Eventually, my mum stopped coming into school as I had learned to prick my own fingers and evaluate the readings. Once I got the insulin pump, I no longer had twice daily, injections, just the insertion of one cannula every 3 days. I could try Nutrigrain, as long as I put in the carbohydrates right. I had a less rigorous eating schedule, more freedom to eat when I actually felt hungry rather than crying because I was full and did not want to eat any more. Life slowly changed.
When I was younger, my biggest grievance with type one was not being able to eat what my friends ate, having my mum attend school camps, having to stop playing in order to treat a hypo. As I hit puberty, my grievances were surrounded simply, by being different. I hid my insulin pump, drank cans of Coke and tried to ignore that no one I knew carried the burden of Type One.
Now I’m an adult, the things that get to me about diabetes are both simpler and more complex. Just today, I had to put off walking my dogs because my blood sugar was low. It may sound like something small, but having a disease like diabetes takes away your freedom to act autonomously, to do things as you please. Diabetes is like a small child clinging to you, demanding attention and treatment. Demanding you take it into consideration before you partake in any activity, even an activity as simple as driving your car or walking your dogs.
On the complex side, I live in constant fear. I’m lucky enough to have been diagnosed at an age where I could adapt quickly, and with a family who was incredibly supportive (to the point where my mother was calling me from work while I was on school holidays to check how my blood sugars were). I have always had reasonable control over my Diabetes (bar 2 years as an angry teenager where I slipped a little bit), my endocrinologist has never had any real concerns for my health. Despite this, I know that I am susceptible to serious health issues. Every day I assess: can I feel my feet, are there any sores or ulcers? Is my vision blurry because my prescription needs updating or am I at the beginning stages of retinopathy? Am I peeing enough, are my kidneys okay? My heart is racing, am I just anxious or is this the beginning of cardiovascular disease? Before I go to bed- are my blood sugars going to drop overnight and I never wake up?
As I get older, I begin thinking about children. As a type one, I would probably be considered a high risk pregnancy. Think of all the side effects of pregnancy, and the difficulty women face growing a human every day. Add on top of that the increased demand for keeping your blood sugars in line and the much higher risks of miscarriage, premature delivery, preeclampsia, birth defects, insulin resistance. I often wonder if I’ll be able to have three children like I always wanted, or if my body will only be able to cope with one.
This is my life with Diabetes. My management of it and the effect on my life has changed as I’ve aged. One thing that never changed, however, was type one. It changed forms throughout the years as I matured and new technology emerged, but it never left. And it’s likely that it never will.