An Indian Woman’s Journey with Type 1 Diabetes


 

We are celebrating 70th Independence Day this year — 70 years of the precious freedom we earned. All over social media I have been reading posts about it. But today I am going to share with all of you something regarding my own battle for freedom, which I now know and fully understand how precious and much needed it is.

November 2, 2014 is the day when my life changed completely. I was ill and so I was taken to the hospital to have my blood tested. The results changed my life completely. When my blood sugar test was done, the reading came back at 395. It was tested again, just to confirm, and then read 400. I was admitted in the hospital that very minute. Frankly speaking, I was really clueless as to what was happening.

The next four days in the hospital were full of needles. What I remember today of those days is only the pricking and piercing of the needles. I was diagnosed with ‘Type 1 Late Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults’ (LADA).

At 24 years old, lying there in the hospital bed, I was unaware of this storm which would have a permanent stay in my life however much I wanted it to end. It would never go away though.

The reality hit me when the doctor came on the day of my discharge to demonstrate to me how to take insulin on my own with the help of an insulin pen. In short, how to prick and pierce myself with needles everyday. He told me in simple language, “You can’t forget taking insulin as you can’t forget to breath.”

The finality of the situation dawned upon me at that moment and I decided, “This is it! I am going to be strong — I am going to fight it out and I am not going to let diabetes get the better of me. If I have to live with it, I will live a life with happiness, positivity and normalcy. I will never ever give up. One day I will be sugar-free. It’s a promise I have made to myself and I am working towards making that promise a reality. Most people are not aware of what Type 1 diabetes is. I wasn’t aware until my diagnosis.

Firstly, Type 1 diabetes is not a disease but an autoimmune disorder caused from the destruction of the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. It can happen to anyone at any time. It is because our body, our pancreas so-to-say stopped cooperating. It used to be known as “juvenile diabetes” because small children were diagnosed with it, but adults are as well. The cause for it is unknown. It is not genetic. It takes constant vigilance to manage – it’s a continuous battle.

At the start, it really used to hurt. Every time the needle found its way into my body it used to hurt, but I’d say to myself, “One count less to the unknowns.” Many times there is blood, bruises and blackening of skin. I really get tired sometimes because of the fluctuations my blood sugars go through. I get mentally tired because I have to be alert all the time too. I have to think twice before eating anything. It gets tiresome to manage.

Sometimes negativity engulfs me, but what keeps me going is hope. I have held on to it dearly. What made me hold on to this hope is I have seen little kids trying to deal with it. All these young kids give me strength and are an inspiration for me to face each day.

Unfortunately for me, diabetes didn’t come alone; it came with another companion called listhesis, again a rare condition. I had a real hard time with this. The back ache made life hell. By God’s grace I am in a much better position where I can do things independently. The road, no doubt was tough, difficult and uncertain at best. What was the most difficult was seeing my family go through the hell of my diagnosis as we all are together in this journey. It killed me everyday to see my family suffer due to my sufferings. But I am not someone to sit back and cry. I will never give up.

The main purpose behind writing about this is not about my battle against Type 1 diabetes, but mainly to raise awareness about it.

I know how hard it is to fight for the freedom that you deserve and which is your right so I won’t quit nor will I ever give up. After all my country has taught me this, no matter how hard it may seem or how much worse the situation gets, never give up! I know a day will come when I, along with thousands of others, will be free from diabetes. And that freedom will be full of sweetness.


Read “I Have the Sugars” — Being Diagnosed with Diabetes in India by Siddharth Sharma.

WRITTEN BY Pranjali Valsangkar, POSTED 09/09/16, UPDATED 02/02/18

Pranjali Valsangkar is from Pune, Maharashtra, India. She's been living with Type 1 diabetes and listhesis for two years. She hopes to educate others about Type 1 diabetes and aspires to live a full life without T1D holding her back. You can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pranjali.valsangkar, on Twitter @PranjaliValsang and on Instagram @pranjalivalsangkar.