So July 8th will be my five year diaversary - hard to believe it's been that long! But in a way it hasn't. As some of you know I was misdiagnosed type 2. I knew I had Diabetes by my symptoms and asked for a blood test. It was only a month until I was due to retire and move to Guatemala. I was told I had Type 2 Diabetes and put on several oral meds. I had a single visit with a dietician/cde and I said, "I eat very healthy; I haven't had sugar in 13 years and I'm a vegetarian." She agreed that I probably didn't need to change anything. She was wrong of course; as a vegetarian I ate lots of rice, pasta, potatoes and bread. But I took my meds, ate whatever I wanted, tested a couple times a day and my numbers were good.In general, I was very little affected by my Diabetes. My life was rich and full with my Central American adventure and Diabetes had little impact on me.
Fast forward 15 months and suddenly the stable numbers started going up. My doctor switched my meds around and the numbers still kept going up. I started to realize I needed insulin but didn't know why as I had read that Type 2's could go a decade or longer before needing insulin. I started researching and ended up on TuD. All my research led me to recognize that I was Type 1 (LADA). I had one visit to an endo in Guatemala who had never heard of LADA but confirmed my list of five things that told me I was Type 1.
Once I got clear on my real diagnosis and began my insulin journey everything changed for me. I wasn't upset by being Type 1, I was relieved because it made sense and I could now treat my "real" condition. I learned about carbs and started changing my diet. With no medical guidance to speak of I immersed myself in learning how to manage my type 1 myself. I found this wonderful community and I felt a sense of pride.
When I worked in the AIDS epidemic in the 80s I learned the phrase "People with AIDS" (PWA's); today we use the phrase "People with Diabetes - PWD's". I have always agreed with the idea that saying I'm a person with diabetes (or a person with type 1) is better than saying "I'm a diabetic" because it is not all of who I am. But...there is also that sense of pride. Pride isn't exactly the right word. In Mental Health we talk about a client who has "bought in": they are accepting of their diagnosis and involved in their own treatment..and, therefore they are empowered. There are plenty of diabetics who are not "bought in" - they either ignore their D or do what the doctor says without questioning much. When I thought I was Type 2 I wasn't "bought in". Please understand I'm not making a Type 2/Type 1 breakdown. I think there are people of both types who are bought in and empowered, and people of both types who are not. That's just how it played out for me.
So when I started to think about my upcoming Diaversary I realized it feels more like I began my current journey with D when I started on Insulin and when I determined my correct diagnosis (between February and April 2009 - nearly two years later!). But which date I celebrate my Diaversary isn't that important to me and the first date is as good as any. What is important is the whole idea of identity and being bought in and empowered. So that's the question I have for all of you. Do you feel you are bought in to your D identity? Did that happen right away or was it a process?
Wow, 54 years...a lifetime! Don't know whether to say congrats or I'm sorry. But judging by your pics you're having a wonderful full life despite Type 1, and isn't that what counts!
Zoe, I have done everything that I have ever wanted to do. It has never been in my way. I am an avid hunter and fisherman. Up at 3am and in the woods by 4:30am up the side of mountains. Still doing this today at 57yyoung.
Thanx for the congtrats!!!
My story of acceptance : I bought in .
Going back 29 plus years , realizing something was amiss , visiting GP on a Friday and suggesting to him that I may have diabetes ,Doc asked me to pee into a kidney basin , put a stick into urine and confirmed my suspicion .Following Saturday to the lab , which became a weekly mission .GP put me on medication .Working in a Hospital Food Service setting and being aware of the relationship between food, medication ,exercise and diabetes I decided to continue living with diabetes to the best of my know how .6 Weeks later with no hint of the BG's coming down ...kept on hovering around 250 I asked Doc to put me on insulin . I was hospitalized for 5 days (same hospital where I worked ) to include learning about the insulin process ; received privileges to leave the hospital to continue my daily walks , as long as I reported to the Lab by 4 pm . I attended a Canadian Diabetes Association event spring 1983 at Simon Fraser University, BC and sat in at several group discussions . A start to become involved , getting to know others with diabetes .In the mid eighties I was asked be involved with the planning of an Educational event , including being the Volunteer Chair , attended by well over 300 PWD and educators .A side note : Only today I learned on FB , that Dr. John Hunt , who started 50 years ago CDA's Children Camp Kakhamela in British Columbia , will be the Speaker at the Camp's Anniversary ,as he was at the event I chaired .( from the web : The camp is named after our first Medical Director, Dr. John Hunt Kakamela is a local First Nations word which means the hunt). How appropiate :)
At about the same time ,I was a member of the Nominating Committee for the AGM and lo and behold nominated hubby , who was voted in as Director with the BC CDA Provincial Executive , a job he did till his work commitments took up too much of his time .
