I watched this video this morning at Aussie Therese's
It made me think of my own type 1 diabetes and how it's changed my life.
I've had it for so long that I can't imagine life without it. It has become 2nd nature to me.
It's funny, because probably most people would think of diabetes as a cross in life. I don't really
think of it as that, because of that 2nd nature thing. What I mean by that is that every time I take a shot, 5 times/day, or monitor my blood sugars, 5 times/day--8-10 when pregnant, or count carbs before I eat, I'm not thinking "Oh, I hate this" or "Why do I have to do this?" It's automatic. I don't even think about it. It's offered up in my daily offering and forgotten.
I "got" diabetes when I was 10 years old. My mom also has type 1 and she "got" it when she was 24. She had 2 kids at time, my brother and I, we were like 2 and 3 years old. She ended up going into a coma and was in the hospital for a month, us kids were not allowed to see her...wow, how things have changed, huh?
I did not go into a coma. Usually diabetes is triggered by some kind of flu, and the flu had gone around our neighborhood, (we were living in Santa Rosa, CA at the time) and after a week, everyone drug themselves back to work or school and got better. I didn't get better. My mom started thinking diabetes. Back then, they only tested sugars with urine. (SO INACCURATE) She tested me after nibbling on barely anything and my urine was "moderate" and then tested my dad, who had feasted on fried chicken and chocolate on the bottom cake and he was "normal".
I remember her calling the doctor and they said she could bring me in that night or the next morning. She asked if I could go into a coma, they said, "well, yes..." So she brought me in right away. I still remember that as such a funny thing about the whole situation. Anyway, they brought me in and I was in the hospital for a week.
Oh, things have changed over the years. (almost 32 years by the way) Back then, I took one shot in the morning, then after a few years, that changed to 2 shots, one at bedtime and one in the morning. Then a few years later, it changed to testing our blood instead of urine, by pricking fingers. This is still the case. It just amazes me how much more accurate it is now. I think it is most common to take a shot with each meal and at bedtime, which is what I do.
As a kid, don't get me wrong, I went through some things with it. It was hard. I hated it. The first year I was perfect on the diet, never even nibbling off the diet. Afraid if I did, I'd die. The next year, towards the end, (we had moved back to MN by now) we had a 6th grade end of the school year party, and there were chips and lots of snacks. I remember being tempted by them and gave in and ate some chips! I used to walk home from school...probably like 10 or 12 blocks and I cried all the way home, thinking I was going to die. You know what? I didn't die! I remember testing the waters I guess, from that moment on. Always taking my shots but not really watching it like I should have. Until I was an adult.
Now, it is the high blood sugars that are damaging to our internal organs. It is the high blood sugars that cause all the terrible things Diabetes can cause. That is why it is so important to watch those blood sugars and count those carbs!!
Once finger pricking started and taking insulin with each meal, I hated the attention I got from everyone. I have to admit, it's still something I try my best to avoid. Once I'd take it out, who ever was by me or around me would come over and ask (stupid) questions. I still, to this day, do not like having to educate everyone who asks, only for them to not really understand anyway. Type 1 diabetes, for some reason causes some kind of fog on the brain for people and they just don't get it. I find this so funny when I am in the hospital and the nurses don't get it. They always start out treating me as a gestational diabetic, then they always end up letting me take care of it myself and just tell them the numbers and amounts of insulin I took. It's like type 1 is so rare or something.
It's not that rare. It's not that confusing. My pancreas does not work at all. It does not produce any insulin, ever. SO, I take insulin to compensate for the food I eat. SO the food has to match the insulin. Over the years this has changed also. We used to count everything, fruit, vegetable, fat, meat, bread, milk. Now, it is carbohydrate counting, it's the carbs that make the blood sugars rise. Of course the others foods must be eaten too and in moderation, but it's a direct insulin/carbohydrate ratio, in order to monitor blood sugars.
Type 1 Diabetes is not caused because of poor diet, or obesity and used to be called Juvenile Diabetes, because it is usually diagnosed before the age of 30. It is controlled by diet, exercise and insulin management. I was always a skinny kid. I remember in 7th and 8th grade being a size 1 and having a hard time finding clothes. Our little Ben Franklin store had size one clothes!!
Type 2 Diabetes is caused by that poor diet, or obesity. In a type 2 Diabetic, their pancreas still works some of the time, just not properly. It is sometimes reversed by diet only, which is the hard way, but most often is controlled by pills or even insulin and diet.
The funny thing about people who do not have diabetes is they always say, "Oh, I could never take all those shots." or "How do you take all those shots?" as they shudder at the thought of it. I always tell them, it's not really the shots that are a big deal, it's the diet, the watching everything. But, you know, it's not anymore. It's really 2nd nature now. It can be a balancing act. It does make some things harder. I've found it really tricky losing weight, exercising and adjusting the insulin to do so.
I find myself embarrassed by the disease now, that I'm older and overweight. With each baby I've kept the last 10-15 lbs (I'm having my 6th baby, I'll let you do the math) I think people think I overeat or don't watch it, when in actuality, I am probably eating much healthier than they are. This is all because of the big growth in Type 2 Diabetics across the country, and the unhealthy risks associated with this.
Insulin is known to make a person gain weight. My insulin levels when not pregnant are around 6 units before each meal and around 24 of the bedtime insulin. Now, by the end of the pregnancy, those levels are unbelievably high, breakfast I'm currently at 42 units, lunch 22 and supper 18, my bedtime is split between night and morning and the total is currently at 86 units!! The insulin is daily rising and monitored. I'm eating the same amounts, it's the pregnancy hormones. In a normal pregnancy, your pancreas automatically does this same thing, it produces the right amount of insulin. In my body, I put it in there. The day I have the baby, those levels go completely back to normal.
I have very tight control of my diabetes. With each baby, especially by the 6th baby, I just know I am going to gain 50-60 lbs automatically. Which is humbling to say the least. Oh, I don't want to get off on diet, losing weight and exercise yet, there will be plenty of time for that once I recover from the
Diabetes is not controlling me. I am controlling the diabetes. I can do anything anyone can do. I can exercise, I can do sports (OK, I'm not good at sports, never have been, but I can do them!) People in my past have said things about my diabetes and not being able to have children, well, that was the wrong thing to say to me!! I can do anything.
This does not hold me back.
**We do not contribute to any research in order to find a cure for Diabetes, because their research involves unborn babies. I can live with this. I would never take a cure, so I could add a few years onto my life, by means of a baby losing their life. Aussie Therese also has information on her blog regarding this serious subject. (just fyi: Cancer and MS research companies, also have no qualms using aborted babies to do their research. We really have to do our own research before contributing to any cause)