3 Month Diaversary
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on May 28, 2013, just about 3 months ago. I’m still honeymooning and I haven’t had any major scares, but I have learned a few things about diabetes and myself between then and now. I’m a big fan of lists, so here are a few of those things in a nicely ordered, numerical list:
- I loved potatoes more than I thought I did. I have distant relatives that emigrated from the land of rolling green hills, sheep, and potatoes to America and while I never met them, I did inherit a love for potatoes. Baked, fried, covered in chili, underneath a poached egg, it doesn’t matter- I loved potatoes. I still eat them, but only sparingly because of all the carbs. I never realized how much I loved potatoes until I wasn’t at liberty to eat them whenever I wanted- the phrase “you don’t know how much you love something until it’s gone” applies to me and potatoes all too perfectly.
- I’ve gotten over my fear of needles. This was by necessity. I hated needles before I was diagnosed and avoided them at all costs- “Oh, you need to know my cholesterol levels? Are you positive it can’t wait until next year?” “Oh, you need me to donate blood? I don’t even know my blood type and honestly, my boyfriend is more than willing to donate blood in my place.” Now, I use a needle on myself 4 times a day, every single day so there really isn’t any more room for fear. However, I am still afraid of spiders.
- There is no such thing as a diabetic diet. I saw a nutritionist a few weeks after I was diagnosed and she was dismayed that a medical professional had told me that I should hit 45-60 grams of carbs with every meal and that I should modify my diet to hit those ranges. She explained that this was outdated advice and as long as I had maintained a healthy diet before my diagnosis, I could absolutely maintain that diet post-diagnosis. As long as I cover for the carbs I’m eating with the appropriate amount of insulin, I’m good. The only “rule” that is truly important is to not eat sweets every day and honestly, that applies to every single person on the planet, not just diabetics. This obviously is a little different for people who are slightly overweight or have other medical conditions on top of diabetes, but for the most part there is no such thing as a diabetic diet.
- The knowledge that you have a chronic illness that doesn’t have a cure can be devastating, and that’s okay. Diabetes isn’t easy- it’s always on your mind, it affects your mood without you even realizing it, and it can cause some pretty serious side effects. Being told you have this disease is not easy at all- I think I withdrew from 90% of society for a good month. Want to go to bars? No. Want to see a movie? No. Want to just hang out? No. I was depressed, angry, and confused at why I was sick, and kept waiting to wake up and have the diagnosis be a dream. I haven’t woken up yet- this new life is very, very real. I have developed a few ways to cope with it all, and one of the best (and simplest) is to remind myself to take it one day at a time. I might have a bad day where my sugars are all over the place and all I want to do is cry, but the next three might be perfect, problem free days where I’m relatively normal. It’s okay to have a sad/angry day every now and again, but you’ll be okay as long as you keep life in perspective. Remember, you need to dictate the disease and not let the disease dictate you.
Those are only some of my big takeaways, but I learn something new every day. The tricky thing about diabetes is that it changes all the time, but I find that as long as I keep an open mind and a sense of humor I can adapt to it and not let it get me down.