In the Spring of 1998, I had a love affair with my bathroom. I could not stop peeing… ever! It was constant. And if you asked me to drink a gallon of water or juice, I could swig it down in a matter of minutes. My thirst was unquenchable, and my mouth always felt dry and parched. I felt drowsy and warm during the day, and sometimes had trouble breathing. I slept a lot and felt tired all the time. I lost weight and I was irritable. I felt something was wrong inside my body.
It was in July of 1998 when I was 27 years old that a real life curve ball headed my way. I was diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes, which meant forever! My diagnosis came 2 weeks shy of my 28th birthday. I remember I made a wish on my birthday to begin embracing the new Diabetic me. I vowed I would work hard to control the Diabetes. I remember thinking; I needed to be strong, brave and courageous. And despite my anger, frustration, and depression that lasted for about 2 years after my initial diagnosis, I have never looked back. I was given this disease for a reason and I needed to tackle it and master one day at a time. Living with Diabetes is not easy. Often the disease controls you rather than you control it. But I always remind myself that I am in control. I can never give up on myself. I am Diabetic, yet I still have strength, courage and confidence!
In an ironic sense, being Diabetic has taught me the valuable lesson of gratitude! I am grateful that I have been able to accept and embrace the many challenges Diabetes presents. It unfolds daily, and it is in my life to help me learn more about myself. It teaches me to express my feelings, to help others, to be patient, to be honest, to be healthier, to think about my body, my mind, my spirit in ways I never did before I was diagnosed. It has helped me to pay attention to my body and its signals. It has helped me to eat better and live longer. It has helped me to slow down and take a moment to reflect.
Diabetes does not always have to be a bad thing, it can help foster a better you on so many levels. It can and will force you to examine your physical self more. If you can adhere to your plan and your own valuable advice, you will feel better all the way around. If you look better, you will naturally feel better. If you make wise choices about food and exercise, you will naturally be proud of yourself and thus create a sense of pride which breeds confidence and strength. If you feel those things then you can achieve a stronger sense of spirituality, thus making the everyday challenges of being Diabetic more bearable and like second nature. It will become like breathing sometimes, naturally and without hesitation. When the head and heart catch up to each other, a sense of gratitude is what remains!