Glass half full….
Living with type 1 diabetes since I was 27 has given me a sense of ‘Carpe Diem’, seize the day, make the most of every moment. People also ask me how I fit so much in, where do I find the energy and sometimes I tip the balance, but I am driven by that zest for life that comes with a realisation of mortality!
Coping with diabetes has given me empathy and awareness, meeting the physical and emotional challenges of adapting has given me strength and resilience. I have met wonderful new friends and have changed my direction of travel at work to one where I hope my personal experience and passion is helping me to make a difference.
There are some important factors which help me to live well with diabetes including being well informed, feeling confident and in control of my health and life and feeling connected and being supported by my family and friends. Completing the DAFNE course (dose adjustment for normal eating) http://www.dafne.uk.com/ made a big difference too, an opportunity I believe should be offered to every type 1 diabetic and could be delivered by (paid) expert patients!
I generally take far better care of myself than I did pre-diabetes, drink less, exercise more (although could do better on both of these accounts), and I am generally more self and health aware.
Best of all, as any woman who has had diabetes before and during pregnancy will tell you, the emotional turmoil and physical discipline which goes into having a baby has made me absolutely treasure my two wonderful and thankfully healthy children and made me consciously feel great appreciation of them every day!
So whilst it is sometimes hard living with diabetes, (I would like a day off of calculating carbohydrate portions, injecting and monitoring every now and again) and yes, the future is uncertain, (it is a joke in our house that diabetics are at a higher risk of everything on the planet), the negative stuff is not the whole picture. Actually with the disadvantages also comes some precious gifts, especially valuing living and those around you.
I think we (in healthcare) tend to view long term conditions as a deficit, always talking about the costs, the complications, etc but I just wanted to share that actually there is another more positive dimension to diabetes.
Would love to hear from others with long term conditions on the silver lining for them….