My job in the Lower mainland ended, when we moved to the Shuswap in 1999 ; I did stay connected with CDA because I always felt they had something to share and I wanted to learn more ; diabetes was not going away .In my view, having taken the first initial steps at diagnosis , now almost 30 years later , participating with Team Diabetes across the globe and in my province I am looking forward to my next event in my home country , the Netherlands , October 2013 and will smile walking/running by the College I went to in Amsterdam, 1960 ....possibly a few tears as well .
I do get hooked by my BG results at times( hubby thinks too often )...and I get off it , after I do some serious self talk ... but here to say happily: No known complications.
Thanks so much, Nel, for sharing your story. You indeed were very much bought in from the start, during a time when that wasn't so easy to do!
Zoe , thank you :)...there is diabetes in the family gene pool ; from Dad's side his Mother( my Grandma ), his Sister( my Aunt ) her Daughter( my cousin ),all passed on , my Brother , who was diagnosed after I was . Our Mom ,living in the Netherlands who passed away in 1972( cancer ) received from her Medical Team a message late 1970 ( ??) ,that she had diabetes which was recinded shortly after...could have been due to other meds she was taken at the time ? ...I never found out the reason ...
Wow! You didn't just buy in, you paid in, donating yourself to organizations like that! Way to go Nel!
AC , my friend ...and all the fantastic folks I have met!! I must thank my Parents for showing me to get involved , even at a young age , after the war ...did "door knocking" as a kid mainly for the Red Cross .When we moved to the Shuswap and did not know anyone here ( 1999) it was a given to show up at the local Animal Shelter as well ..scooping poop is really not all that bad...ask me :)
Prior to my diagnosis (3/12/12), I already had a lot of experience with D because my dad had T1. He had frequent episodes of hypoglycemia and had hypoglycemia unawareness. From a very young age, I had to pitch in and help save his life many times. There were also times when he put my life at risk by driving low.
When my symptoms began, I ignored them, telling myself that I was probably pre-diabetic and if I just stopped eating sugar, the symptoms would go away. I felt weak and tired, lost lots of weight, and was always thirsty and had to pee. I knew I was in bad health, but I didn’t want to deal with it. Finally I got a BG screening at a health fair, and the nurse told me my sugar was 410 and I should see a doctor ASAP.
My diagnosis was devastating, in part because I had to deal with all the emotions it brought up for my family. It was also a turning point in how I take care of myself, as I’m determined to prevent any more d-related trauma for myself and my loved ones. However, I know that complete control is unrealistic and at some point I will need help from people in my life. My dx has helped me to realize that my physical and emotional health matter every day. D motivates me to focus on my long-term health and to try to enjoy my life every day. I have totally bought into my D identity, and am even thinking about becoming a CDE someday.
You would probably make a great CDE, Rennie, and also a good counselor for family members because you understand what things feel like from both ends!
Thanks for your support, Zoe! I am finding it really meaningful to read about the range of experiences on this forum, and the different ways D does and doesn't have an impact on each of our identities.
It's been interesting to read everybody's stories. I think my acceptance came in a few shifts: After getting over the original shock of diagnosis (LADA/T1), I quickly started to embrace it because I could see how the meds, diet, and exercise made me feel so much better. Yet I was leery of the insulin. Asking for insulin when it was finally needed was definitely the next big shift. But the thing that makes me think I've fully bought in at this point is that I just had my first diabetes dream the other night. OK, nightmare, but still.... (Dreamt that I was at a huge banquet and the only thing I could carb-count for was mini-bagels which was bad enough but then the only fat or protein the waitstaff could find was moldy cream cheese. Dreams - go figure) I think once you're having diabetic dreams, you may be all in :)