Raising My Voice/Invisible Illness - Half of my life, but I don't remember it any other way

(I posted this on my Facebook today for Invisible Illness Week)

December 3, 1999 - I was 11 years old at my pediatrition’s with a blood sugar of 365. I knew it had something to do with how thirsty I had been and I thought all I needed was some medicine and I’d be better. Instead I went straight to the hospital and spent three days hooked up to “Fred” (the IV), talking to doctors, dietitians, nurses, diabetes educators, and watching TV. My Doctor, Dr. Zeller, even let me give HIM a saline shot in his arm. I went to the hospital a normal little girl and I left the hospital a normal little girl, with Type 1 Diabetes.

I was not fat. I did not eat crappy food. I DID NOT do this to myself.

Three shots a day, I did two of them myself. My mom would wake up to check my blood and give me my NPH and R shot half an hour before I actually needed to get up at eat. I knew how to mix the NPH with the R so they wouldn’t mix in the bottle, I knew how to use the calculator to figure out how much insulin to give myself for the carbohydrates I was going to eat plus the amount to correct for a high blood sugar. I even got a BabyG watch! So I could set the alarms to remind me to check my blood and eat my snacks. I knew how to tell my friends I couldn’t go to the movies with them on Friday nights because it overlapped with my evening shot and snack time. I knew that I couldn’t even eat sugarfree candy because it still has carbs (although it was a nice thought from relatives).

All of this by eleven years.

In 8th grade I got an insulin pump. It was bright blue. Everyone thought it was pretty cool and I was not as embarrassed anymore. I finally was not sneaking out into the hall to check my blood, give my shots, and eat my snack. No one ever gave me a hard time. I could go to the movies and eat everything I wanted. My life was pretty easy going. Good blood work, good control of my numbers, camp in the summer and I never had to think, more than twice, maybe three times.

Today, no one really notices. I don’t hide it, but it’s not something anyone really wants to flaunt. You might notice me check my blood, drinking a Juicy Juice, or see my pump, which I keep in a pocket most of the time. I don’t look different, I don’t act different (maybe, I guess…), I am not sick, I am not dying. I CAN eat sugar, carbs, and I can have a beer. As long as I check my blood and give myself the correct amount of insulin. I am not a stout old person who gets their supplies from Liberty Medical. I actually get everything I need from one of the leading medical companies in the world, they do the most research and make huge advances every year. I get the newest technology when it comes out.

I now am using a Medtronic Paradigm 522 Insulin Pump with a Continuous Glucose Monitoring System. This means I always have two separate devices hooked up to me. My insulin delivered by a cannula (little tube under the skin) and also the sensor (small, flat piece of metal under the skin: I know, that one even still grosses me out). It makes me go crazy sometimes (a lot actually), but this is what I have to do to ensure that I am as healthy as I can be. That I can have healthy babies. That I can live a long life.

I want people to know about Diabetes, Type 1 in particular. There is so much confusion about the causes, treatments, and difference between type 1 and type 2. Ask me if you have questions, I want to talk about it, Google it, know the symptoms. And know that I’m just like you.

Very VERY good post Elizabeth. I couldn’t have written it better myself. I’m like you, don’t hide the fact I have diabetes - it’s part of me (had it since 7). I sometimes envy you youngsters - that you have so much more then what we older diabetics had - more information, better ways of controlling your diabetes, places to come to like Tudiabetes to share/shout/learn. I am awed by what you have written!!!

Keep up the good work!! Do you mind if I post your blog at Diabetes 1? I will make sure they know it’s written by you - I just feel your message should be shared all over the world! Or if you feel like posting it there - just let me know!

Anna from Montreal - aka FatCatAnna at Trials and Tribulations of a Diabetic

Thank you! Just this summer I’ve found the blogging diabetes world, and finally today after I read Kerri’s latest post on sixuntilme.com I was inspired to write something. As I was writing it I found there was SO much more I wanted to say. This is just my story.

Yes, please post it on Diabetes1. I haven’t heard of that website until now, and it will probably get around to more people if you posted it. If you could put a link to my Tudiabetes page, that would be fantastic. And also hit me back with a link to what you post so I can keep up! :slight_smile:

Thanks for your support. I would be a mess without all of you!

-Elizabeth