Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Diabetes is Dumb... my diabetes story

I've been wanting to write this post for a really long time because sometimes writing your feelings down does wonders...

You probably know since I posted on Facebook that I was diagnosed in November with Type 1 Diabetes. I had gestational diabetes with Sienna (Gestational Diabetes is where your blood sugar is out of whack because of the pregnancy and hormones and often goes away). I controlled it strictly with diet, had a healthy baby, and it went away. A six week follow up test showed that I had "pre-diabetes" - something associated with type 2. In my head I thought that I would develop diabetes in my lifetime, but not for a good 10 - 20 years, right? That is when most people get it...

Last year there were many times I didn't feel the best - fatigue, muscle aches, ect.  I often worried about my health thinking something was off but whenever I went to the doctor they found nothing wrong except allergies, low iron or the fact I had two littles. Todd and I went on a trip to Vegas and while there, we were walking around the mall when all the sudden I got super thirsty. All I could think about was getting a drink of water. Once I found water and an Izzy soda, I drank so much I made myself sick to my stomach and couldn't eat my Chipotle. It was like I could not stop chugging water - like my thirst could not be quenched until I made myself sick. Super strange.

A few days after we got back I got blurry vision. Not up close, but things far away like road signs were blurry. After three days I decided to check my blood sugar and it was high (like 200s - supposed to be between 90 - 130). I called into the doctor and since I had blurry vision they told me to go to the ER since it was the weekend. This was a complete waste of time (and money) as they said that my blood sugar, although "mildly/moderately high" would not cause blurry vision and told me to visit an eye doctor and talk to my family doctor on Monday about the diabetes. Literally the next day, the blurry vision went away.

I went into the doctor and after he looked at the blood sugar numbers I had been recording, he told me I had diabetes. He was thinking it was type 2 since I had gestational diabetes but still wanted to test me for type 1 since I didn't have the typical type 2 characteristics (age, weight, family history). He put me on some pills to lower my blood sugar, and had me take some tests. After a few days of being on pills, my blood sugar numbers were not improving so I went back to the doctor a week later. The test results came back which is why the meds weren't working - it was Type 1. Meaning insulin four times a day.

For those that don't really know the difference of Type 1 or 2 (like I didn't know before my diagnosis)- Type 1 is an autoimmune disease - meaning your body attacks itself - in this case it is your pancreas. So my body attacked my pancreas and it is no longer working (or on its way to not working anymore). Essentially, I have to be a pancreas now and check my blood sugar before every meal and give myself enough insulin to cover the carbs I just ate and more insulin if my number is not in the target range. This is the kind of diabetes that kids get (juvenile) and contrary to what people may think, I did not get it because of what I ate or being unhealthy. There is no cure for Type 1 but it can be managed.
Type 2 is the type of diabetes you hear about alot. This is where your pancreas does not work correctly because of factors like age, weight and family history. Usually medication, diet and exercise makes it work better but sometimes insulin is needed and sometimes it can go away.

The essentials - two kinds of insulin - gray at night, orange for meals,  meter to measure blood sugar, finger prick. 


This has been a huge life change for me.  I am supposed to wait 4 hours between meals to eat carbs. So snack time is rough but I can have meat, cheese and vegetables between meal (yippie... can you sense my sarcasm?) and Diet Coke. I drink a lot of diet pop now. Once in a while, I break down and have a snack with carbs and just give myself insulin but I find my numbers are better if I just don't have a snack. Carb counting is hard. Whenever I sit down to eat I am supposed to know EXACTLY how many carbs I am eating and give myself enough insulin to cover it. It is a fine line. Too little of insulin and I "get high" (blood sugar that is ;) ) and too much I get "a low" which is way more dangerous. If your blood sugar gets too low you can pass out and ultimately die so when a low happens you will find me stuffing my face with sugar to get the number back up. It is such an up and down game since how much insulin you need at every meal can change whenever and you are constantly having to adjust your levels. And don't even get me started on how expensive insulin and supplies are. Pricking my finger and giving myself shots 4 or more times a day isn't as bad as it used to me - I am starting to get used to it.

For me, although Diabetes is a physical disease, it is such a mental and emotional battle. It is such an emotional roller coaster trying to get used to this new normal. The thought of having this for the rest of my life is overwhelming, the constant high or low numbers can be discouraging and the thoughts of all the risks and complications from diabetes can be worrisome. Some days I am just used to it and other days I break down - mourning the old "easier" life I had just several months ago and the dead organ floating around in my body. I feel like people just think I should have it all together. But I don't. I feel like everyone probably thinks "It's just diabetes - get over it." Yes, there are many worst health problems out there, but diabetes still affects me in so many ways. Sometimes I feel like it consumes me. I have to think and plan WAY too much about food. All I want to do is sit down and eat something, not have to count and strategize how much insulin to give myself and not have to worry if I have a bad low. It is so ridiculously mental and it can be so draining since there is never a day off from this. I don't know if it will get any easier but it will get to be more of a normal thing in my life.

I know the Lord gave me this situation for a reason. Although I have no idea what it is and wish that I was not given this "gift", it is a battle for me to fight. I know this can be used for good and for His glory but most moments I just to want to whine and have a good cry. Todd had a good little pep talk to me when I had a throw-in-the-towel kind of morning. He inspired me in the way he does that I am going to win this battle and not let diabetes win. It's all mental and having a "I'm gonna kick diabetes' butt today" mentality will  help me emotionally instead of letting it control me. I'm pretty sure I might need a pep talk most days but hopefully I can continue on the road to winning over diabetes. So there it is. My story in a nutshell so far... I have learned a lot on this journey and will constantly learn more and more about myself through this process.

Diabetes does not define me, but it is part of me and part of my story...

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