…that is the question which I’ve been asking myself for a while now. I feel like I have a lot to say. But is it really worth putting it out there in the big ol interweb? That thought is kinda scary. I feel like blogging represents me relinquishing control. See I wouldn’t be a light blogger, I’d want to tackle big stuff. My life has a lot of ups and downs and can get pretty intense. I work pretty hard to keep boundaries, or I’m trying to. It’s a new coping mechanism. Working pretty well. See that, that there – that’s personal. But I feel like putting my journey out there, what I’ve been through. How I’ve coped. What I’ve done, where I’ve found comfort or solace or answers. Just admitting to how I feel, might help someone else out there who’s struggling with the same battles I am. Who faces the same things. Or processes life the same way I do. The thing is, I don’t know who that is.
Just over 3 years ago I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I was 18. It was rough. It got rougher, and it hits home much more now then it did back then. But it was still a massive shock in 2009. For those who don’t know, Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is an auto-immune disease in which the body decides to attack the beta cells in the pancreas. No biggy? Think again. Beta cells make insulin, which is needed by the body to unlock the energy from the carbohydrate foods we eat. Big deal. Think of insulin as a key, transporting the glucose in our blood to our muscles (or storing the excess as fat). Pretty freaking necessary for the body to function. So necessary that without replacement insulin, I’d probably be dead in a few days. Tops. Yeh, my body, in all its brilliance, decided to turn on my poor unsuspecting pancreas and kill all of those beta cells. So if I want to live I have to take 4-6 insulin injections daily (yes everyday) or wear an insulin pump 24/7. For the rest of my life. There is no cure (yet). And yes, I want to live. So I do it. I love when I talk to people who say “OMG, I could never be diabetic. I hate needles.” “Yeh, me too.” “No, like you dont understand. I HATE needles.” Believe it or not, ‘love of needles’ was not on the application form for diabetes. Once, I made myself sick at school trying to get out of vaccinations in year 8. Sometimes (most times) it takes me 20 minutes to do a set change (the patch change for an insulin pump, done every 3 days). I am the slowest injector on the planet. I have a knack for making phlebotomists uncomfortable with my tears when I get my 3-monthly bloods done. Every time, it’s a skill really. I hate needles. Not the point. The point is, is that T1D is an auto-immune disease, not a lifestyle disease. Please don’t get it confused with Type 2. They affect the same organ, yes. But they are completely different diseases. Type 2 is much more common – about 90% of diabetes is T2. Some of it is hereditary, but a lot of it is caused by diet, lifestyle and insufficient exercise. In most cases, it is managed with purely diet and lifestyle changes (eat less sugar and refined carbs, lose weight, exercise more). Sometimes it is managed by tablets and other oral medications. For very advanced Type 2, it is managed by insulin injections, usually only 1 or 2 a day though, I believe. And ‘graduating’ to injections does not make it then T1. The physiology behind why it was caused is completely different. It is a pet peeve of mine (along with almost all T1’s I know) when my condition is compared to that of someone with T2. Yes, diabetes is a big grey area. It is so personal and different and there are so many types and causes and unique cases. I get that. But I did nothing to cause my condition. I would do anything to reverse it. I do everything I can to manage it. It is not fair to compare my auto-immune disease to a lifestyle disease. I am all about awareness around this. There is WAY too much confusion (thanks media) and nothing frustrates me more than hearing an ad or reading a magazine which just uses the umbrella term “diabetes” – IT’S NOT THAT HARD TO SPECIFY WHICH ONE! End rant. And I hope I explained the differences well enough, accurately and without causing anyone too much offence. I can be really bad at political correctness, add that to the reasons why I’m apprehensive about starting a blog.
But If I’m honest, which I fully endeavour to be, this blog is for me. Not to get accolation or praise (although that is most certainly welcome!), not at all for sympathy (I don’t think I want that), not so much for recognition (although i have to admit I hope this helps people to understand my crazy D life) and not solely for me to talk. Vent? Yes. Mindlessly put stuff out into the world wide web? No. I want to open up a dialogue around this stuff. This stuff which no-one seems to get. Taboo’s we don’t talk about? Perhaps thats it. But stuff that leaves us feeling like we’re the only ones in the world going through this, feeling like this, alone….I know Im not the only one. Right? I want to share; be heard and hear other people. Community is what I’m all about. Mutual support. So if something here sings out to you, hit me back. I would love it. I’m opening up the can of worms. Here’s to blogging people!
I really want to mention something I read in a blog I stumbled on a little while ago which said “diabetes doesnt define who I am, it just helps explain me.” A lot. Especially at the moment.
Until next time.