Anyone who knows me will know that I've always struggled to stay in control of my diabetes properly for longer than about a week. It's just always been something that hasn't come naturally to me in the five and a half years that I've been diagnosed, it always felt like something else in my mind took priority over diabetes and it would get pushed to the back, I suppose you could say that diabetes took a back seat for the majority of my diagnosis for whatever reason. Until now.
I have to change, things need to be different. I need to be healthy, and everyone who cares about me needs to know that I will be ok. I need to prove to myself that I can control my diabetes and that my dream of seeing a HbA1c below 7% is achievable. Seeing a high HbA1c is not how it should be, I need to face diabetes head on once and for all and stay in control, and for the past few weeks I've found myself doing just that.
I went into Diabetic Ketoacidosis a few weeks ago. I went into hospital on the Thursday and was discharged on the Tuesday, my consultant wanted to give my body a break from all the high blood sugar I had been having, so although I was out of DKA by the Friday the nurses took over my diabetes care from that moment on for a few days and got my body used to normal blood sugar again. On the day I was discharged I realised that I could see without my glasses on, anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that I was extremely confused at this, but I liked it. My eye sight was clear as day, I couldn't stop looking around- my eyes lasted three days before they went back to being blurred again. I was disappointed to say the least when I realised I no longer had 20/20 vision, something which I hadn't had since I was about eight years old. I've come to the conclusion that my eyes got a little excited about my blood sugars being controlled again, although I still find it hard to apply this theory to the situation because I've been wearing glasses since before I was diagnosed with diabetes, so it's not like diabetes was the initial cause for my blurred vision.
Anyway, my point in saying all of this is because I realise just how much diabetes affects my eyes, we all know diabetes can cause all sorts of horrible things and we all know that one of the most commonly affected by diabetes are our eyes, but it doesn't seem as "real" until you see the effects. I've always said that the complication I would be most devastated about if I ever unfortunately got any would be if I developed retinopathy, I would hate that, I don't know how I would handle losing my sight. I am a very visual person, I want to do film studies at Uni and I like seeing the world around me, I hate darkness...and I hate that diabetes threatens my eyes so much. It's clear to me how much fluctuating glucose levels impact my eyes and it's an impact I want to minimise as much as possible. But don't get me wrong, I want to avoid all the complications.
I'm not going to lie, at a time when I was really really bad at controlling my diabetes and I had a HbA1c of 15% I didn't think about complications and to a certain extent they didn't worry me, the threat of them didn't seem enough to make me control my diabetes. Basically, I couldn't be scared into controlling my diabetes and I know I wasn't the only one who felt like that. It sounds weird doesn't it? Because controlling my diabetes centers around three main things, staying safe, preventing complications and having a life: having the energy and good blood sugar to be able to live your life to the full and live it well. All three of those things are something that can't be achieved in a constant state of high blood sugar.
As I said at the beginning of this post controlling my diabetes is something that I have found myself successfully doing for the past few weeks and I am immensely proud of myself. I can't remember the last time that my diabetes was this well controlled apart from the times that my diabetes has been controlled for me in hospital. My blood sugar meter tells me that I have a 7-day average blood sugar of 7.3mmol and a 14-day average blood sugar of 7.9, and to me this is awesome and I don't see why it wouldn't be awesome to anyone else who knows that I've struggled with keeping my blood sugar in range for as long as I can remember.
It's crazy how one minute I was living a totally ordinary life and then I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and suddenly everything changed. There isn't an aspect of my life that diabetes doesn't impact and that's something that I find incredibly frustrating but I deal with it. I deal with diabetes because I don't have a choice, and I know it's hard, but however hard it gets I just go with it because I have to. I can't run away from diabetes although I've wished that I could plenty of times.
I think I've noticed that the only way to really feel a little bit ok about having diabetes for me is to be in control of it and I know that's easier said than done, but believe me, if you're struggling with your diabetes there is a light at the end of the tunnel even if you can't quite see it, just keep going. My consultant told me that having control of your blood sugars really improves your mood and the first thing I noticed when I was back in control was that sense of optimism and motivation that I had lost for so long and I intend to keep things that way.