Thursday, April 30, 2009

How it's changed my life

My 8th year diabetic diagnosis anniversary is April 29, 2001. I've been thinking lately of how that diagnosis has changed my life. I think maybe I'll just write it out in list form so that it isn't a mumbled jumble of thoughts. These are in no particular order.

Diabetes has changed my life in that, it has:

- made me have to go to the doctor a lot more

I see the doctor every three months. I have to have my A1C taken every three months when I visit the diabetes doctor. I have to have "routine" (as in routine for diabetic) blood work at least every other year. I have to have a foot exam at least every year. I have to get a flu shot every year.
During my pregnancies, I had to visit the diabetes doctor more frequently, every three weeks on average. I had to see the ObGyn more often than regular women. I also had to see a specialist at least once or twice per trimester. During the 4 weeks of pregnancy I had to have non-stress tests performed on the boys twice per week. Going to the doctor was like a part-time job. Much time spent in doctors offices.
I also now have to see the eye doctor once per year.

-made my vision worse
Two weeks before I was diagnosed with diabetes, I couldn't see. It was the strangest thing in the world. I swear to you I lost my vision over night. One day I woke up and had a difficult time seeing anything. It was so bad that I went to Zuka Juice and could not even read a single word on the menu. I remember moving to the front row in each of my college classes, thinking, why in the world can I not see the board?
As soon as I was diagnosed and put on insulin, my vision dramatically improved. However, I have worn glasses for nearsightedness ever since.

- made me more aware of the ingredients in my food

I control my diabetes basically by doing two things. 1. I take insulin via infusion set with an insulin pump. 2. I count my carbohydrates.
I've had to learn a lot about nutrition since becoming diabetic. I've learned a little more about what's in foods such as proteins, carbs, fiber, fats, calories, etc. But mainly, I just know how to count carbs. Some foods are harder for me, but I could look at just about any item of food or meal and tell you how many carbs it contains.

- made me an expert on diabetes

I was diagnosed at the age of 20. My doctors at the time figured that I was an adult and could figure it out on my own. They helped me a lot in trying to get my insulin regimens stabilized but mostly I had to learn about it on my own. I went information-crazy and read every thing I could about diabetes. I love to talk about it. I blog about it occasionally. I hate it when people are ignorant about the disease. I often think that I'd love to be a diabetes educator.

- made me more sensitive to pain

The weirdest thing, and maybe you don't believe me... but I've become less tolerant of pain. I've heard people use the term "pain threshold" before. Mine has significantly decreased since being diagnosed. Any ideas why?

- made it a little more difficult for me to heal

For some reason I don't heal as well now that I have diabetes. I guess it has something to do with the lessened blood flow/ circulation issue that diabetics have. When I get a minor cut or abrasion on my skin, it doesn't heal well. 7 days ago I had some blood work taken. I still have a mark on my arm. 3 weeks ago I scraped my arm on the garage door, I have a pretty bad scar there now.

- made me more aware of my body

Not always, but for the most part, I'm very aware of how I feel. I can tell if my sugar is too low right away, almost always. I can often tell if my sugars are high. I will sometimes just know when I shouldn't take any insulin, or if I should just give myself an extra unit. Someone told me when I was first diagnosed, I think it was that first doctor, that I would be the one who knew myself better than others. I've certainly come to find that as truth.

- made me somewhat more susceptible to illness
Diabetics are often more ill than others. I have the immune system of a true teacher. I can be around millions of germs each day and go weeks without coming down with an illness. There are a few things that I've had more trouble with though. My digestive system doesn't work as well as it should. I often have tummy aches. I also get bladder infections more easily. No fun.

- made me very grateful for the scientists in the world
Scientists are getting closer and closer to finding a cure for Diabetes. The advances in technology and medicine they've made have made my life with Diabetes so much easier than it would have or could have been.

- made me a little healthier

I think that if I didn't have Diabetes, I wouldn't be as healthy as I am today. I have a really big sweet-tooth and although I CAN eat sweets and be diabetic, I'm at least more conscious of what I eat. I could stand to lose 15 pounds and exercise a whole lot more than I do, but nonetheless.
- allowed me to make many friends

Everywhere I go, I meet someone with diabetes. A lot of people have type 2, but inevitably, I'll meet someone who has type 1. It's always nice to be able to talk to someone who knows EXACTLY what you're going through. When you have something like diabetes, its easy to become fast friends.

Anyway, that's all for today I suppose. Diabetes isn't always a bad thing. Although diagnosis can be quite overwhelming, it has taught me a lot and has probably made me a little better of a person.

No comments:

Post a Comment