The year is 1989. I’m just a crazy 6 year old who has a wild head of hair that looks like a homeless man cut it. The plan is for me to stay at my Grandma Edith’s house while my parents ditch me to go on some sort of tropical vacation, why they wouldn’t want to take a young girl and her two brothers (age 9 and 12) is beyond me. I’m sitting in a movie theater with some cousins watching the best movie ever made (Disney’s The Little Mermaid) when suddenly my pants are getting wet and there is a puddle developing at my feet. Yes, I peed my pants.
Grandma Edith, a school nurse, starts to notice that I had been using the bathroom frequently, was constantly thirsty, and was lethargic. A doctor confirms what she had been beginning to suspect, I had type 1 (juvenile) diabetes.
I’m now 29 years old, and I’ve had type 1 diabetes for 23 years. Lately I have been a “bad diabetic.” I haven’t been checking my blood sugar regularly, I’ve been eating unhealthy, and I’ve been avoiding doctor appointments (for financial reasons). I’m on a path of destruction and I’m hoping this blog will help me get back on tract and hold me accountable for my actions. I do not want to loose any limbs or eyesight, which can be caused by consistent high blood sugars over a long period of time. On that note, you should know I am not a medical doctor, nurse, or medical anything. I’m only a gal living with diabetes, so please don’t take anything I say as fact.
Next, I must distinguish between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. I don’t want to anger any type 2’s who may be reading this, but I get extremely defensive when people lump me in with type 2 diabetics. Type 2 is what is in the news most often. You will hear stories about “diabetes” and how it is a growing epidemic and we must start eating healthier to avoid getting it. They are talking about type 2, not type 1.
Type 1 diabetes is an immune disorder where my body viciously murdered my insulin producing beta cells, leaving me with a broken pancreas that creates no insulin, a necessity to maintain my body’s blood sugar. It happens more commonly in young children, hence the “juvenile.” In order to survive I must give my self insulin. I started out giving myself a shot 2 – 3 times a day until I was a sophomore in college and I switched to an insulin pump. (This is one of the best decisions I have ever made.)
Type 2 is more often a lifestyle issue. Some get it because they are overweight, older, and it’s in the genes. I’m saying “some” because I’ve seen some skinny, healthy looking people get type 2, and I’m not entirely sure why. Note: my dad has type 2 and his dad before him had it. I feel for it, but type 2 is someone else’s story. It’s not mine.
Currently, there is no cure for type 1, but there are wonderful strides being made towards it. I hope that I will see the cure in my life time…although I probably won’t be able to afford it if it did come. Health insurance can wreak havoc on a diabetic.
This blog is going to be about me living my life with type 1 diabetes. I hope it can be viewed by other type 1’s and they can see that they are not alone out there. Until the next time, peace out!