Imagine being told you weren't going to survive? That the only way you could stay alive for just a little, would be to starve yourself? Can you believe that it wasn't that long ago that this was the life of a diabetic?
I was diagnosed March 13th 2009 in Canada. I was hospitalized for five days and sent to the pharmacy afterwards to gather all of the supplies I needed to keep myself alive. I wasn't told that I would have to starve to survive nor was I told I had only a certain time to live. Instead, I was sent home without defeat, more so optimism that it was a treatable disease and it wasn't going to be that bad. Of course I had and still have my days when I wish diabetes wasn't given to me. I'd wish it on my worst enemies, but then again, they don't deserve the disease that makes you realize how strong of a person you are - that is what diabetes did for me.
When I tell people I have diabetes, they often let out that sympathetic 'awe' which usually ends up in me explaining how diabetes has in some way changed my life for the better and made me a better person. Then the response is a strange, 'oh?' I realized quickly that diabetes was not going to go away, so I needed to do something about it in the meantime. Yes, I could have done something like became an amazing athlete or turned onto a vegan diet, instead I just began writing my pancreas away and expressing how diabetes has changed me as a person in all ways imaginable.
Things that would have been foreign before like what a good blood sugar number is or what an insulin pump is, is now my honours specialization you could say. I know everything about my diabetes and what diabetes means to me. It has given me something to talk about that is for sure, and really has given me incredible opportunities. I wish that somehow I would have realized how amazing life can be, how much I can achieve and how unique I truly am without being diagnosed with diabetes, but then I think to myself, diabetes was my gift or kick in the pants to teach me that life lesson, and now it's my turn to kick other people in the pants to believe in themselves through my blog and speaking.
Despite the positive things diabetes has given me, I'd love not to know how many carbs are in random food items or what insulin smells like. I'd love to not have to give myself needles, refill my insulin pump, explain what I am doing when I check my blood sugar and never have to worry about what that doughnut is going to do to my blood sugar. Wouldn't it be nice to live so carefree?
Instead, on World Diabetes Day (a day I knew nothing about 4 years ago) I am wearing blue, heading to Banting's House (the man that saved my life) and eating cake with other diabetics and friends. I will be checking my blood sugar, giving myself insulin and worrying about blood sugars the entire day, just like any other day. Diabetes may be in the blue spotlight tomorrow, but for those living with diabetes, it's a constant celebration that we're alive, not starving, but planning out futures and doing amazing things.
So today for World Diabetes Day, wear blue, support diabetes, give a diabetic a hug and remember life is amazing, you can achieve many things and you are truly unique!