Diabetes and the Hesitance For Substantial Change
This post is by Social Media Manager and Associate Editor Drew.
Every diabetic can remember the day of their diagnosis, perhaps better than any other date of significance in their life. That moment in time is so vivid for many reasons. First it’s understanding you will be living with a chronic, incurable disease and then it’s trying to register the wide range of emotions you’re feeling. Between processing information for your new lifestyle and understanding the limitations and differences from your previous life, the process can become overwhelming and confusing. Yet I remember one feeling more than any other, and that was vulnerability.
For guiding me through this initial fog, I have eternal gratitude to the team of doctors at the hospital where my diagnosis took place. The endocrinologist, the nurse educator, the nutritionist and everyone else did their job perfectly, easing me into the transition towards my new life without a perfect pancreas. They worked hard to ensure that I understood all the little steps and details that are so pertinent for maintaining good health with diabetes.
It was 2005 and I was less than halfway through high school, playing it safe and working hard to ensure my numbers were under tight control. I frequently went back to my doctor for check-ups and advice, each time feeling like I mattered—as if my health was truly of great concern to them. Of course that’s their job and all, but it seemed like they were really committed toward making sure I had a handle on everything pertaining to my diabetes.
Sometimes it’s hard to see changes taking place because the process can be very gradual. As the years went on and I geared up for college my numbers began to slip and my A1c spiked upward. Yet as my troubles and worries began to mount, I didn’t feel that same sense of urgency from my doctors. My meetings with them were crammed together, often with members of the team running in while they spoke in hurried tones and shuffled through papers to find my information, which at this point was sometimes not up to date and inaccurate.
As this went on I felt conflicted. Many on the outside would think I was careless for delaying, but I didn’t want to leave what I knew. I began to feel that vulnerability again. I began to feel doubt that I could keep a handle on diabetes.
Looking for a new team felt like starting at square one, but at that new beginning I began to understand that new opportunities were inherently available in starting over. With my parents’ support I began looking, and kept looking until I found a team suited to address my problems, assuage my anxieties and drive me to be constantly learning how to better my control. I ended up finding a team that does just that, and have been with them for years since.
Although in retrospect the decision to leave my original team in search of a better one seems simple, I can still understand my hesitance toward making that kind of change. Part of me surely wanted things to go back to the way they were originally, blissfully ignoring the reality of the situation. Coming to the realization that this was—as self-centered as it may read—about me, gave me the desire to find that better team and subsequently better my health.
Further it gave me a sense of curiosity about the condition, which I’ve fostered in my approach to other aspects of the disease, be it trying different treatments or trying tirelessly to understand why my sugar levels behave the way they do. When Nick spoke a few weeks ago about avoiding a diabetes rut, I can truly be proud in pinpointing a moment in time where I didn’t let my autopilot take over.
Now with the JDCA I’m looking to help the search for the best cure prospect and the most responsible charity, among other things. Namely I’m looking forward to the day when all Alliance members and diabetics alike won’t have to stress over any decisions with regards to their disease, and instead just have to worry about living their life and not about a disorienting low or debilitating complications.
I’m looking forward to the easiest decision imaginable: where I’ll have to go the day that cure arrives.