Living with Type 1 Diabetes and doing something about it.
I’m a girl who loves fashion, good food, traveling, skiing, and the outdoors. I’m passionate about my dogs and my family. I’m also a girl with Type 1 Diabetes. Diagnosed just shy of my 23rd birthday, it was a devastating blow. I didn’t share my story with very many people, and I rarely even discussed it with my husband or family. I never wanted to ask for help because I felt like it would just worry everyone. I felt embarrassed and I thought if people knew about my condition that I would be judged.
I felt fine and for a while I never got sick. I thought everything was under control… but it wasn’t.
Around 2011, I began losing weight for no apparent reason, followed by debilitating stomach pains and trips to the hospital. In search of answers, I was tested for Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Still no luck. I kept searching however and made a trip to Rochester, Minnesota, where I visited the amazing doctors at the Mayo Clinic. It was here I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis, a condition where the spontaneous movement of the muscles in your stomach do not function properly. Ordinarily, strong muscle contractions propel food through your digestive tract, but with Gastroparesis, your stomach motility works poorly or not at all. This prevents your stomach from emptying properly and can interfere with normal digestion, causing nausea, vomiting, and problems with blood sugar levels and nutrition. There is no cure for Gastroparesis, but with conscientious changes to your diet and medication, there can be relief.
The newest diagnosis was yet another devastating blow. Every time I got the flu I wound wind up in the hospital for a least a week. And even after I was released it would take my body a while to recover and get back to being myself. Even when I would be feeling okay, I felt like I had lost a lot of the energy that I used to have. I knew I had to make a change, and that’s why I am now on a mission to find the best diet and lifestyle I can to take back my energy, my health and my life.
A New Outlook
So far, this new journey has consisted of a lot of trial and error. It has involved unconventional diets and food allergists and sizeable chunks of my life researching the internet for clues. Not to mention countless doctor visits where I am sometimes left wondering if they have any idea either (I know they try)! But by embracing my diabetes and learning more about this disease every day, I am slowly taking back control and keeping my blood sugar at more stable levels than ever before.
I’m sharing these stories for a reason. I had never heard of these conditions before and was unaware that these things could happen to me because of diabetes. It is my hope that by passing along my story other people out there realize that ignoring diabetes isn’t the answer. Down the road your body, family and friends will all thank you for by embracing this fight instead of avoiding it.
Blogging with Purpose
Instead of sitting around and being a passive observer of diabetes, I am deciding to take action. My new blog, semisweetdiabetes.com, is a weekly journal of my experience with diabetes. It will be filled with diabetic-friendly recipes, first-hand learning experiences, useful information about diabetes, me enjoying my life and even a picture or two of my adorable pugs! I hope my experiences on this blog, along with additional insights from other members of the diabetes community, this blog will be able to guide those struggling with diabetes.
Even with setbacks I feel I have made tremendous progress forward, in some ways I feel like these trials are a blessing in disguise. Because of my diabetes, I have learned to ask for help, it has brought me and my family closer together, and I think that it has made us ALL much more aware of our overall health. It has also helped me realize that life is short and very precious, and because of this I embrace everyday with gratitude. To find the good in the bad. I also hope that it helps others with their journey. You are not alone and there are support systems like this one all around you. Together, we can live both the sweet and not-so-sweet moments together.