Our latest guest blogger is Chloe. She’s been living with type 1 diabetes for almost 12 years and was recently awarded Myabetic’s Diabetes Awards for sharing Confidence & Individuality with the Diabetes Community. Today, she talks us through the lessons she has learnt from living with diabetes.
By Chloe @chloe.type1
Hello! My name is Chloe and I have been living with type 1 diabetes for almost 12 years. I was diagnosed on 31st December 2009 at the age of 8. Over the years, I have learnt so much from my condition. It has helped to shape me into the person I am today. It’s really true that I would not be the person I am today without my diabetes diagnosis and the lessons I’ve learnt from it.
Diabetes definitely isn’t always easy, but I believe that the challenges we face can be an opportunity for us to get to know ourselves more, challenge ourselves and make us into a better person!
So I have decided to share with you some lessons that I have learnt through living with diabetes…
Numbers don’t define you.
We are surrounded by numbers in every aspect of life. Sorting our finances, cooking a meal, the scales, nutrition on food packaging, and so much more. But when you live with diabetes, being surrounded by numbers brings on a whole new meaning. We are constantly checking our blood glucose levels, counting carbohydrates in the food and drink we have and making decisions on our insulin dosing. It can quickly consume you and make you feel very overwhelmed, when it feels like there is no escape and not even a break from the numbers. It’s very easy to become obsessed by each number, especially with technology like CGMs where you are getting data every 5 minutes.
I’ve definitely fallen victim to the constant checking, trying to stay in control of a very uncontrollable condition. Of course CGM data is so helpful in diabetes management, but it can make me feel like I have to be in constant control of those numbers and if I’m not, I have failed in some way. But it really is just a number; a piece of information that you can use to make the best decisions on how to manage your condition. Those numbers do not show our worth and we are so much more than those numbers!
Be proud to be different.
In our society, being different isn’t always celebrated. Having a disability definitely isn’t. I find this way of thinking so wrong and so damaging. Disabilities don’t make anyone any ‘less’ than they would be without that disability. Diabetes is an invisible illness. However, there are devices a person living with diabetes can wear that makes their condition ‘visible’. I have been on an insulin pump for 10 years, and have been using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) for 3. Diabetes instantly becomes visible when wearing these devices and it can be scary. You worry what others will think of you.
But being different isn’t a bad thing at all.
Not many people can say they’re “part robot”, but put these devices on and you can, which is pretty cool! I also find wearing my pump and CGM allows people to ask questions that they otherwise wouldn’t ask, so it’s a great opportunity to educate them about diabetes. Spreading awareness of my condition is very important to me, so I’m so grateful that my devices allow me to do that too! Hopefully society’s views and knowledge about invisible illnesses will grow and improve the more we talk openly about it. Next time you feel nervous about going out with your devices on show, wear them with pride, because being different is one of the best things about you!
We hope you enjoyed our latest blog. If you have a story about your diabetes journey, or diabetes lessons you would like to share, get in touch with us at [email protected]