*this is really something i don't talk about frequently, but i thought i would write about it to get it out. deep breath. ready. go.
eleven years ago [on march 10th, 1998, to be exact] an eight year old girl, left school early to go with her mom and her dad to what she thought would be a regular check up at the doctors office. her mom had noticed that her eight year old had lost a significant amount of weight in a short amount of time and that she was thirsty very often, and would always be sleepy....
after that check up she spent the next week on royal oak william beaumont hospital's children's floor with her mom learning anything and everything they could about this disease called type 1 diabetes. [Results from the body's failure to produce insulin, the hormone that "unlocks" the cells of the body, allowing glucose to enter and fuel them. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. *American Diabetes Association]...........oh that girl was me. lindsay fillmore, living the diabetic life since '98. i rocked the sugarlessqt89 & dietcokequeen89 screen name on AIM for a while.
anyway...from then on out poking my finger several times a day with a lancet to check my blood sugar, counting how many carbohydrates i ate, taking a shot several times a day of insulin in my leg, always carrying a bag/purse with me so i wouldn't have to just hold my monitor and syringes freely, and recognizing high and low blood sugar all became fairly normal to me. this whole "diabetes" thing for a long time was just "yeah i can't have a lot of sugar, and if i do i just take a shot to cover it".
because i was so young when i was diagnosed with it, i don't really remember life without it. i have vivid memories of being very self conscious about having diabetes. especially from later on in elementary school into middle school and even into high school a some points. i never knew what people would think, how they would react or respond, and i knew more often times than not people around really couldn't relate to me in this area. [*side note, except for the first day of 8th grade, coming from my small private school into a huge public middle school, i met a girl with diabetes!]
for a long time my mom or dad would pretty much manage my diabetes for me. they would tell me when to check my blood sugar, draw up my insulin, count how many carbs i was eating, my dad even gave me my shot for a few years. when i started to venture out and do things on my own was really when i let this self consciousness get to me and i wouldn't take care of myself. i have had my share of low blood sugars down to the 30s and high blood sugars up into the 600s. [average/where blood sugar should be for a diabetic & where it would be for someone without diabetes is 75-170]. low sugars have landed me in the emergency room or in the back of an ambulance. and high sugars have also landed me in the emergency room as well and just sick to my stomach, throwing up, and dehydrated.
a lot of people don't even know i have diabetes. obviously my family and close friends do, but it is definitely not the first thing i say to someone when i meet them. "hey, i'm lindsay, my body doesn't produce enough insulin to cover how much sugar i intake, so i take a shot anytime i eat."
i don't ever really talk about it with anyone...and if i do, i sugar coat [no pun intended] how well i take care of myself. from the outside it looks like i am a regular nineteen year old girl who loves God, music, and for whatever reason is in love with nashville, and has a love/hate relationship with running...and that is what i should be, that is part of who i am. but on the inside i have become lazy, mostly over the past year. my diabetes has never been a prime example to other diabetics, but i have never let it get this bad. i have found ways around taking care of myself. i have done just enough not to land myself in the hospital for kidney or vision problems, or a long list of other side affects diabetes can take on me if i don't take care of it.
after what seems like a million and one trips to see my en-chronologist, nurse practitioner, or dietitian, i am now at the point where if i went to see them now, i wouldn't know what to do. i am not healthy. i don't take care of my diabetes the way i should and it scares me. when i was younger my dad would tell/somewhat make me go running with him just to bring my sugar down so i wouldn't end up with kidney problems ten years down the road. well that ten years is slowly catching up to me. the longer i am lazy with taking care of myself and monitoring my diabetes the more likely i am closer to not being able to have my own kids, going blind at a young age, having major kidney problems, and trouble with my feet and hands.
on sunday at woodside a guy named nick spoke during the service. he doesn't have arms or legs. he is traveling the world telling people who look at him funny and confused that he feels blessed to be in the state he is in. i can say that, i might be blessed to have arms and legs but i also do feel blessed to have type 1 diabetes. i could have been diagnosed with cancer eleven years ago. i could have been diagnosed with a million other things when i was eight that are not treatable. diabetes might not have a cure [yet], but when taken care of, you can live with it, you can live your life just the way anyone else would. its a pain in the butt to watch what i eat [because i do love food], it is a pain to have to check my blood sugar and wonder if the number in five seconds will be low, high, or just right, it is a pain to take a shot in my stomach several times a day, and although i might be "used to" taking a shot, i can still feel it, it still hurts sometimes, it leaves marks sometimes. it is a pain to have high blood sugar, especially because it puts me in a really bad mood and i tend to take it out on my family. and it is a pain to have to travel with lantus, humolog, a monitor, glucose tablets, lancets, syringes and the list goes on,,,,but i am blessed to have it. i am blessed to have a dad that loves me so much that he would want me to go running with him just so my blood sugar stays low. i am blessed to have a twin that is concerned for my health. i am blessed to have everything at my fingertips to manage and control this disease. but i have taken advantage of my blessing. i have been to lax with the fact that i can take a shot for eating a whole bunch of crap that i know is poison to my body, i have become lax with the fact that i can increase the amount of insulin to cover it.
a couple of weeks ago a guy from the youth group at my church was diagnosed with diabetes and he came on our winter camp retreat. my mom advised i go introduce myself and just let him know i was there if he needed anything or had any questions. and i was embarrassed and ashamed that he would have to come to me if he had a question because i have had it for so many years and i should be learning from him and asking him questions. one of the nights he shared with a smaller group of us about it and as much as i wanted to run up there and give him a hug because i can actually relate to him on that level i was glued to seat crying, sobbing, praying, thinking, and wondering why in the world i don't take better care for myself and why i couldn't be a better example to him in the beginning of his new life with this thing called diabetes. God gave me diabetes for a reason. my mom has and probably always will remind me that God doesn't give us something we can't handle. He knows that i can handle this, that is why He chose lindsay to have diabetes. He knows that i have been neglecting this illness that isn't going away anytime soon.
since the new year has started i have been trying [keyword: trying] to grab the reigns of my health and stop being so lazy and unwilling to move forward and get healthy, rather than mope around in the fact that i consider myself "the worst example of a diabetic ever". since that night at our retreat, i have just been constantly reminded of the fact that i can't do it on my own and i can't think for a second that i, lindsay erin fillmore can control my diabetes, but that only God my Father who wants me to be healthy, wants me to live and move and breath for Him, and use me to help someone else along the road, can help me control my disease. only He can rid me of my laziness and give me the strength and power to live as long as He has me here with type 1 diabetes.
don't feel bad for me, just pray with me.