#DBlogWeek-Message Monday

I can’t make you understand. I can’t make you empathize. I certainly can’t make you care.

But I can try.

I can speak up for myself. I can turn my hurt into something productive.

I can be strong even when it’s hard.

How could I miss #DBlogWeek?! I’m one day behind, but I’ll consolidate this weekend’s posts in order to fit them all in. Even though today is Tuesday, I will be doing Message Monday’s topic today.

Prompt: What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog?

I’ve always struggled with effectively writing about my Type 1 Diabetes. I am a positive person overall, and I want to reflect that in my words; however, I don’t want to dismiss the severity and negative aspects of this disease either. I never knew how big of a deal Type 1 Diabetes is until I was diagnosed, so I feel it is part of my responsibility to educate others the way I had to educate myself. It helps me feel like I’m doing something helpful and productive with a bad situation. Coming up with a good balance in the way I speak about my T1 will probably always be a debacle for me. Some posts are cheerier than others, I suppose. Well y’all, today, and this week, I will be keepin’ it super real. Love it, hate it; it’s the honest, raw truth regardless.

Promoting the awareness of diabetes is exhausting most of the time, honestly. Primarily because there are so many mistruths and such falsified, long-perpetuated myths circulated about diabetes in our culture. Such widespread false information has somewhere down the line turned into frequent {untrue} hurtful jokes, just about everywhere you turn. {For more of my unfiltered thoughts on diabetes jokes, click here.}

“Are you trying to give me diabetes or just make me fat?” -The Vow

“Take a shot of insulin and have a nap!” -The Office

“Someday when we open our own inn, diabetics will line up to eat this sauce.” -Gilmore Girls

Here is my diabetes awareness message for you, in bulleted form:

  • My diabetes was not caused by any lifestyle or health factors. I simply developed it because my granddaddy had it and my cousin has it; it runs in my family. Prior to my diagnosis, I weighed too little for my height, I ran every day and ate well. In short: my pancreas stopped working. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease, meaning my body essentially attacked itself and, therefore, shut down my pancreas {for lack of a better explanation.} I no longer possess the ability to create and produce beta cells. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything I did wrong. It happened to me, I didn’t bring it upon myself in any way, shape or form. 
  • My diabetes is in no way reversible. My body has completely lost the ability to produce insulin; therefore, I must inject insulin manually {through an injection or pump} in order to stay alive. No amount of kale or running will stimulate my insulin production, because I simply do not possess this capability. In most Type 2 Diabetics {not all; everyone is different}, they have the ability to produce insulin with the help of medication and healthy choices, but their ability is slowed and hindered {meaning: insulin-resistant.} I am completely insulin-dependent, meaning I depend on my manually injected insulin to survive since I cannot produce it at all on my own. I do not have the cells required to do so.
  • I can literally eat whatever I want, whenever I want, I just have to know the amount of carbohydrates in it so that I know the dosage of insulin that I need to administer {that’s right; it’s all about carbs, and not at all about sugar.} I could eat an entire funnel cake plus a half gallon of ice cream and be completely fine, as long as I gave the correct amount of insulin to “cover” those carbs. I would never do that because I value my body and my health, and I actually enjoy eating healthy food. But the point is that I can if I want. I can eat a whole pizza. I also can eat a salad. I can eat whatever I want, just like you; I just choose to eat healthy because I enjoy it.
  • I can do everything exactly perfect, yet still experience difficulty, sickness, or even death. That’s “the nature of the beast,” it seems. I’ve heard that phrase a lot this year with my many hospitalizations due to T1D that resulted in no answers. Because I have an essentially dead vital organ, it makes things pretty unpredictable. Even if I’m dosing perfectly and counting carbs exactly, I still can have unexplainable highs or lows just due to how this disease functions and how my body handles it. 

All of this to say that my diabetes awareness message is: this disease is not self-inflicted in any way and it’s more brutal than you think. Too often I hear people saying “it’s manageable.” Most of the people who say that don’t even have T1D. And it’s true that sometimes it’s manageable. But not without extreme worry, stress, and maticulous planning. And even so, it can all go awry at the drop of a hat. 

However, I’m still alive. I wake up every day to fight & cheat death. My body may be broken, but my spirit? Titanium.