Happy World Diabetes Day! As a tribute to today I decided to talk about the plus side to living with diabetes. I have compiled the following list of ten positives to living with diabetes:
1 – Responsibility – Being diagnosed at age 11 meant that I had to learn about consequences that my actions
made from an early age. For example, if I ate something sweet and did not take my isulin, my blood sugar would go up and I would get sick.
2 -To be adaptable – There are days when i would do exactly the same thing and get totally different results. On days like these you learn how to WAG (Wild Ass Guess) it until you can SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess) it. **Side note – WAGging it simply means you take a guess and hope all goes well while with a SWAG you have some calculations to help your guess such as carb-counting or a correction bolus guide)
3 – Strength – I learned I was stronger that I thought. I saw a t-shirt for T1 Diabetes that read “you don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have” and I totally agree. I was terrified of sticking myself, I didn’t mind others doing it but I refused to do it myself until my doctor at the time looked at me and said, “Steph, you’re mom isn’t going to be there all of the time and I can’t let you go home until you can.” It took about a week and some swollen oranges (I had to practice by injecting water into the orange lol) but I did it and have no problem doing it now.
4 – Health – There were some years that my diabetes made me frail and weak but I know when I am older that I will be ten times healthier than many of my friends. Even though there is nothing that I can’t eat, there are times that I choose not to. I know that diabetes puts me at a greater risk of developing other conditions and I do my best to avoid them by eating right and exercising.
5 – A New Language - I speak Diabetic! How many people do you know that include words like Endocrinologist, pancreas, Ketoacidosis, bolus or Dawn Phenomenon in their vocabulary? Not to mention that certain words and phrases (like number, swag and bs) have an entirely different meaning for a person with diabetes than it does for someone without. When my mom asks me how I am doing I am more likely refer to my blood sugar readings than my actual day. We also have our own “diabetic” words like glucoaster and diaversary.
6 – Determination – There are those days when nothing seeems to go right, when diabetes just seems to get in the way and seems way to hard to deal with. Many diabetics go through what is termed as “Diabetes Burnout” from one time to another but most of us realise that giving up really isn’t an option and we keep on pushing on even through very difficult situations.
7 – Team Player - Behind every controlled diabetic is a support team of doctors, nurses, family and friends. When you are diagnosed, you become a part of a team that helps you to manage your diabetes. The only way to get the most from your team is through your willingness to become a part of it. You learn that the only way to really be able to manage is by working together, asking questions and sharing information.
8 – Management – Time plays an important role in the management of diabetes. We learn to keep a schedule of what time to test, inject, eat, exercise as well as fit in all of the other non-diabetes related stuff that we do everyday.
9 – Travel - There are so many places that I have had the oppurtunity to visit and experience because I had diabetes. Whether it be a trip to a diabetes camp in another country or a diabetes conference, I have the ability to that I have been there.
10 – Friends – I have met so many new friends and become much closer to my old ones because of my diabetes. I have a ton of local and on-line friends with diabetes now (many of whom I would have never met if not for diabetes) and my ‘normal’ friends and I have become much closer. They got my back lol. Yes, I did lose a few who didn’t want to understand but there is nothing like an illness to show you who your true friends are.