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25 Years With Diabetes: What I've Learned.

What I've learned in the last twenty-five years with type 1 diabetes:

  • Some of what "they" said is wrong.  It just is.
  • There are times when "they" make a good point, and it's up to us as patients to figure out what information we react to.
  • The needles don't hurt as much now as they did then.  Lancets have become smaller and sharper, syringes can make the same claim.  Insulin pump sites, once they're in, usually go without being noticed.  Same goes for Dexcom sensors.  (But "painfree" is a misnomer and so subjective that medical device advertisers had best just steer clear of that word entirely.  All needles pinch at least a little bit.)
  • Progress isn't always shown in tangible technological examples.  Sometimes progress is being able to look at a blood sugar number without feeling judged by it. Or to look in the mirror without wishing you were different.
  • There is life after diagnosis.
  • Diabetes is sometimes funny.  It has to be.  If I didn't find ways to laugh at this shit, I would cry more.  And crying leads to dehydration, which is a precursor for ketones, which aren't fun.  So ... that brings us back to "diabetes is sometimes funny."
  • Diabetes sometimes isn't funny.  Sometimes this is the most serious disease in the world.  It's a strange balance, acknowledging both aspects of this chronic disease.  
  • "Comfort food," to me, is a jar of glucose tabs on the bedside table when a blood sugar of 43 mg/dL wakes me up in the middle of the night.
  • It's okay to cry about diabetes stuff.  It's okay to celebrate the victories, too.  This is life, and it's okay to feel all parts of it.
  • Food wasn't for fun or nourishment for many, many years.  Most of my childhood was spent viewing food as medicine; the means to an NPH peak's end.
  • I am grateful that I've learned to eat because I'm hungry.  Or because it tastes good.  Not just because I "have to."
  • Some days I feel like a steel magnolia.  Other days I feel like a wilted pansy.  Diabetes and flower similes aren't my strong suits. 
  • Diabetes scares me.  To my very core, sometimes.  I hate admitting that.  I hate fearing something that I have inside of me every day, something I can't shake in any way, shape, or form.  It's unnerving, never truly letting down my guard.
  • Diabetes scares me most when I think about how it may affect my child.  Which gives me a different perspective on what it was like for my parents.  Which makes me want to call my mom and dad and say "thank you."
  • Diabetes also inspires me.  Same; to the core.  It makes me work harder, fight longer, love harder, appreciate more.
  • Family isn't limited to those in your gene pool.
  • Testing my blood sugar is the best way for me to keep tabs on my diabetes.  I wish I could say that wearing a pump was the answer, or using a CGM, but those devices are tools.  Effective tools, but still just tools.  I achieve the best outcomes when I test my blood sugar and actually respond to those numbers, both mentally and physically.
  • Everything in moderation.  Including platitudes.  Turn the other cheek to platitudes.  
  • It took me a really long time to realize that perfection wasn't an achievable goal.  Diabetes isn't a perfect science, and you can't hit the bullseye all the time.  Maybe not even half of the time.  The goal is to always aim for it, and to keep trying.
  • It took me just as long to realize that diabetes-related health complications aren't my fault.  Diabetes complications are the fault of diabetes, not of me.  My job is to keep trying.  (See above.)
  • The word "diabetic" hasn't ever bothered me.  (Maybe because I'm lazy and I don't want to say "person with diabetes"?) 
  • The word "complications" doesn't just apply to retinopathy, renal issues, and neuropathy.  Diabetes is complicated in so many ways outside of the reach of a test result.
  • Emotional health is just as important - maybe more so, to me - than physical health.  Diabetes is a disease that requires your head to be "in the game" in order for your health to be optimal.  Emotional health needs to be nurtured just as acutely as your blood sugars need to be tested.
  • I've learned that I am not alone.
  • Let me repeat that:  I am not alone.  And if I'm not alone, then neither are you.  We are in this together.  And we can do this.
  • Success with diabetes, for me, isn't a perfect A1C.  Or a crisp, organized logbook.  It's not a week's worth of no-hitters.  Success with diabetes, for me, is feeling happy.  Despite, because ... whatever.  Just feeling happy.
  • And I feel like I'm succeeding. 
In our minds, as we cut into the cheesecake, it read "F*ck you, diabetes." We just didn't want to freak out the bakery ladies.  ;)
(Thanks for the diaversary cheesecake, CSparl and Birdy. xo to my loves)

Comments

"Turn the other cheek to platitudes" made me snicker. :D

I hope yesterday was a good, meaningful diaversary for you. And yay for cake!

Happy Diaversary to an amazing woman! May you have many, MANY more. =D

The parts about family not being exclusively genetic, and emotional health made me smile extra big.

Happy 25th, Kerri!

I love reading your posts. I can't remember how I found your blog, but I have enjoyed reading it for awhile now. it has been a pleasure hearing about your life, wedding, baby (what a cutie) and diabetes (oh, and cats too). Congratulations on 25 years. Thanks for all of the support you give to the whole D-OC. And the humor too : )

I love this post. It is amazing to think of my son being a diabetic adult who manages to absorb all of the nuances and wiggles and adjustments. I feel terrible that I somehow have saddled my child with a disease--you let me see it from the other side. Thanks!

I was diagnosed with Type 1 a month ago and have been struggling with it since.

This blog was extremely helpful for me to read. I don't know anyone with Type 1 personally so I felt much less alone when I read this.

Thank you for sharing.

Great post Kerry - my feelings exactly - may you still be writing the same way when you reach 50 years of diagnosis (only 6 more years to go for me and so far - I'm not complaining at all - life is GREAT!!!).

