The emotions involved in having diabetesType 1 Diabetes 14 November 2015
In the month of November, extra attention is asked for diabetes. There is a collection in November and the media also ask for extra attention. Today, Saturday November 14, it is World Diabetes Day. It feels strange, but it does feel like we’re all connected all over the world. I’d also like to ask for some extra attention, not because I’m looking for more understanding or kind words, but because the disease, especially type 1 diabetes, is still unknown to some or is very much underestimated. Therefore I would like to share my emotions, which I experience or have experienced in the past seven months since my diagnosis.
The emotions I experience with type 1 diabetes
Because from the first day after my diagnosis, I took responsibility and didn’t bury my head in the sand. I could have spent weeks in bed sick with grief and secretly I expected that to happen, but it did not. Of course, I also have my bad moments, but I am proud that I handled it all in a mature and rational way.
Because on the one hand, I want to be ‘the tough cookie’, the girl who doesn’t give up and just gets on with her life. On the other hand, I often pretend to feel better than I actually do. Sometimes I feel the need to get in the car, drive to an empty beach and scream at the top of my lungs. Just screaming. All those emotions. The blind panic I sometimes feel. The tears I sometimes laugh away. My sad look that I turn into a smile from one moment to the next when someone asks if everything is alright. Are you OK? Yes, of course I am!
Because in the past few months I have met many dear people who also have diabetes, both online and in real life. It is a terrible disease, but luckily I am not alone. Despite the fact that you may have never seen each other in real life, you feel an enormous connection because you understand each other and are all in the same situation.
Very afraid. Because I know what can happen. It’s not just the possible long-term complications that scare me, but also the unpredictability. What if I don’t wake up one night during a sugar low? What if my blood glucose suddenly drops significantly while I’m driving? I try to avoid the thoughts and not dwell on them too much, but they are there…
Because my body made a mistake. But also because I sometimes experience a lack of understanding. The people who think it’s all right and find it necessary to share that with me or make jokes about it. “Oh well, it’s fine to live with, it’s not like you have cancer or something…”. – That doesn’t make it any less difficult for me.
This is the reality
Today, I have been aware for 206 days that I have diabetes. In the meantime, I have lost count of the number of hypo’s I have had. As far as hypo’s during the night are concerned, I’m now down to about fifteen. That means that on average every two weeks I’m shivering on the couch in the middle of the night, drinking ice tea and eating a sultana and dextro.
On average, I prick my finger seven times a day. At the moment, that equals 1,442 (!!) pricks. Because I have got used to it, I also notice that I prick my right fingers less and less. As a result, the spots remain visible. Eventually they will go away, but it takes time. In addition to the finger pricks, I inject insulin for all meals. On average, I inject it about four times a day. That is equivalent to 824 insulin injections in my tummy, as shown in the first photo, or in my leg before going to bed. And to think that these figures, which I personally find quite high, are nothing compared to someone who already has it for years…