I can honestly say that my mother and father saved my life. I would not be here today if they were not by my side. During a scary, worrisome time in my life, both of my parents provided an enormous amount of love and support in different ways.
My mother is my best travel buddy, my protector, my personal advocator, my number one cheerleader, and my soulmate. She was the only person first hand to witness my traumatic and life-changing diagnoses of type 1 diabetes. When I was 23 years old, my mom and I decided to take a mother-daughter summer trip to travel all across Europe. I began the trip excited and enthusiastic, but progressively started to get sicker and sicker. I had no energy, quickly lost a ton of weight, constantly drinking water like a camel, and urgently going to the bathroom like a racehorse. With my symptoms getting worse every day, I would have never had gone to the hospital without my mother’s natural intuition, guidance and support.
There we were in a foreign country where I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and taken to the ICU for days to bring my body out of diabetic ketoacidosis. My mom sat with me, holding my hand, as the doctors poked and prodded me with needles and IVs. We shared many tears wondering why this had to happen and how our highly anticipated trip made an unforeseen turn.
Once I was released, I started my new life as a type 1 diabetic. I had to reteach myself everything while trying to travel the rest of Europe. I had to quickly learn how to eat, exercise, manage daily stress, administer my own injections, and know what my body feels like when my blood sugar is high or low. My mom was there for me every step of the way, adjusting to her own feelings and figuring out how she could help me. When I experienced one of my first low blood sugar moments while walking around ancient Pompeii, my mom was there to sit me down as I was shaking and sweating. She was the one to help feed me candies to bring my blood sugar back up and to rest with me until I was ready to continue the tour.
During that summer, my mom and I were able to travel to five different countries for two months without seeing an American doctor. We were just surviving on our little knowledge of type 1 that we taught ourselves through online research and scarcely talking with my father, who was back in the United States. We pushed through our tough times and continued to think positively as the challenges of traveling and my disease tested us. I would have never been able to do any of that without my mother’s consistent support, unconditional love, intuition, and the will to keep moving forward beyond my disease.
At the same time, my father played a huge role in my survival as a fellow type 1 warrior, my teacher, my protector, and my role model. He has been living with type 1 for 20 years and I truly feel so unbelievably blessed that he understands everything that I feel: the complications, the frustrations, the depression, the good numbers, the lows, everything.
When my mom and I were traveling, I had very limited access to talk to my dad to tell him about my devastating news. The only way I was able to talk to him was stumbling across internet cafes where wifi was available, which wasn’t that common. But I did my best to keep in touch with him. He was able to explain to me what was happening to my body when my blood sugar was low or high. He taught me how certain kind of foods react to my blood sugar and how to figure out my own carbohydrate-to-insulin ratio. He told me how to get over my fear of needles and how to correctly take my insulin shots. He taught me how crucial it is to listen to your own body and to understand what it needs. Across different continents, he was able to teach me all of this and more, giving me confidence in understanding my disease.
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for your positive outlook. Knowing that I have you both in my corner at all times reminds me that I can conquer anything that I set my mind to.
(Article published on Further Food here)
We prick our fingers to draw blood 6+ times a day,
We give ourselves injections 5+ times a day,
We get over our fears of needles,
We eat sugar to prevent going unconscious..
Those are some of the things that make us truly dia-BADASSES!
Live with confidence because we battle the silent fight while living the life we love.
DiaBadAss shirts available at my new Shop!
Listening to our bodies and taking care of them is the best thing that we could ever do. Our bodies are our temple.
Somedays there are those extremely frustrating days where you can’t get your numbers in that good range, but take it day by day and moment by moment. Don’t be afraid to excuse yourself from something to take a moment to take care of you body and listen to what it needs!
My blood sugar right now: 216 mg/dl
Have a great day!
Today I wanted to share one of the many stories of my Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis and the adventures with my symptoms. And it is probably one of the most embarrassing ones by far. This is the story where a grown girl peed in her pants.. Yes, PEED in my own pants.. in public!
