August 9th, 2015 was the day my life changed. I was at camp with my family and, not to be TMI, I was peeing a lot and was very dehydrated even though I drank what felt like gallons of water. Since weak immune systems run on my dad’s side of the family, and the fact that I was showing all of the symptoms, my dad took me to the hospital suspecting I would be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Sadly, he was right.
For those of you who are a little confused- when a person has type 1 diabetes, it means that their pancreas doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. The job of the pancreas is to produce a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps control your blood glucose levels and keeps you in a state of homeostasis. My pancreas, however, doesn’t do what it needs to do.
I just remember crying. Crying in the car while my dad was telling me it would all be alright. Crying in the hospital as the doctors explained my condition. Crying even more when I was left alone and actually let myself absorb what was going on. But I was also mad. Mad that my dumb body was being, well, dumb. I already hated the exterior I didn’t need a reason to hate my interior too.
The first year I had diabetes went better than expected. I think that was mostly due to fear to be honest. This is because everyone made it seem like if I slipped up even once I was going to end up either dead or in the hospital. Eventually the fear ceased to exist and I stopped taking care of myself.
The second and third year I was doing terrible mentally and emotionally. This affected my physical health due to the fact that I lost the will to take care of my mind and body. Since I wasn’t taking my insulin my body couldn’t break down any sugar from food to use as energy. Instead my body broke down fat in order to flush out excess sugars. I was basically eating away at myself. This was also dangerous because my body would have started eating away at my organs too. Meaning I was at risk for both organ failure and DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis). People go into DKA when their bodies start breaking down fat too fast. The liver then processes that fat into a fuel called ketones. This then causes the blood to become acidic.
The fourth year, thankfully I got a pump. The pump I have sticks to my arm (if you ever see me you might be able to see it) and gives my insulin. It gives my small amounts throughout the day and when I eat something, or just need insulin, I have a little device that I can tell to give me it. My dad and I had been fighting to get a pump for over a year. We knew that I needed the pump because otherwise nothing would have changed. My doctors were cautious to let me have one though because, with a pump, I can go into DKA a lot faster if I don’t do what I need to do. They were especially worried because I had gone into DKA before and had been on the edge of it multiple times.
I’m so happy to say that I’m doing a lot better this year. After four years I’m FINALLY getting a hold of things. It’s been hard having to both handle this disease and deal with the fact that I’m going to have for the rest of my life. I mean, I know it could’ve been worse. I understand that I could have been diagnosed with a much more deadly disease. But for me, Diabetes was the worst thing that could’ve happened to me at the ripe old age of 13. I hated my pancreas! Scratch that- I still hate it. Why doesn’t the stupid thing work? Organs are supposed to function! I mean, it’s been four years and I’m still not completely over it. I honestly don’t think I ever will be.
If you get diagnosed with something-anything- you can always find somebody to support you. Don’t ever give up on your health or yourself because dealing with your problems is so much better than ignoring them.