What does T1D look like to you?
I was diagnosed with T1D when I was 20, right after my second year of college. It was really tough to adjust to checking my blood sugar constantly and remembering to take insulin after living without T1D for 20 years. I was making the adjustment to life with T1D at the same time that I was trying to make the adjustment to life as a real adult. I was in such a weird place, because at 20 I wasn’t really a kid and I wasn’t really an adult yet. I didn’t know how I fit into the adult world, and I certainly didn’t know how to juggle the struggles of growing up with adjusting to life with T1D.
I took really poor care of myself when I was in college, because I didn’t know anyone else with T1D. I didn’t have anyone setting a good example for me, and I didn’t have anyone I could ask about how to handle giving injections in public, or dealing with ignorant comments about T1D. Within the last six months, I’ve met countless people through getting involved in the T1D Community, and I’m happy to say that I take great care of my T1D now. It’s amazing how we support each other through the highs and lows. T1D looks like me and every single person who’s stood by my side over the past two and a half years.
Wow. I have always said I had it easy. (I may not always mean that, but I always say that.) I was diagnosed when I was three years old and one parent had to hold me down while the other parent injected me with a stainless steel needle and glass syringe. I have known people, over the years that were diagnosed as teenagers and young adults. I always told them, “I was lucky; I grew up knowing no difference.”
What I mean, is that you had 20 years of habits to break. My Mother changed how she fed me and I grew up knowing no different. There have been difficult times. There still are difficult times. But every day, I try to respond thinking, If you’re going to be a bear, be a Grizzly!
We need to be proactive. We need to shout from the treetops. We need to make certain people understand that Diabetes doesn’t have us, We have diabetes.
With the initial diagnosis of any autoimmune disease, unfortunately your risk of developing another is increased. This is why we need to every day, do our best to be our best.
I think with your experience, you could assist others by taking time to go to a local support group, or looking into being a camp counselor.
I wish you all the best!