I´m really sorry it took so long to get the post in english but I got caught up at work, thank you for your patience!
According to the JDRF, approximately 80 persons are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes every day, in the US. Getting diagnosed with something like this can have a huge impact that we might not see or understand, so hopefully what I am writing today can paint a picture about the emotions you go through and you can take advantage of this information.
In little to no time, I had lost too much weight, strange migraines had appearead and I had weird mood swings. All of a sudden I had to go to the restroom very often and was hungry all the time, things my mom had already seen my dad dealing with, years before me.
Even though I really didn´t know much about my dad´s diabetes managment, when I was sitting there with him, and the +300 number popped up, I knew it meant something.
When we realized what was going on, even without truly understanding the difference between my dad´s diabetes and mine, we all knew we had tough times ahead and emotions clouded my judgement.
I can´t recall what happened very clearly and each year, around this date, I always get a bit sentimental, which is what pushed me to write about things that might have helped accept this new reality, hoping that it can help others get back on their feet.
-You are not going to die:
The first thing that went through my mind when I found out I had diabetes was an irrational panic. I felt it was the last day of my life and I couldn´t think that I could possibly have a normal life; I couldn´t stop thinking this was the end.
Truth is, even though this meant huge changes in the way I do many things, it certainly doesn´t mean death, it only means its time for a change.
-You are allowed to feel scared:
Even though I panicked at first, soon enough, many well-intentioned people started telling me that I had to be brave and leave fear behind.
Some people even went as far as calling on me for becoming a rather not so adventurous person, and have hinted that my diabetes is the source of my fear to “living a little”.
Nevertheless, it is important to allow yourself to feel scared; this is something new that you need to understand, that has an impact on your day to day activities and if you shove fear aside, it can backfire.
-This is not the end, this is the beginning:
You will have to make a lot of adjustments in the way you do many things and there is a long way to go but this is an open door to a new part of your life in which you will learn to know and take good care of yourself which will help you achieve your goals.
Diabetes is not an obstacle to your dreams, it will only tag along.
-You will change and this is not bad:
There are people that complain about diabetes making me very nervous but these are people who don´t truly understand what living with diabetes is and who don´t care to even try.
I have learned to be very cautious and I can´t allow myself to be as spontaneous as some other people but I have also been able to learn to enjoy everything much more, from the moment I am planning for it.
Change can be something amazingly positive and it´s very important to remove the negative stigma it has.
-You will get through this:
When I was officially diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, everything started spinning. I had to learn to give myself shots, which is something that scared (and still does) the living out of me and adjust my diet, I had to process so much information about the dangers and special precautions I had to follow up on a daily basis.
There were days in which I felt I was living an endless hell and that I was never going to be able to keep track of everything that was expected in order for me to manage my diabetes correctly, but as time went by I started gaining control and could finally put all the pieces together.
Everything takes its time, and even though you need to process a lot of information, living well with diabetes is possible, and in time, you will be able to see it.
-Share the weight, seek support:
In the beginning, fear made me hide my illness and I managed to isolate myself so badly that not even my parents understood how I managed my diabetes.
I focused on getting by day to day, without letting anybody in, on what I was going through and many times I stopped myself from asking for much needed help.
I didn´t understand the importance of meeting other people with diabetes, or about letting my family in on how I was feeling and ultimately this resulted in a few mental breakdowns, that as cathartic as they might have been, just left me even more tired and frustrated.
We all take a different amount of time to be ready to accept our illness but the sooner we can accept that we will need support, and that there is nothing wrong with asking for it, the easier our managment will get.
When you let someone else in on your illness, not only are you sharing the weight and responsibility, but you are raising awareness on the topic and it will be easier for others to understand what living with diabetes is, not only for the rest of the world, but very specifically for you.
Getting to know people with diabetes inspired me and gave me courage to talk about it with my loved ones and in public. It also helped me gain self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as accepting that diabetes will be with me forever but that it doesn´t have to stop me.
-You are not broken:
This is one of the most discomforting things I had to deal with. We live in a world full of high expectations in which there are no imperfections of the bodies or fears in our souls. Truth is that each person has its own vulnerabilties and this is one of mine, but nothing more.
Having diabetes doesn´t make you imperfect or unworthy; it can, in fact, make you stronger and help you find your path in life. It is part of who we are, just as much as our hair color or the size of our hands; we have no option but that doesn´t mean we have to hate it.
I understood that I can´t change the fact that I have diabetes but on the other hand, I can change my attitute and not let it be the one thing that defines me.
I am more than just a person with diabetes.
-You deserve to be loved:
This goes hand in hand with the topic above but I wanted to talk about it separately because I feel it´s very important. For years, I denied myself the opportunity to get sentimentally involved with anyone because I felt I had nothing to offer, because I am sick.Years had to go by and many people asking me about it, for me to sit down and really think about why I was so reluctant to let anyone get close to me.
I felt my diabetes was the only thing people could and would see about me and that I would have to make someone else carry me wherever they wanted to go.
In the last couple of years I have finally understood that there is much more that I have to offer as person, not only to a romantic partner but as a friend and workmate and that diabetes is not my guiding principle.
Now I understand, that when the time is right, I will be able to share more than just my diabetes but other things and experiences, and that there is so much more in life than my illness.
You can do it!
There will be tough times ahead but every day is an opportunity. Each morning is a blank page, to live to the fullest. If you need to hear about how other people have been able to do many things not only besides but with their diabetes, you can visit this website, where all sorts of people share their experiences living with diabetes and you can even use social media to connect with people that can support you.
Don´t hesitate to contact me if you need a word of advice or want to know more about diabetes.
The first step to cure diabetes is education.