Yes, when I was diagnosed, I was on an “absolutely no sugar” diet along with insulin that came from swine (unfortunately).
The medical field has changed immensely since then. Remember, I have had this disease for over four decades! As I’ve said many times on this site, I know what I am talking about, through education, trial-and-error, medical professionals (who usually turned out to be wrong and I would be dead several times over if I had listened to them) and most of all… You guessed it… experience!
Since those days of diet and pig insulin, we have moved forward with understanding that the management of Type I diabetes has more to do with balance in health and I also use what is called human insulin which is created in a lab. (Thank you for sparing the pigs!)
And, if you add in the insulin pump, now you have even more freedom. Basically, I live like a normal person who cares about her health (and carries around a mini-computer attached to her side). Ok, that isn’t that scary, but I’ll explain more about the insulin pump in a future article.
Dose of Reality
I’m sure you have read it on this blog already, or you will, but there is that touch of reality that comes along with the diagnosis of diabetes.
For me, it happened when I was sitting on the edge of my hospital bed, at six years old, and my mum told me that I was going to die.
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As that of English breeding, I was not supposed to cry. Shedding tears were for the weak (or the emotionally manipulative, which somehow was allowed within my mum’s view of the culture). So, I was supposed to “suck it up” and live with it. Ironic choice of words, I know.
At six years old, the concept of dying was foreign. But, it didn’t take me long to figure out how to live like I was dying… so much so that when the popularized country song came out, I was surprised because I thought that everyone lived that way.
Oh, I don’t mean being depressed and all that nonsense. I mean, realizing that each day could be your last and living it to the fullest. Oh, I’ve had some hard days. I’ve had days where Diabetes definitely has had the upper hand, but I’ve also had good days… quite a few of them!
A Matter of Perspective
Yes, I admit. I am no saint. There are days when I want to yell from the mountaintop and say, “But look at what I have had to deal with in life!”
But, I decided a long time ago that I was going to be successful in spite of having diabetes. When people noticed any successes (which isn’t the point of life, but rather to accomplish the successes for personal reasons), I didn’t want them to say that that was amazing for a diabetic. No, I wanted the successes to be amazing for a normal person.
Pretty early on in my adulthood, I decided that I didn’t want people to know that I had diabetes. That is why this blog is so difficult. You create a habit of not telling anyone. Oh, people know. But, I am not “the diabetic.” I am simply me.
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So, back on the topic of perspective…
Recently a certain person and I will resist the urge to name who it is… was in the hospital. As it turns out, it was relatively minor, like a urinary tract infection. Ok, granted, for some people, that may be major. But, for people like me, that is like stubbing a toe. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have literally been in the hospital so many times that I have long ago lost count. Now, I just deal with things myself and don’t involve doctors and hospitals (more on that later)… within reason.
So, I would not go to a hospital for a UTI. Granted, because of appointments, I may have to go to “urgent care” for timing purposes, to get an antibiotic because it is one of the days that Diabetes is winning and I need the help of the antibiotic to strike down the UTI, but hospitalized? No, I’d go AMA (against medical advice) before going in-patient for a stubbed toe.
So, this particular person had to announce it to the entire world that she was so ill (which it turns out she was not) that she had to be in the hospital. I dare say that it was probably one of only five times that involved the hospital over her almost eight decades of life and three of those were childbirth.
Long story short, it turned out to be a bit of a scheme to get attention and accomplish something else (as in emotional blackmail) that had nothing to do with UTIs, stubbed toes, or diabetes, for that matter.
THOSE are the sorts of things where I want to say, “Yes, and I got my Masters in Psychology, while working a career, raising a family, and being involved in the community and the arts…” Oh, and that is in spite of UTIs and diabetes! But, that Masters in Psychology is what tells me that saying that would serve no purpose.
There are simply people in this world who are histrionic, narcissitic, egotistical, and some of those happen to also be diabetic 🙂