Thursday, November 1, 2012

Type 1 Day

Ironically, last night I had a dream where I asked someone, "Will I ever be able to stop taking insulin?"


This question was one of the first my eleven-year-old self asked as the nurse told me, "It will only hurt like a little bee sting." She pricked my skin with that first syringe, the kind with the thin tube and orange cap. It was the first of countless shots I will endure over my lifetime, and that was all it took to know that Diabetes wasn't going to be easy. Shot after shot, finger prick after finger prick, eye dilation after eye dilation, carb counting after carb counting, blood work after blood work, well...you get the picture.

Diabetes is a lot of pressure. And even when you think it's not, in those moments when you choose to conveniently "forget to test" your blood sugar, or put off changing an insulin pump site, or sit on the couch to watch The Big Bang Theory instead of working out...it is still a lot of pressure. Some of us are better at dealing with it than others, and some of us are just better at hiding our true feelings about the little bugger.

Sometimes you find the more you chase the numbers and constantly test and bolus, the more out of control the whole situation seems. The more you try to pinpoint patterns, the more hormonal or extraneous highs and lows pop out of nowhere. Just when you think you know the exact amount of carbs in that bowl of oatmeal, you forget that last night's workout is still in effect. And just when you least expect it, some A-hole will throw an "if you eat right you can cure your Diabetes" at you.

At times it is absolutely overwhelming.


In case you are wondering, "no," I won't ever be able to stop taking insulin. I am a Type 1 Diabetic, with a short-circuited pancreas and therefore a reliance on manufactured insulin for survival. Many people with other diseases and ailments are in similar situations, but you usually don't hear someone say, "Just eat right, it will cure your need for anti-rejection drugs" or "exercising more will help you grow back that limb you've been missing since birth." Type 1 Diabetes is an auto-immune disease; the genes leading to its onset were present in my body since birth. Type 1 Diabetes is not preventable. It is fatal without treatment.

Diabetes hasn't been easy, nor is it likely to become easy in the future. It is hard. And even when some of us make it look "easy" or act like its "no big deal" trust me, it is. It is 24/7, no holidays, no breaks, no days off for the rest of our lives.

But today isn't all doom and gloom. The Diabetes community is full of success stories and selfless acts. I would like to take a moment to thank Chris (the "H") for agreeing to make a donation to JDRF for our wedding guests, Holly, for raising money toward this year's Type 1 walk, and Victoria, for her amazing courage and fundraising for the JDRF ride in Death Valley. These are just a few of the people willing to go outside their comfort zone in the name of a Cure for Diabetes.



Izzy also helps to find a cure, except she uses cuteness instead of currency. Also, she's a terrible speller.


November is Diabetes Awareness month. I encourage any non-D readers to participate in JDRF's Type 1 for a day campaign, look up the differences between Type 1 and Type 2, review the symptoms, or check out a World Diabetes Day event on November 14.