I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was 11 years old. In the 8 years that I have lived with this condition, I have heard many, many, many ignorant comments. Honestly, I can't put all the blame on individuals for being ignorant. According to the ADA, around 1.25 million Americans have Type 1. That's a large number of people dealing with a pretty much invisible illness, I didn't know anything about Type 1 Diabetes until I was diagnosed. Living with diabetes poses many unique challenges, I think that clearing up some common societal misconceptions can make that one less issue that Type Ones have to deal with.
1. It is not caused by sugar
I could have literally eaten all organic, paleo, gluten free, whatever and still gotten Type 1 Diabetes.
2. There is no cure
If I could eat cinnamon, drink special drinks, are try a weird diet to not have Type 1 anymore, don't you think I would?
3. The needles are not comfortable
Every time someone sees me inject insulin somewhere, I'm met with "Doesn't that hurt?" Not to be rude, but stabbing a needle into my body doesn't feel GOOD. You get somewhat used to it but it doesn't feel good.
4. I can eat anything
I can eat anything as long as I correctly count the carbs and give the correct amount of insulin. Cookies? Yes. Cake? Yes. I may say no sometimes because no one should say yes to dessert all of the time.
5. I can do anything
I played three varsity sports in high school and currently am in nursing school on the opposite coast of my own coast. Yes, it is a little more difficult and requires a lot of extra effort and planning, and yes there is a slight, increased risk but I can follow my dreams just like anyone else.
6. It's unpredictable
I can literally do the exact same thing two days in a row, and end up with extremely different blood sugars. Sometimes things affect my blood sugar that are out of my control: period, extreme weather, sickness, a change in sleep schedule, stress, etc.
7. It's largely invisible
Sure you may see me check my blood sugar and you may be able to see my pump site but what you don't see is the sleep I missed the night before because I was up treating a high/low, the constant worry of do I have enough supplies, what's my blood sugar when am I going to eat, you don't see the fatigue, the headaches, the physical and mental exhaustion, the nausea. You probably haven't seen me when I'm so low and confused that I'm not sure what is happening around me. The next time someone tells me that, "At least you have the pump which does it all for you," I'm going to send them this article.
8. It makes me stronger
Despite all the things listed in the precious point, I am grateful for my diagnosis. It has brought me in contact with so many amazing, fellow Type 1 Warriors. It has given me perspective, and appreciation for the little length. It has made me stronger, resiliant, and determined. It has sent me on my path to become a nurse. It has helped shape me into who I am.