What I’ve Learned In 27 Years With Diabetes

Okay, so the end of last year was a blur to say the least. I only blogged once in November, and that was to say that I was determined to put diabetes back into my life. And I am. It’s taking a bit longer than usual, but I’m learning to balance all the things in my life that is going on while trying my best to keep from putting my diabetes on the back burner and leaving it there.

IMG_2019On the 22nd of November, I celebrated 27 years with Type 1 diabetes. Yes, you read that right. I celebrated it. I may not have written a whole post or had cake or thrown a party, but I did in my own mind, celebrate it. Having diabetes has taught me a lot of things, but namely, it has taught me to be thankful for the health that I do have. (And what a month to have to celebrate it in, right?!)

Many people think that I am crazy, but I count myself so blessed to be a diabetic in that it is one of the biggest things that has taught me to roll with the punches, to try my hardest, when the going gets tough to push harder, but that it’s okay to take a break and rest at times when burnout is at it’s peak. As crappy of a disease diabetes is, it has helped to shape me into the person I am today, and for that, I’m thankful.

It has taught me humility in knowing that I can’t do it all, all of the time. Diabetes is a sucky disease that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But coming from someone who hates to ask for help for anything, it has taught me that sometimes I have to suck it up and ask, and not be embarrased to do so. It’s not just my life anymore that depends on my health, I have two beautiful children and a loving husband that depend on me as well. So, I have to tell my self to “suck it up buttercup” and ask for help when I need it.

And help doesn’t need to be constricted to physical help – I mean mental help as well. This disease is a 24/7 monkey that can wear at anyone, and asking for help from either a friend, professional, or both, is completely ok… in fact, I encourage it.

I’ve had to learn that even though I have diabetes and my pancreas does not work correctly, it doesn’t mean that I am broken. It took me years to not feel like I was broken, a dud, malformed… It took a very long time for me to realize that I’m still a person. I am not defined by the non-functioning status of an organ that is taking up residence in my body. It causes a lot of havoc at times, yes, but I am not my pancreas, nor am I the disease that caused it to be a bum. I am still the person who loves music, who loves to write, who is constantly paranoid about how clean or dirty her house is, or who is completely mesmerized by how quickly kids can grow and loves to kiss and tickle them every minute I can. I simply have one organ (well, technically two if you count my slacker thyroid) that doesn’t work.

cWC3VryQce5kbpXB.jpgAs a tech guru, I’ve been on many different pumps and used many different meters – and I used to be one to tell you which one I thought was the greatest thing to ever hit the market in my opinion at that time. Now, my thoughts have changed a bit to moreso encourage people to do a lot of research on their own. It’s true that what works for me may not work for you – and what works for us, may not work for the person next to us. All pumps have their drawbacks, and so do all meters. No one fits everyone, and it’s a great thing that we have all of these options on the market. I will still give you pointers and tell you pros and cons if asked, but for the most part, I’ve learned that even with diabetes, each one of us has a different experience so what I say works for me will more than likely be completely different for you and your needs.

I’ve also learned that diabetes is ever evolving… even in me, it’s constantly morphing, and to me, as someone who has loved the human anatomy, it astounds me. Even as frustrating as it is to constantly have to monitor and adjust, just to see how my body and insulin needs has changed and waved through insulin sensitivity to insulin resistance and all areas in between through 2 pregnancies and just regular life – it’s just utterly amazing to me. And that is one reason why I will never tell anyone how to manage their diabetes. Heck, I can’t keep up with mine most of the time, so I have no place pointing fingers or telling someone else what they should do or how they should do it in regards to their own personal diabetes management.

Let Your Light Shine

In the end, I am a person that happens to have a bum pancreas (and thyroid)… but I’m thankful for all that having it has taught me and for shaping me into who I am today.

It is my goal and passion to at least try to help others and encourage them in their own diabetes journey – whether you’ve lived with it one day, one year, or too many years to count.

What I’ve Learned

I go for my second OB appointment tomorrow and I really don’t know what to expect. Some people, from what I read on the internet and talking with friends, got a second ultrasound at this checkup. Some just got measured and was told to come back in four weeks, while others went in every two weeks still. I don’t really mind what frequency I’ll be at, which he’s already said every 4 weeks, but I’m more concerned with just making sure the pregnancy is going okay, especially until I get out of the first trimester. I’ll be 9wks 3 days tomorrow, so only 2 weeks and 4 days to go til the 12 week mark, and maybe I won’t be so “up in arms” about everything.

To date, I have lost 7 pounds. I’m still eating the same amount of carbs when I get to eat, and my daily averages are about what they were before my pregnancy, except they are in smaller, more frequent meals (like, every 2 to 3 hours – no 4 to 6 hour breaks in between) and only about 20 carbs max. My guess is the frequency, size, and types of food is what’s causing the weight loss. (Of course, other’s can’t tell the weight loss, and I really wish they could because I’ve already had some to come up and say “wow! You’re already showing!” – but truth be told, that’s a roll of fat that’s always been there, I just can’t “suck it in” anymore comfortably.)

But! If I have learned anything so far in this journey, it’s this:

Waking up low will make the morning sickness worse for me.. and this is either from waking up in the morning or if I take a nap. If I wake up low, you may as well forget the good feeling I may have had that day because the sickness will be back full force. As a matter of fact, even dropping low at any given time (and not fast-low either) will make me turn green, but no where near as bad as when I wake up low.

Anything fried – including, but not limited to, bacon, fried shrimp, fried pork shop, fried chicken, fried rice, fried ham – will make me nauseously green. I cannot be in the kitchen while it’s being cooked at all. If one good thing has come out of this pregnancy 24×7 sickness (which, btw, is becoming more of hit & miss days sickness), is the fact that I cannot handle fried foods. The one thing that the south is known for and very good at making, I cannot eat. Rather, the only thing that seems to agree with me is fresh fruit, milk, and some juices. Even sweets, to a degree, turn me green.

Preggie Pop Drops from Motherhood Maternity or Amazon work wonders if you don’t want to go as far as taking an anti-nausea pill, and they’re 4g of carb each.

Dizziness isn’t just blood sugar related. Yep. I have been dizzy at times, (I even saw lots of yellow stars and had to hold on to the door post at one point to keep from falling down) and I would run to check my blood sugar only to have it be in the normal range. From what I read, this is due to your body making more blood for the baby, and getting up too fast (which even normal speed is too fast sometimes) can cause dizziness. So, if you’re pregnant, be careful standing up, but still be aware of your blood sugars just in case you are actually dizzy from being low.

The old wives tale of “the sicker you are the better because that means the placenta and baby are forming right” is totally incorrect and really isn’t comforting since my sickness is starting to work itself out of my system and the fact that some women don’t have any sickness at all.