Here we are in Day Four of Diabetes Blog Week, and today's topic is all about the accomplishments we've had both big and small.
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 (pumping / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology, etc.).
With that, our newest team member Amanda Cedrone shares some recent revelations she's had about her own life with diabetes.
Special to the 'Mine by Amanda Cedrone
State of the Union: It's Time to Cure Diabetes
President launching new precision medicine initiative to better treat, cure diseases like diabetes.
'Robotic Pancreas' Appears On American Idol
Carlos Santana's nephew Adam Lasher shows off Dexcom G4 during live performance.
Metformin: A Great Lakes Disaster?
Wisconsin researchers find diabetes drug being discharged into Lake Michigan, affecting fish.
At first, I was a little stumped about this topic. After all, being diabetic for roughly 23 years has come with a lot of personal victories — and probably just as many defeats. In thinking about it though, I realized that this year in particular has been a turning point for me. So, today I decided to share how I got over the taboo I associated with my diabetes.
Having been diagnosed at such a young age, my parents tried to make my childhood as normal as it possibly could be. For the most part, they were successful. I participated in sports, had a bunch of friends, and, despite my mom's overprotective nature, was even able to sleep over at my friends' houses. My mom also had super-tight control over my blood sugars when I was younger — she used to call me her little science experiment — so I rarely had any high or low episodes.
These things combined meant that I never really thought about my diabetes as being abnormal. I never really thought about it at all -- unless of course I was getting a shot or checking my blood sugar, and then as soon as it was over I'd go back to being blissfully unaware of my disease.
We never talked about my diabetes, or how it made me feel. My parents didn't try to hook me up with other children with diabetes for play dates. They didn't send me to diabetes camp.
While some may see this as a mistake on my parents part, I know that they were just trying to do what they thought was best for me. They wanted to maintain some semblance of a normal childhood by shielding me from the constant reminder that I have diabetes.
Eventually though, I grew up. While I assumed full responsibility for my diabetes care, never discussing my diabetes with anyone was my norm. In high school and in college I justified my silence on the topic by telling myself that I didn't want anyone to treat me, or see me, differently because of my diabetes. Even my best friends that I lived with in college, the ones that I spent all of my time with, didn't know much about my diabetes.
That changed this year. As a part of the graduate school program I'm in, I had to report and write a long-form article on a topic of my choosing. I decided to write about college students with type 1 diabetes and the struggles they go through. Through writing this piece, I was forced to immerse myself in the world of type 1 diabetics. I've talked about my own trials and tribulations with diabetes more in the last year than I have in my prior 22 years combined.
It feels great. As simple and silly as it sounds, I never realized how therapeutic it could be to realize that I'm not alone in this battle. Not to mention, it's helpful to compare notes on everything from the best insulin pump and CGM models, to where to hide my pump when I'm wearing a dress. (It's a real problem, guys. Any and all solutions welcome!)
Now I'm making up for it tenfold. I'm constantly searching for and reading diabetes news and sharing it with my loved ones (bless my boyfriend's heart, he's been very enthusiastic about my newfound interest in diabetes). Not to mention, I've become an active member of the DOC by blogging here at the 'Mine! I never thought I'd be writing about my personal diabetes problems on the Internet, and to my further surprise, I love doing it.
All of these years, I thought diabetes had to be my own silent struggle. Really though, that couldn't be further from the truth, and I'm so happy that I've finally overcome this mentality.