Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Joslin Blog Project: Changes.

I'm honored to be participating in Joslin Diabetes Center's Blog Project this month, alongside a handful of other dedicated and passionate diabetes advocates. We'll each be writing four posts that detail our personal journey with diabetes, in the hopes that we can raise some awareness along with some money. Our goal is to raise $5,000, as a team, for the Joslin High Hopes Fund through this blog project.

Our prompt for this week is: "What were the biggest changes you went through after diagnosis, and what were (if any) small things you didn’t realize would change?"

I'm told that when I was asked what I missed about life before diabetes, my six-year-old self replied, "Macaroni and cheese. I want more of it."

Exchange diets FTL!

So many things change when you are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and all of a sudden your everyday life starts to resemble that of a highly-regulated pincushion. Food isn't just this thing you eat anymore; it's a mysterious math equation you must solve with each meal and snack. Having a cold doesn't just mean a stuffy nose and sore throat; it can mean wildly fluctuating blood sugars that refuse to be tamed, and which make you feel just that much worse. Running around the neighborhood park at the end of your street is never again a spontaneous activity - you have to plan, pack, eat, and test.

In short, diabetes adds a layer of "ugh" to everything you do.

While diabetes did introduce many changes to my life, what I find most interesting is what didn't change. It didn't prevent me from playing soccer (for one season, I think, and I wasn't so great at it), softball (I was slightly better at this than soccer), or the piano (I could play Chopsticks like a pro). Diabetes didn't stop me from years of dance lessons - ballet, tap, and jazz. It didn't hinder the four years of high school choir or cheerleading, and it didn't stop me from having fun with my friends - birthdays, slumber parties away from home, and a senior class trip to Colorado, sans my parents. A faulty pancreas didn't prevent me from pursuing a college degree many miles away from home, or from stubbornly moving 1,400 miles away to live life by my own terms for a while, or from dating and marrying my very best friend.

Diabetes may change the "how", but it doesn't change the "what".

If you would like to make a donation toward our $5,000 blog project goal for the Joslin Diabetes Center, you may do so here.

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