I sat on the edge of the chair in my doctor’s examination room staring down at the pile of prescriptions in my lap. I was still trying to fully understand what was happening.
My world had changed in what seemed like an instant.
The symptoms were all there: weight loss, extreme thirst, hair loss and a bunch of other stuff you wouldn’t want broadcast over social media. If it weren’t for my vision changing, I might have thought those were side effects of distance running. Type 1 diabetes was the farthest thing from my mind.
“You’re still going to run aren’t you?” The words from my doctor jolted me back into the moment. He was referring to the half marathon I had spent weeks training for. It was a mere 67 hours away. I nodded. He sighed, smiled, shook his head, then urged me to proceed with caution while offering a slew of suggestions to prep for the race so I could keep my levels safe while running.
I drove home with a backseat buried in new boxes of insulin, syringes, lancets, test strips, ketone sticks and a glucose meter, trying to piece together what was happening. The life-changing diagnosis I had just received was surreal. But I realized that I had a choice. I could freak out, go home and become a slave to this disease OR I could show this disease who’s really in charge. I could become bigger and stronger because of it. The answer was clear: KICK IT’S ASS.
Two and a half days after my diagnosis I ran in the race I had trained for, but it was so much more than a race. It was a statement. A stand. An affirmation. I have type 1 diabetes. I take medicine every day to stay alive. I monitor my blood glucose levels closely and I count every carbohydrate that I put in my body. I cover carbs by injecting insulin several times a day while taking into account my current blood sugars, activity level, the time of day and sometimes the time of the month. I have T1D, but I am much more than just someone with the disease.
I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a runner, a yoga teacher, a farm manager, a music lover, a nature lover and an overall abundant lover of life. None of that was going to change. In fact, it could only get better. I decided that day that I would not let T1D control my life in any WAY, SHAPE or FORM.
If given the choice, would I have ever chosen this disease? No way. If given the choice, would I give T1D away? And lose the strength, knowledge and perspective I have gained? NO. WAY.
Diabetes has taught me to believe, TRULY believe, that LIFE IS A FLEETING, PRECIOUS, BEAUTIFUL GIFT! I was given a second chance. One hundred years ago I would not have been so lucky. T1D pushes me to pursue things I had only dreamed of. It beckons me to continually step outside my comfort zone, pouring my heart and soul into things I believe in. I am now fully aware of the power of the present moment, choosing to live life one day at time while striving to do the best that I can every day.
I’m not going to lie. It’s not sunshine, daisies, rainbows and unicorns ALL the time. I get frustrated, tired and angry. There are times when I feel like I need to pour myself a glass of wine just to change out my infusion site. Being diagnosed with Type1 WAS life changing. But I still wouldn’t trade the things this disease has taught me, because it has made me the person I am today. And I am truly blessed.