November is Diabetes Awareness Month so expect to see me wearing a lot of blue in my upcoming blog posts. Today I am getting a little personal about my diabetes which is rare but necessary for me at this point in my life.
Extreme thirst, frequent urination, and fatigue. Those are the three symptoms that I remember leading up to my diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes at 12 years old. Some days I would just stand in the kitchen with the water running drinking glasses back to back but it was never enough. I couldn’t quench my thirst. This went on for a while and even though I thought it was weird I was more concerned with things like my crush at the time and what to wear to school the next day, my priorities were obviously in order. One day I had really bad stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting (something I would become all too familiar with over the years) and I knew something wasn’t right. My mother asked if I wanted to go to the hospital and I said yes, everything was really a blur because I was in so much pain. I had to give a urine sample in the ER and when the doctor brought it back he told us I tested positive for juvenile diabetes. Shit just got real.
I cant tell you how many times I cried in the hospital during that week, there was so much information to take in and I just didn’t want to deal with it. Learning all about insulin injections, finger sticks, and counting carbs was just the beginning. I practiced giving injections on a yellow sponge similiar to one you would use to wash dishes, but that didn’t compare to doing the injection on myself. When it was time to do it for real I cried…again. No amount of tears was going to change the fact that this was now my life and I had to grow up in the blink of an eye. What twelve year old was mentally prepared to take on diabetes and everything else that comes with an invisible illness? I sure as hell wasnt. Over the years I struggled A LOT with my diabetes and looking back I realized I was angry and I took that anger out on myself by not not taking care of my health the way I should have. I spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital battling with my diabetes but really battling with myself. I wanted to be “normal” so bad, I was ashamed of my diabetes and I felt like some people took pity on me which I hated. I wish I knew then what I know now because I would have been more kind to myself in so many different ways.
It took me a long time to get here, I’ve been to hell and back but I’m currently at a place where I am comfortable with my diabetes. I still have my struggles because diabetes is a tough disease but I do my best everyday. I’ve never openly discussed my health and there are things I will never share and things that people will never understand unless they are also diabetic. But I do think I am ready to be more vocal about diabetes and show people that it doesn’t stop us from living our lives just like everyone else. Limitations have been put on me countless times but I pay them no mind. I’m still setting goals and smashing the hell out of them all while juggling pricking my finger, counting carbs, giving injections, and doctors appointments. I want people to be more aware and educate themselves about both types of diabetes because the diagnosis has become very common. If anyone is reading this and happens to be newly diagnosed or knows someone who is struggling with their diabetes I just want to let you know that it gets better. Always put yourself and your health first, make sure you have a solid support system, and know that everyday will be different. You just have to count your blessings and stay strong!