Since the purpose of this blog is to give a glimpse into daily life with T1 diabetes, many of the topics will be the negatives or challenges of the disease although I always try to include some positives too. Yes there is a lot about T1 diabetes to complain about but there are also unexpected blessings! Although the positives will never outweigh the negatives, I always try to focus on the things to be thankful for.
Most T1 diabetics are actually healthier than their average American counterpart (this is not true of T2 diabetics, they have a much higher non-compliance rate and suffer complications at a much higher rate than T1 diabetics). We see our doctor regularly and have routine labs done multiple times a year and so we catch most health problems earlier than non-diabetics. We are disciplined eaters, the need to carb count means we portion control and keep track of what and how much we eat. Yes we are at higher risk for certain diseases and health problems but compared to the average American we are generally more in tune with our health and put effort into taking care of it. The need to always think and plan ahead for life with T1 diabetes can also spill over into other parts of our life. Many adults diagnosed with T1 diabetes as an adult have said they are more organized throughout their whole life now compared to before.
Being a T1 diabetic means we have a community we are instantly members of. Other T1 diabetics know the unique struggles of daily life and that makes us part of a brotherhood that bonds us. It is always fun to meet another T1 diabetic â€œin the wildâ€. We already have a lot in common even when just meeting. And most T1 diabetics have a â€œdiabestieâ€ (best diabetic friend) or diabuddies (diabetic friends). It amazes me how easy it is to have a 4 hour conversation with a Type 1 I just met.
We also have our own jokes/memes that only T1 diabetics understand! I love how many memes there are about not changing your lancet but itâ€™s hard to explain to a non-diabetic just why they are so funny! Iâ€™m sure I will use memes on my blog that despite me trying to explain, you just wonâ€™t find them as funny as another T1 diabetic does.
I remember when I first discovered that the light from the screen of my insulin pump provides just enough light that I can go to the bathroom during the night without turning on a light (or bumping into furniture)! Itâ€™s like I have a built in nightlight always attached to me and I love it. And unlike a cell phone, it is literally tethered to me 24/7!
I will admit that I like tech gadgets and there are times when I enjoy â€œplayingâ€ with my insulin pump. Iâ€™ve spent a lot of time exploring every menu and seeing what options I have. Most of the world only gets to look forward to seeing whatâ€™s on the newest iPhone, I get to look forward to whatâ€™s new in insulin/diabetes management. And when the new technology makes one part of management a little easier, I feel great joy ?. Although we may not have a cure, our management is a ton easier than even 20 years ago and Iâ€™m very thankful.
Many of us T1 diabetics have admitted to using diabetes as an excuse to bring in food where it usually isnâ€™t permitted. Many of us have also used diabetes as a polite excuse not to eat food we donâ€™t want! It can also be used as a reason to take a break from a work meeting or to take a sick day. Now honestly most of the time these are very valid needs but we are human and sometimes itâ€™s only half valid.
Most T1 diabetics would also say that having diabetes makes us more thankful that our disease is usually manageable (unlike other diseases that arenâ€™t). It makes us more empathetic to others who live with chronic diseases. It makes us more aware of the things in life we can be thankful for. Having a chronic disease makes us understand how precious life is and to be thankful for every day.
Learning to look for the positives in hard situations is not a talent that I naturally have so I work at remembering to be thankful even for the little things. It may not be my natural bent like it is with some people but I am always trying to do better. T1 diabetes, just like life in general, will always have its ups and downs and I hope that I will remember to enjoy the ride.