Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Moving Out: Life Change with T1D

Well, after a few weeks off from blogging… I am finally back. Most all of my friends and family know that almost a month ago, I packed up and moved to Panama City Beach all on my own (well with Nala, of course). Moving out is something that I was scared to do because my family and I are very close, and I didn't want to be that far away. But, I am doing what I have to do to get the degree and licensure that I need to work in the field of my dreams. So… Since this blog is all about diabetes, what does moving out have to do with diabetes? Well, for those of you who do not understand T1D very well, life change causes diabetes to change and living alone with such a fragile disease is pretty scary. Here is my experience so far…

First of all, just the idea of going to sleep at night knowing that I am alone was enough to make me scared to go to sleep. Let's be real, low blood sugar in the middle of the night is a common killer of type one diabetics and this is something we all know but we try to forget. My first few nights alone, I had to learn to rely on technology to keep me alive and, I had myself setting alarms to wake up and test my blood sugar multiple times throughout the night just to make sure that I was OK. I think that nighttime was one of my biggest fears in living alone with diabetes. Obviously, I have done just fine and I'm no longer waking up multiple times to test my blood sugar in the middle of the night.

Something else that has taken some time to adjust to, living alone with diabetes, has been not having someone to come home and complain too. That sounds bad, but when I've had a bad diabetes day I always used to come home and show my mom my Dexcom graph or just cry about how bad the day had been. Obviously living alone I am… alone, but not having someone here to help me through my bad diabetes days made me feel even more alone. Yes, my mom and many of my "diabesties" are just a phone call away, but it's just not the same. I began to realize just how invisible diabetes is when I was surrounded by people who do not know I have it and do not understand the struggles. It's easy to put on a strong face and pretend that everything is okay, but anyone with chronic illness knows that sometimes, you've just gotta cry. 

Something I always knew about diabetes but never really understood to the fullest extent was how much stress affects blood sugars and insulin needs. I have only had diabetes for 11 months and in those 11 months I have dealt with plenty of stress, but, the stress of moving out, living alone, and starting a very difficult program in school was enough to make my diabetes whack. My first week of school, I dealt with crazy high and low blood sugars. Sometimes I felt like the insulin I was getting was straight water and other times I felt like my insulin was 10 times stronger than it should be… My Dexcom graph looked like a roller coaster and that is just not something I'm used to. I have made more adjustments to my pump settings in the past month than I have since starting the insulin pump but, I think I finally have things where they need to be and I think my nerves are calming down a bit.

But, don't let this sound like it's all negative and that I am doing horribly living along with diabetes… Because that is far from the truth. In the past month, I have learned so much about myself, my body, and my diabetes. I think living alone is something that every type one diabetic should have the chance to do because it forces you to problem solve on your own and to figure out what you need to do to make it through each day. Mom is not here to come back to my room and sit with me while I treat a scary low blood sugar in the middle of the night, no one is here to help me insert a new site in an awkward spot, no one is here to help me do the math and make pump setting changes, I am left to my own devices and I am forced to make decisions on my own. 

I am still a diabadass and I am still beating diabetes every single day. I am having a blast in school, I am learning a lot, and diabetes is just along for the ride. I am trying my hardest to not neglect my health but I am also trying to remind myself that on this journey, I cannot let diabetes consume me. I am enjoying school and being a student PTA and I have the BEST classmates a girl could ask for. I cannot wait to see where the next 2 years takes me! 

Two weeks ago... 
This week... Crushing it!! Take that T1D.