I've Tried To Forget My Diabetes......
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes ten years ago, when I was nine years old. I was constantly cranky and irritable, always thirsty and going to the bathroom three times an hour, and I had lost a significant amount of weight in only a few weeks. Finally one day I threw a temper tantrum over some tiny annoyance, and my mom decided something was wrong, and took me to the hospital. My blood sugar was 56.0 mmol/L. I had no idea what was going on. I thought I was being punished for some crime I hadn't known I had committed. At first, I stuck to a strict meal plan and kept my diabetes well under control. But then again, I was only nine. It didn't take long before I got tired of not being able to eat what I wanted when I wanted, the way all my friends could. I started using an insulin pump less than a year after I was diagnosed. The way the pump works is that once every three days, you give yourself one needle, which, when you pull it out, leaves a small catheter in your body. Attached to this is a length of tubing, which attaches to a small, pager-sized device that pumps insulin into you regularly throughout the day and whenever you eat. It really made a difference for me in terms of freedom to eat as I liked, diabetes management and just feeling more "normal". But as I hit adolescence, the awkwardness of having a tube sticking into me constantly started to make me feel extremely anxious in public, so I stopped using the pump. I started to just
take injections with my food, and one injection nightly of a long-term base insulin. As I got into my teens, my parents stopped supervising my diabetes as closely, and as a result control of my blood sugars started slipping. I tested very rarely, I never recorded anything and I often forgot to take my shots, or just didn't bother. I knew, in theory, about the complications of diabetes, but I didn't really think they could apply to a 14 year old. My HBA1C numbers started climbing and my parents started keeping a closer watch on me, which only pissed me off and made me try to rebel by letting go of my diabetes. It's been a constant struggle since I was 13 years old and I still don't have a firm grasp on it. When I moved away from home at age 18 I was totally in charge of my own health. And I completely forgot about it. I went to my doctor visits alone, and even they seemed to have given up on me. My HBA1C was skyrocketing. At its highest it was 12.6 mmol/L, up from around 7.5 mmol/L in three months. Even knowing what I was potentially doing to myself in later years I continued to live like I didn't have diabetes. Only in recent months have I begun to manage my diabetes slightly better. It's still far from perfect, and I'm terrified that it won't be good enough. My mother's cousin died, alone in her house, from diabetes-related complications. I don't want that for myself. But it's easy to talk about changing your life around. It's much harder to actually DO it. But I'm trying.