At times I find myself looking at the vial of insulin and I just think, how weird it is that without it I can't be alive; without it I wouldn't be alive almost five years after being diagnosed. I'm not even sure that "weird" is the correct word; there isn't really a word to describe it, actually. I don't think about it often because I have to get on with it and do what I have to do to stay alive, but when I stop to think about it for even for just one small moment it hits me, it hits me just how much every breath I take depends on the insulin that sits in my fridge. I live on something that too much of could kill me, then again so could too little. It's a delicate balance. I am insulin dependant. Thinking about being a type one diabetic you remember their meaning, a meaning that you don't really have time to dwell on most of the time because you're too busy keeping yourself alive.
Insulin. My immune system attacked my pancreas and stopped it from producing insulin; a hormone that I had hardly any idea about before. But then again why would I? I was 11, but after being diagnosed I knew all about it...I know too much about it. I know what I wish I didn't need to know.
Dependant. Without the replacing the insulin that my body no longer makes, I would die. It's simple.
It's mad how I was so completely unaware of a hormone that contributes so largely to sustaining life. But the fact of the matter is that before diagnosis I didn't need to know. I didn't need to know that the pancreas produces insulin and that insulin regulates blood sugar, because my body was doing all of it's jobs as it should be, and then this disease came along and took away one bodily function, and now threatens the rest of them more and more as time goes on.
The world of type one diabetes was one that I was completely thrown into and now I have all this new vocabulary in my head that has conjured up over the last five years, and it will probably continue to grow..."Hba1c" "Diabetic ketoacidosis" "Bolus" "Basal" "Novorapid" "Insulin pump" "Hyperglycemia" "Hypoglycemia" to name a few. My brain is jam-packed full of information that I didn't learn on my own terms, but information that I was forced to learn. It made me grow up, fast. And you are literally thrown into this world of blood sugar checking and insulin injecting. There can't be a gentle introduction...you can't have a gentle introduction into the fact that you will be responsible for every breath you take from the moment you are diagnosed.
There is a line that Nick Jonas says in his song 'A little bit longer' which he wrote about his diagnosis with type one diabetes; he says "You don't know what you've got until it's gone" and it's true. You don't know that you have health until it's gone. In saying that people don't know I mean it as in, it is definitely something that is taken for granted unless you have had an illness or have an illness. For me, what I had was a fully functioning pancreas; what I now know to be a very important organ and I don't have that any more. It's amazing how much our bodies work round the clock to keep us healthy; it's like a machine. Machines get oiled regularly so that they continue to work, and perhaps a mechanic would take this oil for granted- as long as it's keeping his machine healthy and he has it on hand, then it's fine; but then if that oil spills and it's gone; then suddenly it's worth becomes so much more...he realises just how much his machine needed that oil. And I think that insulin is a little bit like the oil for our bodies; it's one of those things that once it's no longer produced...you realise how much you need it. Type one diabetes has taught me not to take health for granted, but what I have also learnt is to appreciate the health that I still have and type one diabetes makes me work very hard to preserve that.
My life as a type one diabetic hangs in the balance, but I try not to focus on it too much. When I do focus on it I understand, I understand why but I wish I didn't understand why and I wish my life didn't depend on a careful balance of insulin dosages and blood sugar levels; but it does. However what I try to focus more on is the positive; the positive side being that my life could be worse. And that despite lacking in a major hormone that absence threatens all the organs in my body every day- I still focus on the health that I still have and the health that I work very hard every single day to try to keep.
I just typed that last sentence and literally just thought, I'm sixteen years old and I have an incurable disease, that has and will continue to teach me life lessons, on top of the ones that I have and continue to learn from my parents and those that I will generally learn as I get older. It's crazy that I'm so young and probably know more about being appreciative of life than most adults, because my life is in my own hands every day and I have to work so hard to make sure I don't drop it, unfortunately that is the reality of type one diabetes but like I always say; my life isn't all about type one diabetes and I work hard for a life that isn't affected by type one diabetes; I work hard and fight type one for a healthy life.