Guest Post: “Dealing with Diabetes” by Gina Capone
On November 25, 2000 I was diagnosed, Yes, with Type 1 diabetes (and it will be 10 years on Thanksgiving). I was not a child at diagnosis (although my mom may fight you on that), I was a 25 year old woman. Working a full-time job, going out with my friends on weekends, dating, and doing all the things a young adult does.
After the diagnosis everything changed. I felt different, scared and alone. Worst of all I was ashamed that I had diabetes. Here I was living my life one way and all of a sudden I was told I had to change everything I have ever known and learn to live a new way. I needed to learn how to draw up syringes, change my diet, count carbs, sliding scales, NPH, Humalog, test blood sugars, high blood sugars, low blood sugars, the list goes on. My daily routine had turned into a three ring circus. My head was spinning from all the information I had to consume in a week. All I kept thinking…WHY ME? What did I do to deserve this?
I became very depressed for a very long time after diagnosis. I did not go out as much anymore and was ruining relationships with my friends because I was embarrassed about having diabetes. This went on for over a year. The only place you could find me was at work 9-5. You also learn a lot about your friends when dealing with a chronic illness. A lot of my friends stuck by me and helped me through it but some just bailed.
I was lucky though, lucky to have a solid support system in my family. My parents never made me do it alone. As I learned, they learned too. We were all in it together as a family. They came to all my doctor and nutrition appointments with me. My mother learned how to make meals that were better options for me. (Yes, I was 25 years old and should have been cooking for myself. I will save that one for another blog post. She also told me that God would never let us bare more than we could handle. When I cried, she was strong. It was exactly what I needed at that time.
My dad even learned how to draw up syringes and test my blood sugar. My sister on the other hand, it took her a little longer to get used to. She would cringe for the first couple of weeks when I had to give myself shots. It would get me really upset to the point of crying. “It’s not my fault that I have to do this, trust me I really don’t want to do this.” that’s what I used to tell her after she cringed. After a couple of days, she got used to it.
Now, no one even notices anymore, including friends, family and even co-workers. It has become a routine like brushing your teeth. (I am on a insulin pump now, and it is much easier to hide it from people if you choose to. I do not recommend hiding that you have diabetes though.) My friends actually place bets on what my blood sugars are going to be before and after eating. Getting diagnosed later has been a difficult battle for me. I am not going to lie. It definately does have its ups and downs that’s for sure. But, like everything else, you get knocked down and you get back up again. It makes you stronger.
I have also gained tremendous support through my second family within The Diabetes Online Community. People that I have gotten to really know and love have helped me through some of the toughest moments over the past 10 years. People that go through the same exact struggles I go through and some parents as well. Especially my cyber-mom Ellen (@curet1diabetes on twitter) without her love and support I think I would have gone crazy, she is that person who I can always count on when I am feeling down, or happy or just need anything! I love you Ellen.
So when you are just feeling like you are at wits end and wanting to get some extra support just know that this community of fantastic people are only a tweet, facebook, support forum, email and blog away.
Personal Blog: diabetestalkfest.com/blog
Website: The Diabetes Resource, Your Ultimate Guide to Everything Diabetes : thediabetesresource.com
Website: The Diabetes OC, thediabetesoc.com, @TDResourceWebsite: The Diabetes OC Awards, docawards.wordpress.com, @docawardsTwitter: @ginacaps