Friday, January 11, 2013

And so it begins...

The first blog post....

I've been writing this all day(the first sentence), trying to figure out what to say and how to start. I wrote many posts and then deleted them again. But this one will stay! Anyway...

My name is Shannon. I am a 22, almost 23, year old type 1 diabetic. My diagnosis story is nothing too insane but it is a story, indeed. June 1, 2009, I woke up in the morning with "cotton mouth". I thought it was weird but I didn't really think much of it. I got dressed and went to school. I was a senior in high school and entering my last couple of days before graduation. Throughout the day, I probably asked to go to the bathroom around 15 times. Still, I didn't think much of it. I ate my lunch and went to my last class. All of a sudden I felt so nauseous. Again, I went to the bathroom but this time it was because I didn't think I would be able to keep my lunch down. I called my mom to ask her if I could leave school and she told me to go straight to urgent care. It took the nurse probably about 3 minutes to tell me that I had diabetes. She then proceeded to say "Don't worry, you're small. It's probably not the bad kind." Yes, the nurse said this to me! I was transferred to a nearby hospital and I had to learn, in 3 days, how to deal with diabetes for the rest of my life.


At the time, I was so worried about making sure that my blood sugars were in range that I didn't have the time to think about anything else. But over and over again I remembered the words the nurse said to me. It's probably not the bad kind. What the hell is that supposed to mean? The bad kind? Okay, because what I do every single day...what all diabetics do every single day just to survive makes it hard to believe that there's a good kind. I was convinced that she lied to me and I absolutely had the bad kind. 

The older I got and the more I learned about diabetes, the more I realized that there is no "bad kind". Diabetes is diabetes. Yes, some people are insulin dependent and some people are not. Yes, there are different types of diabetes. But I can not imagine what it would be like to have "good" diabetes. If there was a such thing as good diabetes, would diabetes exist at all? I don't know. I do know that I am forever grateful for that nurse and for diabetes. Don't think I'm crazy, I'll explain.

That nurse made me realize how uninformed people, even health care professionals, are about type 1 diabetes. Uninformed about diabetes in general. She made me open myself up to educating people about diabetes. Thanks to her, I am not secretive about my diabetes. I share with people what I have to do to take care of myself. I LOVE when people ask me questions about diabetes and insulin pumps and blood sugar levels. I love it. I'm glad people care. It makes me happy that they want to know.

Forever grateful for diabetes. Why? Well, because... Because diabetes has taught me what it means to be strong. Because diabetes has shown me what I look like at my worst. Because diabetes has shown me what I look like at my best. Because diabetes helped me find myself. Because diabetes makes me depressed sometimes. Because diabetes makes me happy sometimes. Because diabetes is a part of me.

There are many things that make me who I am, including diabetes. I am grateful for all of them, the good and the bad. So I am thankful for diabetes, the highs and the lows. People with diabetes, all "kinds" of diabetes, have great courage and strength. That courage, that carries me.

I'll get by with a little help from my courage and my strength.