Recently I asked for folks to share their Diabetes story. I know I was asking for a lot, but thought it’s important that we know we are not alone; that we are not the only person with Diabetes in the world. I wish I had been able to come up with a better title, but sometimes simplicity is best.
I am very fortunate to be able to introduce you to Emily…and this is her story.
My name is Emily and I have been a type 2 diabetic for just about four years now. I was originally diagnosed as a gestational diabetic while pregnant with my first child. I was not really surprised to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes when I was pregnant because I have an extensive family history and well, I pretty much expected it. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about 6 months after I had my baby. THAT, however, I really didn’t see coming. I was less upset than I feel like I should have been for just being diagnosed. Later, I realized that it was simply because I didn’t understand the magnitude of what I was dealing with. Technically though, I’m pretty sure my first thought when I was diagnosed was, “Oh crap.”.
My biggest challenge to date is not staying away from foods I can’t eat or not exercising enough, it’s actually not being ready for my disease. I’m young for type 2 diabetes. While I know there are people who have been diabetic since childhood (type 1 people), I have not, so to face a progressive, lifelong disease WAY sooner than I had expected really threw me off. I haven’t really overcome this one yet. I still have my days when I just don’t feel like being a diabetic. Perhaps I’m at an odd age for diabetes… I’m old enough to not have grown up living with it and knowing it as a way of life, and I am too young to really be ready for the responsibility the comes with the diagnosis. Either way, I have a very hard time accepting my diagnosis, even though I never really let it get me down.
My best day as a diabetic was actually Monday of this week! I just received a completely clean bill of health! My A1c is down to 6.2, my TSH levels are in check, I went to see a cardiologist and they sent me a clean bill of health, I lost weight, controlled my diet, exercised appropriately and even had a great time on vacation, feeling like I left my diabetes at home. I, for the first time in years, am completely healthy and I couldn’t be more excited to say (or type, I guess) that!
Alternatively, I would consider any day that I let diabetes win is a worst day for me. My absolute worst day? Well there have been a few that I can think of…. the worst being my wedding day. Yeah, apparently diabetes made the guest list. I ended up feeling pretty sick from it, having to change out of my dress before I wanted to, and didn’t really get to enjoy the cake we paid so much for. I did, however, have the time of life (once my sugar levels were in check).
I WOULD LOVE TO FIND OTHER DIABETICS. I would love to get in touch with another mostly healthy person in their 20’s who hit the genetic lotto like I did and ended up with a disease most people don’t face until their later years. Someone to relate to the feeling of being cheated. There are support networks out there, but very few for people like me. I have a hard time relating to older people with the disease sometimes. I also LOVE learning new things about diabetes and sharing the things that I have already learned (I actually have acquired quite a bit of information) and learning the tips and trick of the trade isn’t so bad either!
Diabetes have affected my life. It’s affected my family members’ lives, it’s affected basically everything. It plays a role in my decision making for food, where I’m going, how I budget my my money, and what I need to carry on my person. It has ALSO affected the way I think about diet and exercise and the future AND it makes sure that I take the best care of my body that I can (usually).
My family members are all supportive. My husband is my little voice in the back of my head. He reminds me to check my sugar, to eat if it’s been too long, knows exactly what to do when I’m feeling a certain way, picks up my medicine, and grounds me when I get too ahead myself in the self-pity department. My oldest daughter had now taken to asking me if took my sugar every time she sees my glucometer around. Having diabetes has also changed the kind of foods that we buy as a household, so everyone really benefits in the aspect.
My kids are my motivation. Everything I do is for them. I want their mother to be around as long as she can for them and I want to see them grow up as much as I can.
My diabetes and I have a love/hate relationship. I love the accountability and the need to stay in shape, eat right, and take reasonable care of myself. I hate the accountability and the need to stay in shape, eat right, and take reasonable care of myself but only because I HAVE to. I hate HAVING to. Sometimes I just want to go to the bar and have a drink or five and a cake or two, then go for ice cream, but only after a big old dinner comprised of pasta sitting o a bed of mashed potatoes and NOT be in a coma, but then I realize, “ah, who needs the carbs anyway?”.
Thank you, Emily, for sharing from your heart. I hope your family is very proud of you and what you have done. Taking control of Diabetes is not always easy; but it’s always rewarding. You are winning your War On Diabetes!!! And, I really know about that love/hate relationship. I love being in the best physical shape of the last 30 years; I hate hat I had to do it because of Diabetes.
I would love to let folks know your story, too. All you have to do is to fill in the comment box below and let me know. I will send you some questions to guide you in telling your story. We are all different – different ages, different stages of life, and in different places with our Diabetes – and it’s important to know we are not alone.
So, if you are willing to share your story, please let me know…I’d love to hear from you.
As always, thank you for reading.