I’ve lived with type 1 diabetes for eight and a half years. Depending on where you sit on that spectrum, that will either feel like a remarkable feat or nothing more than a drop in the ocean.
I can remember the isolation I felt when I was diagnosed. I can remember locking myself in my room, and burying my face in my hands when I had the umpteenth hypo of the day. Or dropping the f bomb and smashing my fists into the wall when I woke up to a BG of 20.
Those things still do occasionally happen. Only the other night, I had been rage bolusing insulin all evening and was getting extremely agitated with every swipe of my FreeStyle Libre reader. When bedtime rolled around and my BG of 14 still hadn’t budged, I swapped out my insulin and changed my site, furious that I wouldn’t make it to bed on time.
But, I’ve come a long way in those eight and a half years. The one thing that stands out to me most in my journey, is that I have never stopped learning. There are so many things that I wish I had figured out sooner. So many tricks of the trade that mean those frustrating, sweary, agitating blood sugar related things don’t happen so often anymore.
If I could go back and give some advice to my newly diagnosed self, these are some of the things I would say.
Get online, and take an interest in diabetes.
Take your diabetes gear with you every time you leave the house.
Food is fuel for your body.
Focus on eating fresh food, and meals that you’ve prepared yourself.
Commit to basal testing, and carbohydrate counting.
Eating when your blood sugar is high, will only send it higher.
Diabetes will affect you emotionally, just as much as it will physically.
Diabetes management is a marathon, and not a sprint.
You can read my advice in full in my special column for World Diabetes Day over at Diabetes Daily. I’m extremely proud of it.