I used to not let anyone know how type one was making me feel; I felt like I couldn't do it. I found myself asking "Why me?" I'd question why I was given type one because it appeared type one was only given to those who could handle it, I couldn't handle it, I thought. I said to myself that I wasn't cut out for being a diabetic. Then again, who is? Who has it instilled in their brain from birth that pricking your finger and artificially replacing a pancreas for the rest of their lives in natural? Absolutely no one. Nobody. So then I started not to feel so bad about not controlling my blood sugar; I began to acknowledge that what I was experiencing was completely normal and actually has a name "diabetes burnout".
I'm not sure of the longest amount of time someone has had a "burnout" but I feel like I could be in the running for the longest. I'm going to say roughly two years. Two years I struggled a lot to control type one. Whenever someone asked me about it I would say "I don't know why I don't do what I'm supposed to, if I knew then I would sort it out" That's the thing, I just had no idea. It was clear I wasn't testing or taking insulin like I am supposed to, but the reasons why were a mystery; to me, they did not exist. Not even the motivation to control my blood sugars existed. It's like being stuck in a vortex, spinning round and round...wondering when you will be able to see straight and find solid ground again.
When I was diagnosed nearly five years ago I took this disease in my stride and I took it like a champ; I don't have memories of feeling down about type one, but I do have a fond memory of a conversation I had with the receptionist at my school when I was half way through Year eight; she said to me "You're taking this really well aren't you?" Yes, yes I was. Maybe it's because I was younger, I hadn't hit my teenage years, I didn't really understand it, I mean, I understood it but not really, not fully. I was yet to experience the emotions my diagnosis would bring, the struggles, the hospital stays...It's safe to say I didn't really expect them, but then again I never expected the positive side either.
But nearly five years later I have experienced them. I have been through them. I now understand it all. I understand more about type one diabetes than I ever thought I would, before I was diagnosed all I knew was that it was something that required insulin injections...and to that extent I believed it would stay. But it didn't, and I am writing this now, with an insulin pump on my hip, a cannula in my stomach and small scabs all over my finger tips from checking my blood sugar, but also memories in my mind of the amazing opportunities that type one diabetes has given me.
And guess what? I am okay. Type one diabetes hasn't dampened my spirit for more than a few days at a time. I will endure many more years of this disease until there is a cure, it has been a rough journey and it will continue to be. But in between all the rough, I have experienced good. I feel like it has shaped me to be the person that I am today; stronger. I have my own life in my hands every single day and handle it. For a very long time I had no control over type one, but now I feel like I do.
I have really taken back the reigns and it feels amazing. Having high blood sugar for a long time I forgot how brilliant it feels to see a normal blood sugar smiling back at me, a stark contrast to a high one screaming back. I feel so much more optimistic about my next Hba1c in March and I am proud of myself. I feel proud for overcoming whatever it was that caused my "diabetes burnout".
I knew I needed to take control, not only for myself but for my parents, my family, my diabetes team, these being all the people who have never given up on me and been there every single step of the way, especially my parents. I can't stress how crucial it is to have a support system when dealing with type one diabetes; I do not know what I would do with out my parents and family. It makes it so much better to know that there are people around who love you and you love them, and know they want the best for you. It makes me even more determined to have good blood sugars.
I feel like first I had to acknowledge the deeper message in the fact that this is my life. The deeper message being to never let anything take charge; I let diabetes control me for a long time but it came to a point where I couldn't let it any more, because type one is just a part of my life; not all that I am.
At clinic the last time my consultant said to me "We'll get there"
I'm getting there.