Hi everyone! My name is Emma and I have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes for 8 years. In fact, I will be celebrating my Diaversary at the end of this month! With so many different topics surrounding diabetes, it was certainly difficult to decide what to talk about. From insulin pumps and devices to keeping in range, there is so much to choose! However, today I want to share with you one of my most crucial points of being a Type 1 Diabetic… the days that I stopped caring about my condition. I know, this doesn’t seem very helpful at all! Trust me, keep reading and you’ll see how everything turned out.
Things started going bad in September 2018 when I reached college, the pinnacle of my education. I really enjoyed college, the atmosphere was vibrant and inclusive and it never felt like I was in a place of education. Rather it felt like a community of like minded individuals sharing ideas and knowledge. However, as I was going through this high in my life, I started to become lazy. It began with a missed glucose test here and there, and a bit of “I’ll inject after I’ve eaten,” and before I knew it my overall blood sugar control was out of the window. On top of that, my college diet was full of junk food. With meals like McDonalds, KFC, energy drinks on the daily, and huge bags of crisps and chocolate, you can imagine that this combined with a lack of finger pricking and injections meant trouble.
This never improved, all the way through my first college year and by the end of it I had lost a ton of weight. Areas on the lower part of my body which were quite full had begun to shrink, leaving bits of saggy skin. Even now, it is still quite loose and I hate it. I felt bonier than ever before, and my energy levels had also deteriorated. I felt constantly exhausted and could never sleep properly due to being woken up multiple times per night by high blood sugar.
I came out with a HBA1C of over 90, and at the time I just shrugged it off. I couldn’t care less about any of it and I had given up. I spent days wishing that I didn’t have diabetes, then eating without testing and injecting because of how fed up I was.
But, things finally did change.
In September of 2019, I decided to fly the nest and move in with my partner. I started at a new college, got a new medical team, and began life in a new city.
A few months went by before things turned around. It hit me hard, knowing that I was damaging my body and my chances of having children by neglecting my basic needs as a diabetic. As 2020 approached, I took action and began giving myself the attention I needed. I tested before meals, I injected before meals, I carb counted correctly, and I adjusted my ratios accordingly. Positive results emerged from this, and slowly my HBA1C decreased 10 at a time. However, I didn’t stop there.
I took a risk and I decided to start using the Libre. Later, I braved an insulin pump, and became the proud owner of the Omnipod Dash. These two changes have had the most impact, making it easier for me to test and bolus, and provide me with more precise control. I believe that I made the best decision of my life by moving to these devices.
As I write this, my last HBA1C test came out in the 50s! I have slowly gained some weight and I feel more in control of my condition than ever before.
So, you’re probably wondering why I decided to share this experience with you. Well, the message is a simple one…
Look after yourself!
Having Type 1 diabetes is a lot of work, and it can certainly get frustrating. But, never forget to test your blood sugar, inject before you eat, and check those carbs, because you could easily fall into bad habits and the damage it does is devastating. When things get tough, know that there is a whole network of support for you- your parents, partner, friends, doctors and charities. Also, when you have a bad diabetes day, know that you are doing amazing. Diabetes is a full time job and there will be some bumps in the road, but you can bounce back!
Finally, if you ever get the chance to try out diabetes tech, take it! You may not like it, but at least you can say you tried!
I hope that my story can help any of you that are going through a similar time, and show you that there is always a way out.
Keep smiling diabuddies!
Been a T1D for 8 years (9 years on the 29th of March), love unicorns, teddy bears, rainbows, and food! Keep smiling!