Happy D-iaversary, Kerri!!!

Happy diaversary, Kerri!!!

You are more than succeeding! You are kicking diabetes bahookie because you have learned all those things!

Thank you for sharing. In my heart I knew, but it is comforting to read it and cement those feelings for the long term!

Happy Anniversary Kerri!!

I learned a lot from this list. I'm printing it for Brendon to read so he doesn't feel so isolated or that he's the only one going through this (right now he's home sick and shuffling into the room with a belt tightened around his ankles...OK, THAT he's alone in). Maybe he'll read it and maybe he won't, but it's worth a shot (heh, get it? Shot).

P.S. I'm so glad you don't mind the word 'diabetic' being used because saying it is soooo much easier and isn't this whole diabetes thing hard enough? :)

Congrats on a huge milestone! You have great perspective on living life with diabetes. It's all about finding that balance between health and happiness.

You are an inspiration.

Kudos!

I smile and nod to what you say Kerri. Our journeys are so similar, yet equally individual and different. The similarities are what binds us together, and the differences make us unique!

Cheers!

Thank you for your pearls of wisdom. You are spot on and an endless source of inspiration!

Which makes me want to call my mom and dad and say "thank you."

Give them my best. They give me strength too.

Happy diaversary!

I don't mind the word 'diabetic' either. I tend to use PWD around the DOC since I know others have strong feelings about it (and since you don't have to *say* it on the internet), but when I'm explaining what that thing is on my arm (Dexcom sensor), I always just say "I'm a type 1 diabetic."

Thanks Kerri, great post. Happy diaversary.

You rule, Kerri. Happy 25 years, and here's to many many more.

Thanks for sharing your 25 years of D knowledge. We all appropriate it.

Hope you have a wonderful day, happy 25th ;)

So true and very inspiring. To 25 more!!!

Great. Now I want cheesecake. :)

Happy Anniversary, Kerri. Love this post. ((HUGS))

Thank you for this Kerri, you continue to inspire. Happy 25th!

I'm going to actually find the cord to my printer, print this out and tuck it away where I can read it when I need it most.

Thank you for sharing.

Soooooo inspirational!! :)

...and what I've learned is that you are one very wise lady...living w/ Type 1 for 25 years has given you such wisdom Kerri, here's to the next 25...:))))))

Thank you, Kerri, for sharing your wisdom. Happy 25 years!

Amen!!!

I'm going to echo everything that was said above....Thank you Kerri! I love reading your blog and this is a great post - encouraging, inspiring and real. Here's to the next 25 years and the 25 after that :)

This post really brought out some emotions. Wonderful post. I am at 23 years. Just two more for me. It's a lot of work but hopefully the rewards are worth the effort.
Keep up the great posts.
Christine

omg i saw the wilted pansies open for weezer back in '95 and it was EPIC.

happy 25th diaversary kerri! i think my kid will find this post as inspirational as i did! :D

"Diabetes isn't a perfect science, and you can't hit the bullseye all the time. Maybe not even half of the time. The goal is to always aim for it, and to keep trying." ~ Damn, you nailed it with that snippet Kerri. I needed this today as I head into Joe's endo appt. with my head hanging down in shame...I am trying...God knows I am trying...I am just not hitting the bulls eye much these days.

Happy 25th girl. Thanks for being an inspiration to us all. xo

Wow, I really needed this post this week. So many pearls of wisdom in this it should be turned into a D survival guide! I especially like the part about the complications being the fault of D, not the person with it. I struggle with this a lot. Too many feelings of guilt here, and it really helped to be reminded that it's the disease, not me, that has caused any complications I have. Thanks.

My favorite part of this post is the cheesecake. So there, diabetes! :-)

Wonderful post. You really got it right. Thanks so much for your blog. Keeps me sane!

Congratulations! And thanks! Your post is wonderful. I "celebrated" my 37th diaversary (nice word, have to search for something similar in German....) this year and life is still wonderful and amazing and soooo worth living it! Take care and keep on posting - I really enjoy reading.

I saw this on Tumblr and it made me cry. I've been diabetic for fifteen years (I'm twenty now) and I've been so burnt out about it lately--on top of the normal care stuff that I have to worry about that people my age (college students) don't have to deal with, it affects my career choices. (I study linguistics and want to research dying languages, but travel is difficult, especially travel to remote areas of the world.) I don't really know any diabetics outside of the internet, so it's easy to feel alone (it's not like I can complain about this to my friends because they don't understand). This is probably really long and rambly but I saw this at such perfect timing because I'm so burnt out right now and it made me so happy and it made me feel so much less alone. Thank you so much for writing this. I needed it, and I bet others did too.

I hope you had a GREAT diaversary! My two year diaversary is coming up soon. I love reading your blog. I'm only 9 and everything makes sense on your blog.

Thank you so much for this, this is actually how I feel and it's so nice to know that there are people out there that can relate! I have been diabetic for 10 years, and now I am 15 and still oh so frustrated.

"Happy diaversary Kerry!

Being an diabetic patient I have also experienced the similar problems. However you have put in nicely. :)

I believe that if we can curb the fluctuations in Glucose by controlling dietary sugar, we can live a healthy life.

I am using Natvia Natural Sweetner (http://natvia.com) for few years now. It has not just controlled my glucose level, but also satisfied my taste buds. :)"

In which country I can find the most developed and advanced treatment for diabetes?
I mean the treatment that really works. My friend's mother is in very critical condition. My friend is ready for paying any sum for the health of his mother. Please, tell me which country should we choose? Bye the way, we are from Uzbekistan (Central Asia). Ok. Where to find the best consultancy?

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