Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Type One Diabetes, My Story

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and since it's coming to a close I wanted to get in at lease one T1D related post.  I will also say that I while I don't have any intentions to make Finch & Fawn a diabetic blog of sorts, being a type one diabetic is a huge aspect of my life now and I do plan to share lots about it.  I realized though, I don't think I've ever really shared my story on the blog yet so, here's that in a nutshell.

Traveling through Europe for 3 months earlier this year I had some of the best adventures of my life.  Though, as the months went on my health, strength, and energy started severely declining.  I was incredibly thirsty all the time, had to pee all the time (which is so inconvenient when you're out on an adventure or have to end up paying 2 euros or something to use a restroom at a park), and then I started noticing myself losing weight and being extremely fatigued all the time.  The entire time though I brushed these feelings off as a side-effect of traveling for so long - all the walking I was doing and such, maybe I was losing weight and was so tired because of all my long adventurous days.  And, though I grew weaker and weaker everyday I till pushed myself as much as possible (even making it to the top of a hills and waterfalls in Iceland!).
I returned home the first week of May in a very fragile state.  I had dropped down to 82lbs with every bone in my body visible, I was so completely dehydrated and thirsty every second of the day, my heart rate couldn't even handle a simple walk up the stairs in my apartment without going crazy, and this unexplainable fatigue had gotten so bad I could barely get out of bed.
I knew something was wrong.
May 20th, 2014, the day I got one of the biggest shocks of my life and also when my life changed forever.
I ended up in the ICU with a blood glucose level so high the hospital's regular meters couldn't even read it...763 was my number and I had an a1c of 17 (for comparison a "normal" person's bg levels should be between about 80-140).  With numbers that high, I could have slipped into a coma at any time, in fact, the doctors were genuinely surprised by the fact I hadn't yet done so especially considering the activities and such I was putting my dying body through while traveling!
Now, nobody in my family had ever had diabetes nor had I ever met anyone with it, so this diagnosis was a complete shock to say the least.  What do I do now?  What even is type one diabetes? The questions, the shock, the denial, the change.
Still to this day I have moments where it feels like this is just some thing that's going to pass, like a short sickness or cleanse or something where there's an end date and then things go back to "normal".  But then I stop and realize that no, this isn't just a temporary thing, this is my life now, it's not going away.

But, I've accepted that.  Type one diabetes is such a monster but you know what, I did nothing to cause this autoimmune disease, there was no way to prevent it, and there is no cure...YET.  And it is this hope that sometime during my life there will be a cure that really gives me something to fight for.

Now, 6 months later, with constant blood glucose checks and a handful of insulin injections a day, I. Am. ALIVE.  Alive and thriving.
I've gained back my weight, exercise every day, and am in the best shape I've ever been in in my life.  And sure, there's an ongoing war happening inside my body with my pancreas, but strangely enough I've never felt more in-tune with my body before and what my body tells me.

We get no days off with T1D, and everyday is often an uphill battle with managing roller coaster numbers - the highs and lows and all that comes with those.
But, we take each day one (finger!) prick at a time and have to choose not to let diabetes control us, but to take control of diabetes.

For those of you following me on instagram you may have seen my new diabetic technology I'm trying out and it's certainly exciting!  Currently I'm trying out the Asante Snap insulin pump which, is huge considering 6 months ago I said many (many!) times that I "would never choose to be attached to one of those things".  So far I'm loving it more than I ever thought I could; yes there are certainly things I do not like about it and there are challenged that come along with it, but considering where I was at the start of my diagnosis and now being tethered to "one of those things" that I once absolutely hated the thought of is really a huge step.  I plan to post my thoughts on this insulin pump really soon and also more about my other robot-like thing attached to me - my Dexcom continuous glucose monitor that shows me my bg levels 24/7!

Also, one thing that I wish for all of us living with t1d to have is hope, because one of these days we will get a cure.  Hence the date left open, so when the day does come and we get that cure I can add that in- can't wait to be able to say that I used to have type one diabetes!

3 comments:

  1. Hmm. I just tried to comment, but then wasn't signed in, so hopefully I'm not doing this twice!

    I love seeing your tattoos. They're gorgeous.

    Glad to read that your health is in a more positive place! Xx

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  2. what a beautiful blog you have! :)

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I am also Type 1 and reading your story just affirms how important it is to stay positive and thrive.

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