Basically I just wanted to address a couple of points that I've been thinking about recently in regards to being a diabetic. Here it goes:
My first point is that I feel that diabetes isn't taken as seriously as it needs to be. This applies to diabetics and also non-diabetics. Recently I've come to realise that diabetes isn't just something you put up with and push aside to try and forget about, it's something you have to allow into your life. I've been diabetic type 1 for 10 years and I've had my ups and downs but I know I've always tried my best when it comes to this illness. I'm happy with my HBA1c results and I'm always strict with testing my glucose levels at least 10 times a day (which is a lot to some), ensuring I change my insulin pump set on the right days, the right amount of times and I always bolus for my food. I like to think that I always try my best to respect my condition and in turn it respects me however last week I had a bit of a "spell" where I couldn't for the life of me get my glucose levels down and stabalised. I didn't do anything different to what I normally do or ate anything different, I just woke up and was extremely high. I couldn't physically keep anything down so I ended up being sick (a common side effect of having high glucose levels) and I felt so drained and ill that I was extremely lethargic and fed up. I tested for keytones and my result came back 1.3 which worried me as I've always been between the normal ranges (under 0.6) and when you go above 1.5 you must seek medical assistance. In all the years I've had this illness, never have I had keytones this high which upset me because through no fault of my own, I was very ill. I had to miss university that day which is something I hate doing and I had to test my glucose levels at least 15-20 times within a 2 hour period which was also annoying.
Recently in an interview I conducted with Laura Kronen who is a life coach and author to new book on diabetes "Too Sweet - The Not-So-Serious Side to Diabetes', she said:
'As diabetics, when we feel terrible, we don't "look sick,", so not many people can even begin to understand the effect diabetes is actually having on us.'This is so true. Diabetes, if you like, is really an invisible illness. You wouldn't be able to automatically tell if the person that just passed you, was diabetic or not. I think this is one of the reasons diabetes isn't regarded as a "serious" illness to some as you just look like everyone else. People don't tend to realise the effect diabetes has on a person's everyday lifestyle, nor the implications it has on a person's life as they get older. I don't like to even look at articles or anything online which tells me what having diabetes (with not so good control) can do to someone later in life. I know about it but I just don't want to read about it over and over again.
However this has led me onto my next point, I think this whole "invisible illness" idea has in someway subliminally influenced myself and my diabetes care too. Like I said, I regard myself as strict with testing my glucose levels, ensuring I take insulin whenever I eat something and when I generally need to take it, changing my insulin pump set and also before I went on an insulin pump and I injected at least 4 times a day, I made sure I did this without forgetting to take one (this is unusually common) and also making sure I attend my hospital visits and keep my HBA1c and glucose levels as low as possible... However, even though I class myself as "strict", I've come to realise that I've become, not complacent but not as strict as I possibly can be. This could be due to the fact that, like I just said, in someway, I might have become subliminally influenced by the fact that a lot diabetes is in some cases regarded as a minor condition, which of course will subconsciously lead you to think the same too. Now, I agree that there are more severe illnesses, however diabetes is not in any way a minor condition or illness.
Even though I respect my diabetes and it respects me, there is always room for improvement. I think when I was a bit younger, I used to set goals for myself and then one day I possibly reached that goal and I didn't set myself another one. I just kept on doing what I was doing and was happy and content with that. But, there is always room for improvement.
This post is to remind people that diabetes IS an invisible illness to people who aren't diabetic. However, if you are diabetic, you know this illness is anything but invisible to you. I want to urge you to realise and come to terms with the fact that diabetes is with you for life. Hopefully we find a cure soon but until then, you're stuck with it. I've realised this and come to terms with it a long time ago but only recently I truly realised that it's not just an illness that stays at my side, but it's in me and it's not enough just to think about your diabetes on a day-to-day basis, with a "take it as it comes" attitude, you have to decide now how you want your diabetes control to be in order for it to make a positive impact on your future.
I do not want to think 20 years down the line "I have all these complications because I didn't look after myself as best as I could from an early age", I want to be thinking "I'm so glad I realised when I was 21 the true impact diabetes has on your life, and if you treat it properly it will treat you properly".
Don't worry so much if other's don't understand diabetes and it's implications, as long as YOU realise and make your choice on how you want to control your diabetes then that's all that matters. If you're thinking right now "I could probably tighten my control a bit" or "I definitely need to work on stabalising my levels" make an appointment with your doctors or hospital and tell them you want to change and tighten your control, I'm sure they will only be too glad to sit down and talk to you about it.
I know this is definitely something I will be bringing up with my consultant when I go for my check-up in December.
Before I go, like I said at the beginning of this post, this month is Diabetes Awareness Month and tomorrow is World Diabetes Day. I've decided to take part in raising awareness for a campaign called 'Insulin4All' because, as mind blowing as it is, insulin isn't readily available worldwide. Can you imagine a life without insulin? It's not a nice thought.
If you want to support 'Insulin4All' too, please tweet tomorrow as much as you can using the hashtag #Insulin4All and hopefully we can eradicate this problem from today's world. Everyone should have the right to access insulin.
Put the World back in World Diabetes Day! #Insulin4All
If you'd like to join me on my 'Take Back What's Yours' campaign which is all about empowerment in diabetes, bullying, self-esteem, anxiety & any other medical or mental health issue, please check out this link to more information on what we do! We'd love to have you on board so do get in touch by email or tweet me! If you just want a chat about diabetes or if you don't necessarily know many people with the condition, feel free to email me! My links are below!
Tumblr Ask: http://ChloesConcept.tumblr.com/ask
Thank you again!