We don’t always realize it, but each one of us has 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.).
I think each person’s diabetes is their own, and is ever evolving as they experience the challenges that life brings. Living with type 1 diabetes often requires micromanagement, which results in many accomplishments, it’s hard to choose just one. There are daily, simple wins, and there are much larger wins, each is unique and evokes different emotion.
For me, my most pronounced accomplishment has been acceptance. I was diagnosed at the age of 25 in 2006, and for about 1 1/2 years post diagnosis, I was depressed and wanted to run away and hide forever. I didn’t like my new life, and I wanted my old one back. I didn’t like the demands, the new way that my body felt and the things I experienced, my sudden twisted relationship with food, the doctors appointments, injecting myself, feeling crappy from blood sugar swings, the fear of complications later in life, feeling ashamed and embarrassed, and having to essentially start over and re-learn everything I already had in life. Diabetes brought a whole new dimension and I felt completely broken down.
And then, the Navy moved us to Virginia from Puerto Rico and I found an insulin pump support group. I thought long and hard about whether or not I was ready to put myself out there. I finally decided one evening I was going to force myself outside of my comfort zone and attend. I distinctly remember meeting Heejin, who was outspoken, had lived with type 1 diabetes for so long, and was still asking questions. I thought to myself, I can totally do this! I remember driving home from that meeting and being so excited that I’d made a lifelong friend, but also found others that were just like me, that understood, and that I was not alone anymore. This has since snowballed into the complete opposite feelings I had for those first 1 1/2 years, and am super involved with diabetes groups, organizations, etc.
It hasn’t been an easy road, but a road that has been well worth it and has taught me more about myself than I ever thought possible.