In honor of this month marking 9 years of having Type 1 Diabetes, I've decided to take a trip down memory lane and share the 9 most important lessons I've learned since the day I was diagnosed.
Treasure the little things
Just being thirteen years old when I was diagnosed, I never realized that being able to eat without a care in the world was something to be thankful for. When you introduce daily injections, blood sugar monitoring, and other types of T1D management into your life, you quickly learn to appreciate all life has to offer. Every day I note a few simplicities that I am blessed to have, and it's truly taught me to see the world through a wider lens.
Know your strength
When I was diagnosed with T1D, I could barely stand on my own. It was easy to feel weak and I was tempted to succumb to the idea of giving up. Every day with T1D is a challenge, but it also made me realize that we're capable of doing some amazing things. Becoming an every day fighter has made me not only feel stronger, but more confident in all aspects of life.
Highs and lows. We deal with them every day. I quickly learned that not every day of T1D management is going to be perfect, and you can't be too hard on yourself. Try your best, surround yourself with the right people and resources, and you will find a regime that works for you. Don't sweat the small stuff.
Having T1D, you often hear from other people, "Oh, well you probably can't do that since you're diabetic"...(Excuse me while I roll my eyes). It's sad to think that for the first few years of fighting this illness, I believed that to be true. I couldn't have been more wrong. The second I realized that T1D isn't a limitation, my quality of life incredibly increased. If you need more proof, just look at Nick Jonas!!
T1D doesn't define you
Piggybacking off of #4, T1D doesn't define you. For the first 5 years, I woke up every morning, looked myself in the mirror and repeated these words. I struggled between trying to believe this phrase and asking "...but, why me?". It was no easy task for the 'why me' questions to fade and for the belief of not being defined by a chronic illness to settle in. The moment I found peace with the fact that I am who I am because of me and not because of an illness trying to beat me down, was the moment my personal management started to find it's own healthy rhythm.
Support is everything
While it might seem like an obvious point, support is something I never fail to thank for. For a long time, I felt that I was the only one battling this disease. I had surrendered to the emotional rollercoaster of being diagnosed and neglected what my T1D diagnosis meant for my family and friends. 9 years later, I can tell you that the closest people in my life are the ones who have been there for me through every good day and every difficult day. Find the ones who will accompany you to the hospital just to put a smile on your face. Those are the special people in life.
Living a healthy lifestyle is key
I'll admit, I lived a pretty healthy lifestyle prior to my diagnosis. I played a lot of sports and ate very clean. But, the importance of leading this lifestyle grew even more once I was diagnosed. If you are struggling with your A1C, I promise you that eating clean and finding a workout regimen will do wonders. It keeps your blood sugars in check and works to keep your organs healthy!
It can feel like no one understands
Oh, I remember the days when I would sit alone in my room and listen to Taylor Swift trying to cope with this alone. While, yes, to a certain extent, people without T1D won't completely understand what it's like, I can tell you that they want to understand. Be patient and let these people in because they will help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
There will be a cure in my lifetime
I chose to stop counting my injections a few years ago, because seeing the number get significantly larger each day battered down on my hope and faith. Instead of looking back, I needed to focus on the future and find the brighter things in life. I've been very involved with JDRF since early in my time with T1D and it's given me so much faith. Looking at all of the technology, even the growth just in my 9 years alone, is fascinating. In 2008, I took a minimum of 4 shots a day and had to manually check my blood sugar a multitude of times a day. In 2017? I check my levels on my iPhone using the Dexcom G5, can jump in the pool with my Medtronic insulin pump, have a community of T1Ds on Beyond Type 1, and I only test about once or twice a day.
So now when you ask me, "Do you think there will be a cure?", my answer is, "No doubt about it".
"Getting diagnosed with T1D flipped my world upside down. Thank you to everyone who has been there for me, through thick and thin. I am forever blessed!" -Bea
Stamped on 9/12/2017 by The Letter Bea