lowering your A1C, losing weight, or making certain lifestyle changes.

5. Starting from square one.

Sometimes the best thing to do is start from where you began. It’s a task to break bad habits and develop new ones. But it can be revitalizing to start fresh. By re-evaluating how to manage diabetes, re-educating yourself, and essentially gaining a new perspective.

diabetes burnout

This journey we’re on is a crazy ride. What I’ve learned from having diabetes, is it’s a lot of trial and error. Seeing what works and what doesn’t. Our bodies, minds, and our diabetes are each our own . By identifying and accepting our flaws, we can make improvements for the better.  I’ve taken the unnecessary pressure off by knowing there is no such thing as perfection with diabetes. “I am human after all“. All I can do is strive to be better. Strive for improvements in my life. That’s my success story.

“Maybe life isn’t about avoiding the bruises. Maybe it’s about collecting the scars to prove we showed up for it.”



why managing diabetes is a full-time job

Why Managing Diabetes Is A Full-Time Job

Why Managing Diabetes Is a Full-Time Job:

 

I don’t think ‘we‘ as diabetics give ourselves half the credit that we should.

After all.. managing diabetes is a full-time job.

Having diabetes is like running a marathon where there isn’t a finish line.

Some days you’re keeping up to pace, and other days you’re falling behind.

It’s an around the clock job. No days off. No vacation.

You can’t forget about it and come back to it later. (Even if we wish we could).

There are days where diabetes gets unintentionally placed on the back burner.

It get’s mentally exhausting and we go through periods of feeling burnt out.

Maybe it would be easier if managing diabetes was all that we had to do.

But it’s not.

Then comes life.

Having to go to work—go to school—raise a family—and the list goes on.

It’s not ALL about “managing diabetes“.

It’s managing life on top of it all.

We tend to be hard on ourselves.

We forget that we’re only human—we’re imperfect.

We’re not always going to have the “perfect blood sugar“.

We’re going to have bad days where nothing seems to go right no matter how hard we try.

But we embrace each day with its own challenges and it’s own variables thrown at us.

We don’t get a paycheck.

We get an evaluation test called an A1C.

Sometimes this test doesn’t justify all the blood, sweat, and tears we put into this disease.

7 days a week—365 days a year

We feel a lot of pressure to do well.

For our health—For our loved ones—and for our future

Sometimes we think “what do we have to show for it?

When will this all pay off?

That answer is ‘today

Through all the frustration, grief, and exhaustion we experience.

We have today.

We may have one of the hardest full-time jobs.

But we have control over diabetes.

Diabetes doesn’t control us.


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