"We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you've made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small - think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.)."
This was a tougher prompt for me today. I feel like we accomplish things every single day with diabetes. But as I dug deeper, I realised my biggest accomplishment would be acceptance of the disease.
When I was initially diagnosed last year I was in shock for the first month or so. As I blogged here, I took a month long trip to South East Asia one month after diagnosis. Although I had a blast, diabetes definitely made the trip tougher. Plus the fact that I still didn't really know what I was doing in terms of managing things.
When I returned home, I was angry about my diagnosis. I felt as though it had ruined a trip that I had dreamed about for many years, and had been planning for almost a year. I felt like dealing with diabetes everyday took away from my whole experience. It was really starting to sink in for me that this was going to be with me for the rest of my life. It's a tough thing to wrap your head around after living for 30 years with no health issues whatsoever.
I wrestled with thoughts as to how this had happened to me. I worried about how it would limit my life and what things I wouldn't be able to do anymore. And what about having kids? Was I going to end up like Shelby in "Steel Magnolias"!? I worried a lot and it affected me emotionally.
It was clear I needed answers to some of these burning questions. I went to see a counsellor at the diabetes health centre where I'm a patient. We discussed some of the things that were upsetting me and were able to narrow down where the main source of my anxiety was coming from. A big part of it seemed to revolve around the fear of having a bad low and either being alone or with people that wouldn't understand what was going on. I worried about going to sleep at night for fear that I would have a low in the middle of the night and not wake up. We made a plan together and completed some tasks that would help me to feel more safe and more prepared. This is when I began telling more people about diabetes. I also started wearing a medical alert bracelet, which eased my mind considerably and opened the door for discussion with people. I learned to carry glucose with me absolutely everywhere, even in my pocket at work in case I can't get to the glucose in my bag because I'm tied up with something.
Now that I've had diabetes for 15 months, I've learned so much about the disease which really eases my mind. I understand better how MY body works and what to expect from it during different activities and stressful events in my life. The unexpected can definitely happen, but overall I know I can still handle a lot. I've also tested diabetes limits, and it's not as tough I thought.
I'm much stronger, so it's going to have to learn how to deal with me!