Diabetes Blogs

Diabetes - The Invisible Disease

This blog post is a bit belated because I was actually in the emergency room this week because of diabetes related issues. :( 

It brought up a lot of thoughts and feelings for me while I was recovering at my parent's house. People see me and think I look like a pretty normal person. A majority of Americans don't see diabetes as a disease that is serious and/or life threatening. Let's be clear though, the last thing I ever want from someone is a sympathy vote, but I do want people to realize the severity of diabetes so that we can all stand up and fight for a cure. 

Wednesday evening started with my friend, cousin and I going out for appetizers at the new restaurant that had just opened in my small town of Baxter, MN. I got home around 11pm and realized I had to change my pump site and reservoir. Changed it and went to bed. I woke up to my alarm and felt very sick. I reached over to grab my blood sugar kit to test...5 second countdown...and I was 438. WHAT!?! My first thought was that my pump site was a bad one, so I quickly changed the site. I felt so sick that I went to lay back down. My alarm went off 75 minutes later. Grabbed my blood sugar kit, tested and the 5 second countdown ticked away....564. This never happens. I got up and changed the site as well I used a new vial of insulin thinking maybe the insulin had gone bad because of the recent warm weather.

I had to leave for work so I was off. I was thirsty, dehydrated, and felt like I was going to pass out an hour into my shift. Checked my blood sugar again.....594. Not good. I am a person who tries to keep good control of my diabetes, so having high blood sugars like this was nauseating physically and very frustrating. I had to ask my manager if I could head home early. I won't play out all the rest of the details...but all in all I changed my pump site 5 times, used three different vials of insulin, and finally did 2 large manual injections. After all this, my blood sugar would not drop below 400. My grandma insisted I go to the hospital because of all my symptoms and how unusual this was for me. Because my blood sugar had been so high for a prolonged period of time it was the first time that I ever had ketones in my system. I was discharged and spent the next 2 days on my parent's couch trying to regain my strength.

I want to best explain to people what living with type-1 diabetes is like....

Walking on a tightrope while juggling 50 items in the air...

You want to control your health but with diabetes sometimes things are totally out of your control...

You don't get to pick your sick days, they pick you... 

Someone once told me having diabetes was like a ticking time bomb...you are just waiting for something bad to happen... 

Diabetes can be a very invisible disease. People who don't see you on a day-to-day basis don't see the days that are bad. I believe that it's our job to tell people the whole story so they can better understand the condition.

Now, now...I'm not trying to be a Debby Downer I just want the public to understand the struggles of people living with diabetes, so that we create more awareness and push for more funding on a national level because it is a serious condition.

Though I just got off of recovering from being quite ill...I also want people to know what diabetes has done in my life positively....I am a stronger, more independent, compassionate and grateful person. I was told when I was diagnosed back in 1999 that I wouldn't be able to travel because it was too risky. Well doctor (he's no longer my doctor),  I've traveled the world and rode on an elephant through the jungle, zip lined through the Thailand forest, and steered a camel up Mount Sinai in Egypt. I'm so grateful every day for my life and the days where I feel good. With some hard work, and plenty of patience, I feel like I can conquer the world. 

To all my people who have diabetes out there....how do you explain to friends, colleagues, what it's like trying to juggle diabetes? 

What thing in life have you conquered that others told you, you wouldn't be able to accomplish?

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