What I Wish People Understood About Type 1 Diabetes.

diabeetus-cat

Hey Y’all! Let’s get realll honest for a few minutes. Is that cool?

For the last year or so, I’ve been struggling with something. Type 1 Diabetes. I know, I know not the confession that most of y’all have been waiting for buuutt this is where I have to start. Something simple, rip off the proverbial band aid before I can go after some real sh*t that has kinda messed with me too. But back to the diabetes, this is something that only my close family and friends know about. I don’t know I guess I have been ashamed of it, maybe a lil scared of what people would think? I also hate getting sympathy and most people say they’re sorry when they find out so I just try to hide it. I take my insulin in the bathroom and do my best not to bring it up. Don’t even get me started on dating. But I also don’t talk about it because just like with any illness, there is a stigma that surrounds diabetes. When most people think of diabetics, they think of overweight, unhealthy people. I know that, because I used to think that too. (disclaimer: I’m not offended by jokes really or that diabeetus meme but this is more for those uneducated comments people tend to make.) I guess I just wanna clear the air, and maybe you can learn something from this, just like I have been learning everyday.

Type 1 Diabetes is not Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 1 is where the pancreas no longer produces insulin, making someone insulin dependent. Usually diagnosed in young children, also known as juvenile diabetes. Type 2 is when, for multiple reasons, the pancreas can’t put out insulin or not enough insulin and usually with exercise and a proper diet, the pancreas can learn to secrete insulin again. Type 1 is for life, Type 2 doesn’t have to be.

The most important part for people to remember is that we didn’t do this to ourselves and imma say it louder for the people in the back- WE DIDN’T DO THIS TO OURSELVES. We didn’t wake up one day, look in the mirror and say to ourselves, man today would be a great day to get diabeetus. If you were like me, it was a slow process where every day you got sicker and sicker and no one knew what was wrong with you-because you were “too old” for type 1 and “too healthy” for type two. *cue the eyeroll* You went about your days fine for the most part-maybe too tired, too thirsty, always going to the bathroom. For me in particular, I would drink about 2 gallons of water a day along with 8 32 oz bottles of gatorade and was still thirsty. I wasn’t sleeping because I was constantly trying to hydrate and going to the bathroom. My symptoms lasted about three months and then another three months where I was treated for type 2 before my doctors finally figured out that I was actually type 1. I had lost almost 30lbs, my blood sugar was in the high 700s, and my A1C was almost at 13 when I was diagnosed. It f*cking sucked and was a culture shock but more on that later.

“Aren’t you a diabetic? Why are you eating chocolate?”

Bruh. Lemme stop you right there. Yes, I am a diabetic. Yes, too much chocolate, pasta, sugar can and will raise my blood sugar. After I was diagnosed correctly and began to work on bringing my blood sugar down, my problem wasn’t staying “too high”, it was dropping too low. I still have low blood sugars fairly often and usually at night. So yes, I eat chocolate and I snack throughout the day but that is only because I would rather have a high blood sugar and have to bring it down than suffer through a low because that sh*t is terrifying. For those who don’t know what a low blood sugar feels like/looks like, I’ll try to explain it. It’s like drowning and you’re gasping for air but the air you crave is sugar, you have tunnel vision towards any source of sugar because nothing matters at that point but getting something, anything into your body. It is literally survival at this point. If you wake up in the middle of the night shaky, sweaty and cold, a little lightheaded, you caught your low in time. But if you’re like me you’ll wake up at the last possible minute, past the sweaty and shaky stage, just cold and you know something is wrong but you can’t quite put your finger on it. You can’t see, you can barely talk, all your brain is screaming at you is to get to sugar, you know you need it but you cannot get your brain to communicate to the rest of your body that it’s go time. So yes, I eat chocolate. Bite me. Anything is better than a low blood sugar and scaring your friends and roommates half to death because they don’t know what to do, other than shove orange juice and chocolate and glucose tabs down your throat because you can’t do it yourself.

My personal favorite- you don’t look like a diabetic.

I can go in soooo many different directions with this one but I’ll try to stick to a few. First off, I understand that this one comes from the perception of type 2 diabetics. but come on now. What does diabetes actually look like? You mean the heavyset guy that doesn’t take care of himself? Yeah I get that. But it’s also a three year old girl who doesn’t understand that every time she eats, her mom has to inject her with insulin and those needles hurt. Diabetes is NFL quarterbacks and Olympic athletes and actors and singers. It’s marathon runners and competitive weightlifters. Diabetes is teachers and doctors and paramedics and even, people in the military. Type 1 Diabetes doesn’t care who you are or how old you are. It doesn’t take its time to pick the next person who gets is, it just happens.

Some days I have bad days. Days where everything goes wrong and no matter what I do, my sugars are too high or too low. It’s hard to realize that sometimes your  body is not going to agree with you and bad days are just a fact of life. When i’m having one of those days, don’t tell me what to do to make it better because chances are, I’ve already tried whatever you’re suggesting. Sometimes, it’s just better to let it be and hope for a better day tomorrow.

I don’t understand how you inject yourself so many times a day. I could never do that.

Well thank God that you don’t have to do that. I wish I didn’t but you know I kinda have to in order to survive. And yeah it still sucks, especially when you’re a tiny girl like me and you hit scar tissue at least twice a day, but it’s not something I can decide to live without just because it hurts. (also I kinda like needles now, at least enough to get five tattoos)

You shouldn’t work out so much, you’re only going to make your diabetes worse.

????Huh??? I don’t quite follow the logic on this one because the gym has been the only thing to keep me sane, quite literally saved my life but that is a story for a different blog. When I’m in the gym, I’m not the girl with diabetes, I am the girl who lifts heavy sh*t and gives everything I have into my workouts.

I get that there are always going to be people who have to put their opinions (that they can’t back up with facts btw) into places they should stay out of. Diabetes is not me, it is just something that happened to me, and something I will have to live with for the rest of my life. But that is okay because I am coming to realize that being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, amongst other things, was maybe a blessing in disguise. It has made me stronger. I am not some small voiced weak little girl anymore. I had to grow up just a little faster and take more responsibility for my choices because every choice I make has a reaction on my body. I couldn’t blame anyone for anything that happened to me. I had to become smarter and more educated. I had to learn how to take care of myself and put myself first. I am not perfect and yeah I have days when I want to eat a whole bag of ruffles and french onion dip but I’ve also learnt restraint.

It’s the little things you learn to enjoy the most. 

xoxo,

katie

 

 

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