Hello all you wonderful people. You might not know this, but it’s Diabetes Awareness Month. SO since I am in fact diabetic, I’m trying to help people become more aware of it. Over the course of the next few days, I’ll be posting some things about diabetes but hopefully they won’t just be sad or boring or awful…so read them. Ask me questions if you have them. Please! Comment if you have things to say. Here we go!
I’m going to get very real with you here. Diabetes sucks. It’s the worst. It has been the biggest trial of my life and I struggle with every single day. Now that that’s out of the way, let me introduce you a little to my diabetic life.
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on December 6, 2012 during my senior year of high school. That day was the worst day of my life, filled with tears and needles and fear. If you want to read the entire diagnosis story, click here. I was 17 years old and all of a sudden, my life felt like it was turned on its head, completely upside-down. I felt like nothing would ever be the same.
And I was ashamed of it. Of this thing that I had absolutely no control over. And you want to know why? It was because of the word:
If you say that word, you immediately think of the stereotypes. Of an old, probably overweight lady. Of a bowl of candy with the hashtag #diabetes. Of someone who, if they just stopped eating so poorly or worked out ever, would be healthy and diabetes-less again.
And suddenly, I was saying that word associated with myself. I was diabetic. Because of that shame, I didn’t tell anyone outside of my immediate family for months. I’m not exaggerating. I went back to school the day I got diagnosed and acted like nothing had happened. And when I eventually did tell people, I couldn’t even tell them to their faces. One day I just posted it on Facebook, about four months or so after it happened.
It’s been almost three years and I’m no longer ashamed of who I am. I am diabetic. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to say that I used to be diabetic. But that’s just part of who I am. It doesn’t consume me. There’s nothing I could’ve done to prevent it so I move forward each day, sometimes struggling more than other times.
I check my blood sugar 5-6 times a day. I take insulin whenever I eat and whenever I have a high blood sugar. Sometimes I have low blood sugars which are honestly the scariest things. Basically, I’ll suddenly feel like I can’t stand up—like my legs are going to collapse from under me—and I’ll just feel shaky and empty. It’s a hard feeling to describe. But it’s happened walking home from campus. It’s happened in the middle of the night. But I just drink or eat something with a high glycemic index to fix it. And I pray with gratitude that I caught the low before I passed out or worse.
Basically I just do some things manually that your body does automatically. Lucky you.
But diabetes is hard. I think the hardest thing about it is that it’s completely invisible. No one can see it but I feel it all the time. I feel like I have this subconscious radar in my head that is always trying to figure out where my body is at, whether I’m high or low or just right. And when I do get high or low, I feel it always.
But, you know what? It’s okay. It’s hard, but it’s okay. It’s how it is. I have diabetes, but I’m honestly lucky to be alive. I’m lucky to live in the time and place that I do. My mom was telling me the other day about a book she read about diabetes developments throughout time. They used to starve people with diabetes. Before insulin was around, they’d only give a diabetic 500 calories a day because their body wouldn’t be able to handle anything more than that on it’s own. But then they’d starve. Sadjsiaodsaddsaidosaj. That’s just so sad.
So, yeah. I’m Carlisa, most call me Carli. And I’m type 1 diabetic. But I’m also much, much more than that.
I’m pretty open about everything regarding this, so ask me questions. Please! I’d rather you ask than you be uncomfortable if you see my pump or my blood sugar meter. Ask away, my friends.