Okay, so to begin with… I am a diabetic. I have got diabetes type 1 since I was seven years old, so almost 14 years. It’s been a part of my life since I could remember and I live normally, just like everyone without it. It does not shackle me as most people think of what diabetes does to you. I live life to the fullest, and I got screwed up a lot of times, but never primly because of diabetes.
For not being mistaken of type 1 and type 2; in general, people with diabetes either have a total lack of insulin (type 1 diabetes) or they have too little insulin or cannot use insulin effectively (type 2 diabetes). Type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent diabetes), accounts for 5 to 10 out of 100 people who have diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body's immune system destroys the cells that release insulin, eventually eliminating insulin production from the body. Without insulin, cells cannot absorb sugar (glucose), which they need to produce energy.
Both types of diabetes greatly increase a person's risk for a range of serious complications. Although monitoring and managing the disease can prevent complications, diabetes remains the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure. It also continues to be a critical risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and foot or leg amputations.
I remember exactly how I felt a few days before I was diagnosed with diabetes. I was REALLY thirsty all the time. My parents did not have any idea of what was happening with me, what was going on, so my dad had forbidden me to drink. Oh, and I was craving for water. Not sugary drinks, water! And since I was not allowed to drink as much as I desired, felt in need to, I began with secretly tea or water drinking during the night, at the time my whole family was asleep. I shared a room with one of my sisters back than, so it wasn’t easy to accomplish my goal. But I did, more times per night. And remember, I was seven. Because of drinking such big amounts of water during the night, I peed myself every single night. I was becoming more and more exhausted during the day, changing the color on my face, acting like someone else… It was after three or four days that my neighbor, who was a doctor, told my parents to go check my blood sugar, because she recognized the symptoms. My parents immediately took me to the hospital and my blood sugar was “surprisingly” high. Like waaaaay high. I was driven to the capitals’ hospital with ambulance truck immediately. It was just before Christmas time, so I spent 5 days in hospital, went home for Christmas, got back to the hospital and got released for the New Year’s Eve. I do not recall much of the time spent in hospital, at the time, I actually hadn’t had any clue of what is really going on. I did not know what diabetes was, I did not know, why I was being constantly injected with something. All I saw was needles. Thank God, I never had problems with those. It was much harder for my parents and four older sisters. My parents were being schooled about diabetes for 2 weeks. I was too young for injecting myself or to even understand everything. Parents had it much worse, after a talk we had a few years ago, they told me they were crying a lot (of course not a frond of me) and asking themselves why this happened to me. And they told me I was a brave little boy, who didn’t cry even once, who had no problems with the needles and no problems with eating only “healthy, but actually gross food – even my parents said so, and they are all about healthy lifestyle).
When I came home from the hospital, our house literally became sugar-free and healthy-snacks house. And remember, living “the healthy way” was not popular 14 years ago as it is today. Haha. All the sweets and non-healthy foods were thrown in the trash, and replaced with healthier alternatives. That was also a time, when my family became aware of how important living the healthy lifestyle is. At first, my diabetic diet was really strict. So no sugar at all (except when having a low blood sugar), no white anything (bread, pasta, rice, …) no sweetened drinks, so basically, all the good stuff (for kids haha) were gone. There is a reason why a diabetic diet is probably the only diet out there that has only positive sites to it – eat EVERYTHING, just avoid eating a direct sugar. But after some years, the diet became less stricter, and if I look at myself now, foodwise – I have no diabetes haha. But back in time, my parents had to weigh all my food, everything I was about to put in my mouth. They had to convert all the food weight to carbohydrates.
I was in a first grade, when I became a diabetic. So it was quite an additional stress for me, for my parents, for the teachers and for my classmates. I had my own lunch in school. At first I was carrying my own lunch box from home (I know this is typical for America, but here, not so much haha, some older kids even looked down on me). Later the school kitchen was managing my food as well. It was similar to the one for the other kids, just slightly healthier version. For example, when the others were having white bread with cheese, I had a wheat bread with cheese spread. But actually, the food never caused me any problems, not with myself, not with the others. I got used to it and my schoolmates got used to it. Of course the teachers had to be schooled as well. They needed to know how to react if something happens with me, for example having a low blood sugar. They also needed to know how to measure my blood sugar, because I did not do that until I was like nine. But thank God, nothing really scary or big happened during the primary school.
By the time I got to High school, diabetes was just one of my qualities. When we were introducing ourselves (new school, new schoolmates) I just added this small tiny bit of: Oh, and I have diabetes. Haha. I live in a really small town, and back then, there was only two of us, who had diabetes, and people actually did not know what diabetes is. I still live in a same, beautiful small town, with at least 10 people having a diabetes type 1. Here’s your statistics! I was never being bullied or anything over diabetes (there were some other things haha). I was actually a center of attention a lot of times. I even got to use my diabetes as an excuse with oral examinations and writing tests. Well, if I got this chronical disease, why should I not embrace it and use it. It’s gonna be here anyways. My back than two friends knew almost everything about my diabetes (or sometimes even more; when I was drunk and stuff haha). So they were truly amazing friends, who knew how to help, how to predict and how to advise me with my diabetes.
It seems like I am promoting and advertising diabetes on its best version. As much as you can have a normal life there are still a lot of risks that can endanger even my life. The most risky one is Hypoglycemia that refers to dangerously low blood glucose levels. It is a feeling no one can describe. It is like you ran the entire marathon with really bad cold, after a whole night of drinking and taking drugs. And this is not exaggeration. It is probably even worse in reality. When having low sugar, you have to eat something really sweet for blood sugar to level. This can be a problem if you are asleep or really drunk. I have two stories of endangering my life because of hyperglycemia, and let me just sum it up – thank God for my best friend. If it wasn’t for him I might not survive, twice! But this is not a downside of a diabetes. It is a result of me, being stupid. Tho, people have actually died. A high blood sugar is also a risky thing, but you are not endangering yourself at that moment, you will not die because of it. You will only feel sick, bad, everything will hurt, you will be annoyed and if this happens a lot… well you only have like 10 more years to live, because it fucks with your inner organs and messes up everything.