What Type 1 Diabetes Is Really Like

“How’s your diabetes going?” “Are you managing it alright?” “How are your levels?”

These are the questions that I am most often asked about my diabetes. Don’t get my wrong, I love fielding questions about diabetes. However, being asked about my diabetes so generally is so difficult for me to answer. I’m often left lost for words. Speechless.

Diabetes is so much more than just “good” or “not good.” “Pass” or “fail.” It’s never a simple answer. Diabetes in itself, is never simple.

Diabetes is one of the most unpredictable conditions to live with. Trying to mimic a healthy pancreas, while trying to live my life at the same time, is never easy. Two days with diabetes are never the same. Two identical days with diabetes don’t guarantee you the same results.

Everything affects diabetes. Everything and anything.

A good night’s sleep can be the difference between steady, or skyrocketing levels after waking. Physical activity that isn’t carefully planned for will send me low, and then high in the aftermath. Stress, and illness are enough to make my blood sugar levels as stubborn as hell. A plate of pasta is digested at a much slower rate than a plate of mashed potato.

To remain on top of this condition, I have to be on top of my game. Being on top of my game means living in anticipation of all of these things. Second guessing how accurate my carb counting was at dinner. Wondering if I will need a square of chocolate, or a couple of skittles, to keep me steady over the next couple of hours. Anticipating the timing of my insulin dose to match the food I am eating. Stressing about where my blood sugar levels will settle before I go to bed. Wondering whether I am doing enough to keep myself healthy, and free from long term complications.

After six years, diabetes has become somewhat of a second nature. Yeah, it frustrates me. Yeah, I don’t always get it right. Some times are tougher than others. I get burned out from time to time. There are days where I close my eyes, and bury my head in my hands.

But I don’t feel burdened. I don’t spend my days dreaming of a cure, or wishing it away. It hasn’t stopped me from doing whatever I set out to achieve in life. I will have type 1 diabetes for the rest of my life, and I’ve made my peace with that. 

Type 1 diabetes has made me a stronger, healthier, passionate and more confident person. Type 1 diabetes has shaped the person that I am today, and I wouldn’t trade that guy for anything in the world.

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Wishing you a Happy World Diabetes Day.

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There’s a 24 hour chat happening over on Twitter for World Diabetes Day. For those of you in Australia, it kicks off at 1pm WST/4pm EST. All you need is a Twitter account. Join in by following/tweeting with the hashtag #WDDChat16.

I will be hosting the 5am hour, which is 6pm WST/9pm EST for those of you in Australia.

Hope you can join me.

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