What Nobody Wants to Admit About Living with Type 1 Diabetes
A Life Story About T1D
For some who may not know, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. This means that my body attacked itself and my body no longer produces insulin (the hormone that turns the sugar that you eat into energy). It's not something you can catch from me, it's not easy, but it is life threatening.
Now that we have that out of the way, I want to clarify a few things. First, if you believe that Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is not life threatening, then you need to check yourself. If someone with T1D does not get insulin for more then 4 hours they will start having some serious complications or even death. If their blood sugar goes too low, again serious complications or even death. Type 1 diabetes is no joke and if I'm being honest, us diabetics make it look easy.
Now before I continue, let me just say that I am not a doctor. I am 22 and have had T1D since I was 2. I have been on shots, all sorts of insulin and pumps etc. So I definitely have a lot of experience in the area but I am by no means a doctor.
The hardest part about living with T1D isn't poking yourself 12 times a day. It is feeling 100% alone. Now don't get me wrong, I have an amazing support system. My parents, siblings, friends, and family have all been there for me since day 1. But let's be honest, they do not feel it the same way that I do.
So when my blood sugar is off, and I feel sluggish and sick because I'm high. Or because I basically feel drunk in the middle of school because my blood sugar is low. They don't feel that. They do not feel the physical and emotional issues that T1D has brought me. And it is not their fault. I wouldn't wish what I have on anybody. But it does make me feel alone. Like I am the only person in the world that could possibly feel like this. I know I am not there are plenty of T1D's in the world but when you are surrounded by normal people, you tend to easily get lonely.
A month after I was diagnosed I started asking my parents why they were doing this to me. Confused, they asked me what I meant. My toddler self explained to them that if I am sick, I go to the doctor, the doctor gives me medicine, and when the medicine is gone I am all better. I couldn't understand why my parents kept getting more medicine. Didn't they want me to get better?
By the time I was 6 I had stopped asking "why me" and just accepted that God gave me this task because he knew I would be strong enough to get through it. I had to believe that. Because I couldn't go around thinking that I was given a disease by random. I couldn't believe that it was random for a 2 year old girl to have to think about death. For a brand new mother to have to explain to her child that 1 wrong dosing decision could end her daughter's very short life. For her to give up a good nights sleep forever because of a concept called " Dead in Bed." I was 8 when I made peace with death. One wrong move and I could be gone.
I have been bullied for being the "weird kid." People didn't want to be friends with me in kindergarten because they thought I was contagious. A few years later they got jealous because I was winning awards because I had to grow up much faster then they did. In middle school I was the one with a phone before everyone else so I could call my doctor and nurses to make dosing decisions. By high school I was just looked at as the freak. I stopped checking my blood sugars, I stopped caring. I started lying about my blood sugars to my parents. All I wanted was for 1 day to be able to not care. I was exhausted. I've grown up a bit since then. I moved away to college and have figured out how to actually do everything by myself.
I still wish for one day that I could be normal. To not have to think about numbers or insulin or anything like that. But at the end of it all I am thankful to have T1D. It has helped me to grow up when most of my peers couldn't. It has allowed me the opportunity to make changes in people's lives that I wish everyone had the opportunity to do. It has introduced me to friends I will have for the rest of my life. I still would not wish this disease on anyone. But I have learned that I really am strong enough to handle it.