Many people think that being diagnosed with diabetes is, socially, the end of the world. In some ways, yeah, it is! The hardest adjustment for me was connection. I did not know many people with diabetes, and could not ask someone going through similar circumstances what it was like. I had tools that helped make diabetes an easier part of my life, but nothing to replace the importance of someone saying “I understand.”
At the age of twelve, I received and insulin that was supposed to help me regulate my diabetes through constant drips and and calibrations for food and exercise. I thought that because this little machine took care of my diabetes, I didn’t have to. What a mistake! There is no CURE for diabetes, just tools like and insulin pump, to make it easier to live with.
As I continued through my teenage years, I would only test my blood sugar as often as I felt I needed to. Sometimes this meant six times a day, and other times, my kit was lucky if it saw the light of day. Yes, my doctors told me the horrors of what could happen if I didn’t keep track of my blood sugar, but at age 15, I was more worried about looking good in a homecoming dress. Note to any diabetic reading this: test your blood sugar as often as instructed by your doctor! I struggled with this for years. Honestly, it was recently, around New Years, 2008 that I decided how important my health was to me. As a teenager, I fit the bill for carefree as far as diabetes went, but now I realize that my health does matter. To be honest, sometimes, diabetes is so painful – poking my fingers, giving myself insulin pump insertions, being unable to communicate when something went wrong – that it seems like the world is going to crash on me. My friends and family are always telling me that they could never live with this disease, or that they are so proud of me for being able to handle diabetes, but none of them actually have diabetes. I found this to be very hard growing up. Until my senior year of high school, I was the only diabetic at the school. I had no one my age to turn to, no one older than my to ask what would happen next.
For anyone out there feeling like the shots, pokes, meter readings and doctor’s visits aren’t worth it, I know how you feel! There is no cure or reason for why certain people are diagnosed with diabetes, and it is hard to make a connection when you feel like you are the only one. That is why I find website so helpful – you are never alone. As things change in life, diabetes is always there, but knowing that someone else is there also means that there is a community of support.
(Check out what diabetes community programs are offered through your hospital or local health center, chances are, people living with diabetes are closer than you think!)
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