Today marks my 6th year living with type one diabetes. As I reflect on how much type one has played a major role in my life and how much it’s impacted me, I’m forever grateful God has chosen me to take on this challenge. Instead of writing about how much I hate being a diabetic and how inconvenient it can be at times, I would like to celebrate my 6th diaversary with a personal thank you note to Diabetes.
You can’t control me. After putting up with you for 6 years, I feel like we have a special bond and an understanding that I can tell you anything. Now what I’m going to say next may shock you, but I would like to take this time to say thank you.
Thank you for being there 24/7 and never leaving my side even when I wanted to take a break from you. The late nights and early mornings never get old… because we’re bonding right? Knowing I can count on you to wake me up at 3:00am with a welcoming sweaty pillow, makes it all worthwhile. We spend more time together than I do with my fiance and family. We have formed a special bond no one can break, not even my endocrinologist, dietician or doctor.
Remember when you thought you were going to take control of me 6 years ago? I was a freshman in college, running to the bathroom 15-20 times a day, drinking a 24-pack of water that lasted every 2 days, feeling burned out during volleyball practice more frequently, and not knowing what was going on with me.
Well, guess what? I kept going because that’s the only thing I knew how to do. My athlete instinct kicked in and I pushed through the weird experiences I was going through. I blamed my 10-pound weight loss on the tough workouts and the constant urination on all the Gatorade and water I was consuming. I made excuses for something I didn’t know I had for 3 months.
No more excuses. After my diagnosis, you changed my life forever and I have accepted it. I have accepted the challenge.
I thought I was the healthiest I could be at 18 years old, but you fooled me. I am now more aware of what goes into my body. I can look at any type of food and automatically tell you how many carbs it has. I can tell you that Mexican food and pizza will raise my blood sugar 2 hours after I eat because it’s a higher carb meal. With carb loaded meals like those, I know to extend my bolus on my Omnipod to prevent bedtime highs. This has become second nature. Now at 24 years old, I’m the healthiest I’ve been with a 6.7% a1c. So I thank you.
You had me think I was in the best shape of my life, but you constantly remind me that I have to workout daily to keep my numbers in a normal range. But you have to make things difficult. I have to run a temp basal and monitor my numbers throughout my workout to prevent lows because having lows suck. Lows suck especially at the gym when you’re killing leg day and all of a sudden the squat rack feels 20 times heavier. You have to stop in between reps and go to the locker room to squeeze a juice box down your throat hoping you don’t pass out. You’re already sweating from being there an hour so you don’t know you’re THAT low until the room looks blurry, your walk becomes wobbly and your hands are shaky. Besides that Diabetes, you’ve held me accountable and made sure I stay in the best shape of my life.
I could really strangle you and curse your name for how expensive your supplies are, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll rearrange my entire budget and bite my tongue because I have to live. I’m very fortunate to be able to afford your expensiveness… test strips, insulin bottles, Omnipods, alcohol wipes, back up insulin injection needles, glucometers, ketone sticks, blood glucose meters, and batteries. At least you’ve provided me with a temporary survival kit until you are no more. So on that note, I say thank you.
Thank you for showing me how strong I truly am. When you decide to play those funny games in the early mornings, I get you under control and find myself up 3 hours later continuing my normal routine. It’s like I have 2 jobs, one that I get paid for, the other, well… I pay you. Thank you for teaching me that my appearance does not matter. All of the finger pricks, site changes and bruises that appear on my body, are constant reminders of you. I am greater than my highs and lows. I am not my disease. I am capable of the impossible. All because of you. I will not let you win. I’m a type one diabetic showing my gratitude for everything you’ve taught me about myself and with that, I say thank you.
After 6 years of our ups and downs, I can honestly say I’ve had enough and I pray for the day you are gone out of my life for good.
But until that day comes, I will continue inspiring others to push through their struggles and educate those who are unfamiliar with how cruel you really are. Even on my bad days, I will try to look for the positive. I have come too far to throw in the towel now. So on this day, after reflecting on how you’ve changed my life for the good (mostly bad), I’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t control me… you never will.