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Living With Diabetes

Life with diabetes may not always be easy, but it can be made easier. This is a blog post I wrote many many years ago. The words still mean as much to me today as when I wrote them. Although very personal, I decided to post this here to help connect to others who have diabetes and let them know they are not alone.


I have diabetes, but diabetes does not have me.


Sure, the disease chose me as its target when I was seven, shutting down the insulin-producing beta cells in my pancreas and leading me to depend on insulin injections, diet, and exercise to balance my blood sugar levels for the rest of my life.

But, the disease has taken over my pancreas. It hasn’t taken over me. Nor will I let it.

Living with type 1 diabetes, it can be hard not to feel stifled by the day-to-day demands and constant management of the disease. The finger pricks, injections, alarms, meal-planning, carb-counting, constant inventory of supplies and snacks… can feel a bit overwhelming some days. And, yes - it can seem defining. But it shouldn’t have to feel like that.


In the end, for those of us dealing with diabetes (perhaps you are just like me) - it’s your disease. It’s my disease. It’s our disease. We are people with diabetes. Diabetes does not define us. If you're the one living with diabetes, it’s a situation that you have the power to manage on a day-to-day basis. Some days you'll be doing it alone. Other days, you'll have the support of caring family members or friends. Despite the inevitable challenges you'll face, each day is another chance to improve your management of this condition to live the best life you can.


Carefully following a treatment plan for type 1 diabetes takes around-the-clock commitment, which (YES!) can be frustrating and overwhelming at times. But the efforts we make ARE worthwhile.


We need to listen to our Dietitians, Endocrinologists, and Diabetes Educators who tell us that with proper blood sugar management, diet, exercise, smoking cessation, stress-reduction, sleep management, the risks of diabetes’ many short-term and long-term complications can be reduced and that people with diabetes can live a long, healthy and active life. We need to listen, because it’s true. Studies have shown that non-adherence to lifestyle modifications among patients with diabetes increases the risks of complications and may decline quality of life.


I committed myself long ago to doing what I can to live a long, healthy, and active life because I don’t want to become a slave to this disease and its complications. What about you?


If you haven’t… why not? Is it because it’s been too difficult, too time-consuming, too laborious?


If you also have diabetes, I ask you to think about this question and truly assess your diabetes management. We can commit to managing our diabetes in a way that allows us to feel better and do more and to not let it define us or take over our bodies. We can assess on a day-to-day basis our care and how we are doing and commit to continuing to progress any way we can.


It's possible to have a healthy, long, joyful life by taking this disease seriously and steering the reigns along the path we choose. Of course, staying positive may be difficult at times. Incorporating joyful movement and stress-management techniques as well as seeking out support groups and therapy resources may help.


Diabetes is a wild, perpetual wave rocking this boat we call life. But if we keep our eyes open and maintain a solid outlook on life and who we are, we can make the most of the wave and steer it in the direction we so choose. You can be the master of your own wave. Happy steering fellow 'betes buddies!

 

Note: This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This blog does not constitute the practice of any medical, nursing or other professional health care advice, diagnosis or treatment. We cannot diagnose conditions, provide second opinions or make specific treatment recommendations through this blog or website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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