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Type 1 Diabetes, The Incurable One

Type 1 Diabetes


Type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile diabetes, because usually children were the ones diagnosed, but it also occurs in young adults. I was 8 years old when I was diagnosed with T1 diabetes. T1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where your body's immune system (which is suppose to help protect you from bacteria and viruses) attacks the pancreas (an organ in your body that produces the hormone insulin). The hormone insulin helps your body to move food from the bloodstream into the cells to be used as energy. Since your body no longer makes insulin, the sugar levels in your blood increase causing all sorts of issues with your organs, internal and external.
So basically its your immune system giving you a big old middle finger and no one knows why.
Insulin, syringes, medication,

Yes, you can expect an existential life crisis when diagnosed by T1. Why me?! At least I did. I mean just going to the doctors' offices takes up a large part of your life. You have your primary care doctor, which is the one you go to for regular check up, colds, and other common issues. Than, you have an endocrinologist which is a specialist who is concerned with all the different glands (any organ that is part of the endocrine system and produces hormones that help regulate specific functions) in your body and help diagnose and treat these diseases. Moving on to a dietitian who helps you formulate a diet plan that fits with the new needs of your body. Than comes the diabetes educator who helps you understand new treatment options, existing treatment options, and all information relating to diabetes. These are just the healthcare providers dealing specifically with diabetes.

If you didn't know, I am letting you know now, having diabetes is just the tip of the iceberg to other underlying health issues. Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to eye issues (they can lead to blindness), foot problems, nerve damage, kidney disease, urinary tract issues, heart disease, migraines, high blood pressure, and mental health issues. I remember a doctor telling 10 year old me that I need to control my diabetes otherwise I won't live to be 20 years old. What kind of doctor tells a child that they are probably going to die an untimely death, mind you my blood sugars were poorly controlled but they were not that severe (A1c was always between 8.0-9.0). Every year after my 20th birthday I think of this and go well you were wrong and have myself a little laugh. There may be a few more problems that I have not mentioned above but you get the basic idea. This means that you have to add 6 to 7 additional specialists' visits to your healthcare routine.

Now, I don't mean to frighten you or cause you stress but these are the facts. Does this mean that every diabetic ever has developed all these issues, No. But its something to keep tabs on for living a healthier, longer, and a more problem free life. I mean, I personally hate going to all these random doctors but than I think about what if something did develop out of nowhere and I didn't know about it until it was too late. The fear of becoming suddenly ill with something that could be worse when put together with my diabetes is the only reason why I actually make a point to go visit the other specialists. Usually some of them you only have to see once a year, so its not too bad. Sure there have been times where I have gone a few years before visiting a specific specialist and that's not a good thing on my part, but I defiantly wouldn't recommend missing these annual appointment. Luckily, I didn't develop any additional issues but still the thought that it could creep up on you unexpectedly is scary.
The few things that always bother me about being a diabetic is the constant judgement from other people when they see you doing something. When I am checking my blood sugar or injecting someone will say, "Doesn't that hurt?" or "I am afraid of needles so I wouldn't be able to do that." and I usually respond with oh I am used to it, but in my head there are always these responses of yes it does hurt, I have no choice but to use these needles, I am sure if your life depended on it you would be injecting or testing as frequently regardless of your fear but I don't ever say those things out loud. The same goes when I am drinking juice or eating something sweet, "Aren't you diabetic?", or "Are you supposed to have that?". Well I don't know if I am supposed to have something to bring my low blood sugar up to a normal number so I don't go into a diabetic shock or worse a coma. But yes, let me stop to tell you that I am fine. I mean sure these people probably don't mean to sound insensitive and are probably not knowledgeable about T1 diabetes but I feel there are better ways to ask people about their disease.  
blood sugar monitor, low carb diet, sugar substitute

The important thing to remember as you are trying to absorb this information is to take each day as it comes. Yes there will be days when your numbers are horrible and you feel sick to the point you can't physically get out of bed, but that will pass. There will also be days when everything goes right even when you indulge in something you probably shouldn't have. Don't let a few bad days keep you from working on getting healthier life. It will get better, life will progress in a positive direction one day at a time.

 


Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, this is just what I've experienced personally. If you have or think you may have diabetes seek help from a medical professional.

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