Thanks To Diabetes, I Have Learned How To Overcome Obstacles And Achieve My Dreams

Thanks To Diabetes, I Have Learned How To Overcome Obstacles And Achieve My Dreams

This disease changed my life.
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In honor of National Diabetes Month, I want to write about my life as a Type 1 Diabetic.

My seven-year diabetic anniversary, or diaversary, is fast approaching. Being a diabetic is a daily battle of ups and downs. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that affects the insulin production in the pancreas. Which means that my body doesn't produce insulin and I must manually inject it by syringe or by something called an insulin pump. Without this daily injection, my blood sugar will continue to rise, with the digested glucose having nowhere to be absorbed.

Since my diagnosis in 2011, I have had to deal with daily finger pokes, multiple insulin injections, and the mental struggles of having to deal with extreme highs and lows.

Diabetes is an invisible disease, there is no physical evidence that anything is wrong, which can be emotionally draining.

Without the support of my family and friends, I know that I wouldn't be the person I am today. The amount of support it takes to be able to walk around every day, with a disease that's invisible to the majority of the world, is tremendous. Every day I wake up and hope that today is going to be a good day, but I have no earthly idea what my day will actually be like.

Even though we are told that we can eat whatever we want, just as long as we give the insulin for it but it's not that easy. I am slowly beginning to learn that eating clean makes my numbers so much better. Being in college makes having a disease like this so much harder. You want to be able to get pizza at 11:00 while you're studying, or sleeping until 2:00 on Saturdays, but diabetes makes that almost impossible. I spend night after night, being woken up by blaring alarms telling me my blood sugar is high and I need to give a correction dose of insulin, or that I am too low and I need to get up and find some juice or fruit snacks.

There are many times that I wish I didn't have this disease and that I was normal, but I'm so glad that it's me and not someone else. Having diabetes has helped shape me into the woman I am today and for that, I'm forever thankful.

If I hadn't grown up with this disease I wouldn't have learned how not to let difficult things stop me from achieving my dreams.

In the last 7 years, I have successfully continued to show horses competing at the state and national levels and now at the collegiate level. I will not let diabetes run my life or stop me from my passion.

Cover Image Credit: @diabetesresearch

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What Everyone With Diabetes Wishes You Knew

I wish people knew that it is a constant battle.
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I do my best to keep my story positive. I am a positive person day in and day out, but I can’t help but wish that people knew certain things about my disease without me having to teach them or without me having to help them understand. Although I love educating others, it begins to feel as though no one around me wants to hear it.

When I have a few bad days, I want to hide. I want to scream at my body. I want to throw it away. I ask myself, “Why? Why did this happen to me?”

But then I stop and remember that it happened to me because I can handle it and because I was meant to teach others about it.

I wish people could see the battle that I am fighting, some days more than others.

I wish people could see the numbers that follow me around all day.

I wish people could feel a high blood sugar.

I wish people could feel a low blood sugar (hypoglycemics don’t count).

SEE ALSO: 15 Different Reactions You Get When You Have Type One Diabetes

I wish people could see me struggling to solve this disease.

I wish people knew that my diabetes is not someone else’s diabetes.

I wish people knew that Type 1 Diabetes is not Type 2 Diabetes.

I wish people knew that thousands of people are struggling with this disease around the world and some of them don’t have the resources to survive.

I wish people knew how invasive this disease is between the finger pricks, the pump sites, the sensor sites and the syringe holes left in my body.

I wish people knew that I can eat that cookie.

I wish people knew that I can eat two cookies if my heart desires it.

I wish people knew that I am constantly thinking about my blood sugar.

I wish people knew that I can’t go anywhere without a glucometer, insulin, and glucose tablets.

I wish people knew that diabetes can cause a lot of other problems in my body.

I wish people knew that this disease isn’t as easy as it looks. It’s more than just pushing buttons and testing my blood sugar.

I wish people knew that I have to consider every single piece of food that goes into my mouth and how it might affect me later.

I wish people knew that diabetes affects my sleep.

I wish people knew that sometimes I don’t feel like fighting my body.

I wish people knew that certain foods can really really hurt me for a few hours.

I wish people knew that my life is a little different than theirs, but that I wear it well.

I wish friends could understand.

I wish family would try harder to.

I wish people knew that my disease is life-threatening and that it usually never leaves my mind, no matter how often I practice yoga or how often I meditate.

I wish people knew that diabetes is just as much mental as it is physical.

I wish people knew that I’m constantly thinking ahead, when all I want to be thinking about is right now.

SEE ALSO: A Letter To Those Who Think Diabetes Is A Joke

I wish people knew that life is so precious to people with diabetes.

I wish people knew that I didn’t do this to myself.

Cover Image Credit: Erika Szumel

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6 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Asthma

There are definitely some common misconceptions around those who have asthma, let's debunk them.

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I was born with chronic asthma. My entire life, everything I ever chose to do depended on how my symptoms were doing that day. I always had an inhaler in reach, with a nurse and at my house.

I used to even take these pills that tasted like candy before bed every night just to be able to sleep soundly. There have always been questions every time I have to take my inhaler or worries about me not being able to participate in certain activities when in reality, I feel fine most of the time.

There are definitely some things people don't understand about a condition as common as asthma, so let's talk about them.

1. It's a lifelong condition.

There will always be room for improvement, but not a guarantee that it will go away forever. At the end of the day, the risk of inflammation is there for the entirety of one's life.

2. I won't die any sooner than you.

I always get asked if I will have lifelong complications due to my condition or if I need to take certain measures and precautions to ensure I live a long, healthy life. To be honest, everyone does. Not just the ones with the weaker lungs.

Something like smoking cigarettes harms me as much as it harms you. In the end, the only reason someone with asthma's life is any shorter would be because they didn't take care of themselves properly; either by abusing or not taking the correct medication.

3. It's more common than you think.

Over 20 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma. It ranges from minor to severe. Some people even go their whole lives without knowing they have mild asthma because it simply never truly affected their lives as much as normally perceived.

4. Boys are twice as likely to develop asthma than girls.

No one really knows why, but boys really drew the short end of the stick. They are more likely to not only develop asthma but also show more bronchial hyper-responsiveness and have positive allergy tests.

5. We are still capable of doing normal everyday things, just differently.

Depending on the medication you're on and the level of severity of your asthma, you may not have to sit out the soccer games or bail on camp. I, for example, can only do certain levels of physical activity in short bursts. However, it is still recommended every one does regular exercise to maintain healthy lifestyles.

6. Some say "it's all in your head."

Although things like anxiety and stress could trigger asthma attacks, asthma is very much a disease that affects the airways. It's a disease of inflammation that causes the lungs and the immune system to overreact to certain triggers in the air. Some people have more triggers than others and some reactions are more intense.

Everyone's different, but no one is just thinking it.

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