When I was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at twenty-three, I didn’t know how I was going to cope. Type 1 diabetes means injecting insulin for every single carb I eat and pricking my finger multiple times a day to measure my blood sugar. Most people say they’d die if they had to prick their finger ten times a day, let alone take a shot every time they ate. When you have type 1 diabetes, you literally die if you don’t.
The first time I had to take my blood sugar, I gathered my supplies on my kitchen table, put a favorite Reba McEntire song on repeat on my iPod, and cried. I probably sat there for ten minutes reliving all the painful finger sticks I had received in doctors’ offices growing up. I was supposed to do that to myself multiple times a day for the rest of my life?
Roughly 12,150 finger sticks later, the memory of my crying over my first one is laughable. My dad recently said he cringes every time he hears me cock the needle before taking my blood sugar. I was shocked that it upsets him because I don’t even think about it anymore. What once seemed so overwhelming is now just part of my everyday life.
I hope I always remember how hard those first few months after my diagnosis were, just so I can appreciate how far I’ve come from them. There haven’t been any major breakthroughs in type 1 diabetes treatment in the past three years. It’s just as hard to control as it was back then. Instead, I’m the one who has changed. I was able to adapt to circumstances that once seemed unfathomable.
I’m only twenty-seven. I’m sure there are going to be many more events in my life that will seem impossible to overcome, many more circumstances that will seem unfathomable. Thanks to type 1 diabetes, I know that not only will I be able to cope, I’ll one day be able to laugh at the idea that I couldn’t.