Friday, June 19, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Welcome to my world. My name is Kelly and I am a Type 1 Diabetic. I have been a Diabetic for the better part of my life. In fact, I barely remember what life is like NOT being a diabetic. How sad is that?
Now I've decided to share my sweet thoughts with the world. Or my sugar free thoughts because not everything here will be sweet. Lucky you. :) I promise the 'sweet' thing won't last forever. It's just making me laugh as I am creating this website.
I am not an Endocrinologist nor am I Diabetic Educator. I am not a health professional in any way, shape or form. I am better. I am the one who has this disease. Lucky me. :) I am the one that knows this disease. I am the one who lives with this disease...every day, every hour, every minute, every second. I am not going to sing rainbows & butterflies every day. I am not going to moan the blues every day either. I am just going to express my thoughts honestly, as random as they may be, and give you a glimpse into what life is like for me.
Who am I? I am a voice that is unfaltering. I am a charm that is rare. I am a humor that is robust. I am an intelligence that is uncommon. I am a laughter that is boisterous. I am a strength that is tenacious. I am a sensitivity that is private. I am a woman, mother, daughter, friend and lover first. I am a diabetic...second.
Here is my story. I hope that you not only enjoy your stay but find some fabulous information regarding Diabetes. If you feel that you may be displaying any of the symptons that I discuss or are having difficulty managing your diabetes, please contact your physician as soon as possible. The life you save may be yours...or mine. Not many people have a wealth of knowledge regarding Diabetes, Type 1 or otherwise. If you don’t have it yourself, or have someone in your life that has this disease, why would you be an expert on it? You wouldn’t. It’s that simple. I certainly wasn't. I was a senior in high school, 1986, 17 years old…God, that year sucked. I, of course, didn’t know I was sick. Neither did anyone else, even though I had all the classic signs.
  • I was the moodiest thing on the planet, I promise you. The moodiest. I suppose that was chalked up to me being a ‘teenager’. I mean, isn’t all behavior bad between 13 & 19? haha! Seriously, I would be laughing one moment, crying the next. Kids at school started to expect my tears. In fact, my yearbook is filled with comments such as 'Will you ever stop crying?' 'Stop crying!'
  • I was suicidal. I literally would be driving around in the middle of the night thinking of ways to end my life. Those moments were rare, but they were there.
  • I was tired...all the time. I thought it was because of school, cheer and the party life. I couldn't sleep enough or eat enough or drink enough either.
  • I would pee 1000 times a day. These were the longest pee breaks of my life. I remember getting out of bed to go to the bathroom one night and falling asleep on the toilet. That’s how long I peed. haha!
  • I was a stick figure. 5'8, 95 pounds. I would estimate that 1 out of every 2 people would ask me if I had an eating disorder. I laughed at first. But, the more I heard the accusation, the more I thought about my insatiable thirst and hunger.
I remember going to this party, I don’t remember where or who I was with, but I do remember drinking so much that I passed out. I am Irish and German. I am bred to handle my liquor…even at the illegal age of 17! This was different. I don’t remember who woke me up, or how I got home. I can only hope & imagine it was my boyfriend. The next day I called my mom and told her something was really wrong with me. I told her that I thought I had an eating disorder because that’s what everyone was saying at school. She took me to the doctor for some testing.
I was at school a few days later when my mom called. I left class with a smug look and a silent laugh thinking I was free for the day. I walked into the office, picked up the phone and heard ‘You have Diabetes.’ I had no idea what Diabetes was but knew it was bad. I heard it and felt it in every fiber of my being. I fainted. I woke up in the Principal’s Office with my mom standing over me. Next thing I knew I was checking into the hospital for a week long stay.
Type 1 Diabetes. (formerly known as Juvenile Diabetes):
In short, T1D is an autoimmune disease. It is responsible for attacking the insulin producing beta cells in ones pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar into energy.T1D sufferers will eventually die without insulin treatment. Some believe it’s hereditary, some believe it’s a lack in vitamins, some believe it’s caused from chemicals or other medications, some have no idea. I say the latter is closest to the truth. To date, there is not a full understanding of the disease. There is no prevention, there is no cure. There are only hopes and wishes of both.
