Since it's Thanksgiving Day, and it's the time of year I generally like to count my blessings more than usual, I wanted to make this post all about my gratitude for Type 1 Diabetes and the impact it's had on my life.
That may sound a little strange, because having any ongoing health "situation" isn't necessarily awesome. But I'm one for looking for the silver lining. So here goes.
I secretly like having a disease that most people don't understand or even know about. I feel special and I feel smart. I know a lot more about how food, stress, exercise, hormones, etc effect my body than most people do. I'm doing calculations throughout the day,everyday. And all that calculating keeps me sharp.
I make healthy choices all the time, just because I know how it all effects my blood sugars. I rarely over indulge (food or drink-wise) and I'm active a good amount of each day. Somedays, I don't necessarily feel like running or going on a long walk, but because of my diabetes, I just make myself. And then, I'm alway glad I did. I've often thought I'm probably healthier because I have diabetes, all things considered.
I'm so grateful for insulin. Although I had a big fear of needles as a kid, I got over that pretty quickly when I realized my alternative if I didn't take multiple daily shots for the rest of my life. These days, the shots don't bother me one single bit. Shots seem to be a more-than-fair trade off for staying alive. I know there are plenty of people with far worse diseases out there that wish they had it so good.
In the past couple of years, my interest in my blood sugar control has become more extreme- bordering on obsession- thanks to Dexcom. Seeing what my blood sugars do throughout the day and night leave me with no reason to ever let things stay in a bad range for too long. I told my husband the other day that it's sort of fun- like some strange and challenging game. Just when I think I have it all figured out, something goes wrong and I have to try again. And weirdly, I like that. I guess I just like a good challenge and diabetes provides that.
I also love that I have a disease that I'm pretty much in charge of. I don't have to wait for my doctor to advise me on what to do, ever. I switch things up all the time and honestly I feel like I know more than most endocrinologists do. I can't necessarily explain how it all works as well as a good medical doctor can, but intrinsically, I know how my body reacts to things, and I know how to make adjustments when things get "off".
So seriously- Like I said, I'm thankful. I knew nothing about Type 1 Diabetes prior to my diagnosis over 20 years ago. But now, I'm an expert. And even better, I still continue to learn knew things about it all the time. And I'm still interested and challenged by it after all these years. Sounds like a pretty good marriage to me.
Happy Thanksgiving, to my beloved Type 1.