It was summertime in hot, muggy, fabulous New York City! I traveled from my home in California to stay with my best friend from college in the City. I was 23 years old and it was my first real time traveling to stay in New York. I left everything behind in the search of new experiences and wonderful adventures with my great old friend.
One day my friend had a casting call for an audition for a play in Midtown where she would have to be gone all day. I decided that I would take this time to have a relaxing day to myself. She lived all the way up in Washington Heights so going to the movies in Midtown was going to be a full trek.
Keep in mind, this was 3 weeks before I have seen a doctor and was officially diagnosed so the symptoms where creeping up on me at this time in full force.
As I was walking down, what feels like a hundred blocks, I frequently had to stop for bathroom breaks along the way. I also took the time to guzzle down two liters of water and continued on my way. I sat on the subway already exhausted from my walking, but my determination to see a movie was overpowering my will to stop.
I finally got to the craziness of Midtown. There were tons of people walking in all directions, old construction workers whistling at me, flashing lights, and a bombardment of concrete jungle noises. I was just a simple girl from surf town California, starring down at my iPhone maps, trying to avoid getting lost. I FINALLY got to the movie theater. As soon as I opened the door, there were masses amounts of people in line for the movies. I stood in line and waited. As I was waiting I started to feel that urge.. that urge to go to the bathroom again. I squeezed my legs together, holding my breath thinking that this line would move a little faster so that I can just buy my ticket and use the restroom. I stood up straight, my eyes watered, and I just couldn’t handle it any longer. I left my place in line in the search of a bathroom.
Now this New York City movie theater is not like all other movie theaters that I am used to going to. Usually the movies are laid out on one floor with the bathrooms in clear sight with signs. But this theater had multiple levels where you bought the ticket on the first floor and then you went up to the various other floors to see your movie.
I briskly walked and then practically jogged all along the perimeter of this crowded movie lobby. I COULD NOT FIND A BATHROOM ANYWHERE! It didn’t have any restrooms on that first floor. You needed to have a ticket to go up to the next levels where the bathrooms were. I was so desperate, feeling so hopeless, alone, and frantic. After I made a whole lap around the room looking, I started to feel something wet trailing down my leg. I look down and I am peeing in the middle of this lobby. I can’t stop! I try so hard to control it, but I can’t! I can’t do one thing about it! My eyes start to water with tears and I am just a wet leaking mess. I feel defeated. I remember thinking “I am a 23 year old grown girl, how the heck can this happen?! Why can’t I control my own body? Why is this happening?” Confused and crushed, I sneak to a corner of the lobby to pull myself together, tied a sweatshirt around my waist, and attempted to clean the mess up with my shoe. I got in line again, looking at no one. I finally got my ticket and head up the the fourth floor to my movie. As soon as I got to my floor I rushed to the bathroom to assess the damage that had just happened. I get into a stall, cried more, cleaned up my legs, and stuffed tissue down my pants to help soak up the wetness.
Feeling at my lowest low, I decided to make the best of it and buy myself a large water and popcorn (my favorite). I sat myself alone in a comfy chair in the dark theater. The previews start and I can already feel myself feeling a little better. I sink into my chair, disappear into the darkness, and chowed down on my delicious popcorn. (Of course I went to the bathroom 4 more times throughout the 2 hour film, but at least I made it to the bathroom).
This is one of the many stories that I will forever remember about my diagnosis. For those that do not know, these are some of the major symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes. At the time I had no idea what was going on with my body. I knew something was not right, but I did not think that I was anything extreme. I was wrong. And this day was one of the days where I was actually very worried about myself. I was exhausted, extremely thirsty all the time, had constant dry mouth, and lost 30 pounds in a week and a half. It is very important to know of these symptoms to avoid something tragic and deadly. I wanted to share my story in the hopes of opening people’s eyes to these symptoms and to the awareness of this disease. Here is a list of the common symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes onset.
The common symptoms include (adapted from JDRF):
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
- Sudden vision changes
- Sugar in urine
- Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath
- Increased appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Drowsiness, lethargy
- Yeast infections
- Heavy, labored breathing
- Stupor, unconsciousness