Type 1 is different from Type 2. It is also different from the recently discovered Type 1.5. However, 1.5 is more closely related to 1…poor things.
Here are some stats taken from the American Diabetes Association:
Diabetes is a chronic disease that has no cure. There are an estimated 23.6 million children and adults in the United States, or 7.8% of the population, who have diabetes. While an estimated 17.9 million have been diagnosed, unfortunately, 5.7 million people are not aware that they have the disease. 57 million people have pre-diabetes.
Diabetes is the fifth-deadliest disease in the United States. Since 1987 the death rate due to diabetes has increased by 45 percent, while the death rates due to heart disease, stroke, and cancer have declined.
Based on death certificate data, diabetes contributed to 233619 deaths in 2005. Studies indicate that diabetes is generally under-reported on death certificates, particularly in the cases of older persons with multiples chronic conditions such as heart disease and hypertension. Because of this, the toll of diabetes is believed to be much higher than officially reported.
You can find further information online regarding Diabetes, tons of it, actually. Here are some recommended sites:
So..have I scared that cupcake out of your hand yet? :)
I always call Diabetes ‘The Silent Killer’. One look at me tells you I am a healthy, happy, lively, 40 year old. Well…for the most part anyway. haha! I truly believe 90% of the people in school had no idea that I was sick, had a deadly disease, stayed in the hospital or returned 10 pounds heavier with needles and snacks in my bag. That’s right. One week of insulin and I gained 10 pounds. I had gotten so used to feeling like shit that I didn’t know how to handle feeling ok. Then I had my first episode.
Low blood sugar (Hypoglycemia) can result from skipping a meal or snack, too much physical activity, stress, too much insulin, illness, drinking alcohol, sleeping…sex!! *gasp* Your blood sugar drops from the normal range of 80-120 and the results could lead to death or a coma. Fun. Here are a few clues that a Diabetic needs to eat…and quickly.
  • extreme hunger
  • shakiness or tremors
  • rapid heart rate
  • cold sweat
  • ashen skin color (a pale, gray skin color)
  • headache
  • moodiness or crankiness/irritability
  • drowsiness
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • unsteadiness/staggering when walking
  • blurred or double vision
  • confusion
  • seizures or convulsions
  • loss of consciousness
The polar opposite, high blood sugar (Hyperglycemia) is a danger zone, too. Though out of the two, I’d choose Hyper. I can treat that one. Here are some signs of stuffing your face or pretty much any of the above sex….*gasp*:
  • increased thirst
  • headaches
  • difficulty concentrating
  • blurred vision
  • frequent urination
  • fatigue
  • weight loss
Wow…and I wonder why I am still single. Talk about baggage!! So, while insulin helps me to live…it is not a cure nor does it prevent complications. Unfortunately, even if I did everything right, every day, for the entire time that I have this disease, I could still end up with these lovely treats:
  • Heart disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Kidney disease
  • Retinopathy
  • Foot disease
  • Skin conditions
  • Mouth conditions
  • Osteoporosis
Diabetes basically and eventually can cause damage to all the blood vessels, nerves, and organ systems in the body. Yay!!! Whew.
Now that you have some information, I hope this will help you understand what I will continue to babble about. Should you have any questions or not understand something I write, please send me a message/comment and I will definitely respond. Sorry this all sounds so negative but it is a disease. Though I’m not typically a doomsayer, I definitely have my ‘why me’ and ‘life isn’t fair’ moments. I hope you won’t think less of me. I have been fighting for 23 years. I’m strong and will continue to fight until ‘The Silent Killer’ takes me before my time. That would be approximately 10 years too early. I just hope it's later rather than sooner. Stupid Diabetes. In the meantime, I will enjoy my life and live it to the fullest possible effect. I will love fully, laugh wholeheartedly and enjoy my one time ride on this sweeeeeeeeeet rollercoaster called life.

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