Type-1 Diabetes is an extremely weird condition. Think about it for a moment… Your body produces insulin, which is carried through your bloodstream by particular cells. Then, all of a sudden, your immune system decides that these cells are a no-no and begins attacking them. The subsequent result is your pancreas finally throws up its hands and says “Fuck you, too! guess I’ll stop trying…” Although this typically takes place within the first four to six years of a child’s life, prompting the original misnomer of “Juvenile Diabetes,” it can also occur in adults, depending on some conditions.
Once you’ve been properly diagnosed with type-1 Diabetes, your life dramatically changes. All of a sudden, you need to monitor and calculate everything your body takes in. You need to test your blood several times a day and you need to administer injections of artificial insulin since your body no longer produces its own and even if it did, your body’s immune system would just shoot the messenger, anyway. It can be a very chaotic balance of do and don’t that most people have significant issues maintaining.
Although the average layman is inclined to think, “What’s the big deal? Just stay away from sugar and you’ll be fine…” No, no Kyle! I won’t. As I learned the hard way, almost a decade ago, it’s about more than sugar. It involves carbohydrates as a whole, which as some of you may be aware, is a primary fuel source for the human body. Once again, a chaotic balance.And considering this year marks four decades with this condition for me, if you do the math properly, I haven’t carb-counted for the majority of my life, making my overall control all that much more difficult.
During my childhood, it wasn’t unusual if I was hungry to be given crackers. No big deal, right? Crackers aren’t cookies; they aren’t SUGARED. A glass of milk if fine, if I was thirsty. After all, milk isn’t juice and isn’t SUGARED. FML… the amount of damage that was done to my system during my childhood is immeasurable. It’s no wonder I was such a moody kid and had so many damaged relationships. And even WITH carb-counting, it gets pretty convoluted. For example, every loaf of bread has a slightly different carb-count, making the consumption of a sandwich a fun guessing game of either taking too much or too little insulin and dealing with THAT fallout. Fun, right?
The thing is, having Type-1 Diabetes, living with it and managing it is a life-long commitment. And you can’t be halfway in; it’s gotta be all or nothing. Don’t even get me started on the fact that you need to be physically active in order to promote good blood circulation, better overall health and positive blood sugar readings. That’s why it often irks me when people look at me and refuse to acknowledge that I live an incurable condition that I fight. Every. Fuckin’. Day.
The second-to-worse part is when someone tells me “it could be worse.” I think that’s one of the worst things you can tell ANYONE with a medical condition. Getting shot with a .40 caliber bullet will make a larger hole than a .22 caliber, but I that doesn’t mean I want to get shot by either. The same concept applies to someone’s medical condition. Is it true that I could be afflicted with far worse and detrimental conditions? Absolutely. It doesn’t mean the one I live with is easy.
The hardest part is that my hard work and commitment acts against me. Because I focus on my physical health and control of Diabetes, people assume that my condition isn’t that bad. The truth and reality is that my conditions isn’t that bad BECAUSE I do all of those things. It’s a delicate house of cards that will crash without remorse, the moment I stop or let my guard down. And as a closing thought, if anyone is ever curious about something related to Diabetes, just ask. Most of us will be willing to explain. Food for thought…☯️