When I was diagnosed with type 1, doctors told me I needed to count my carbohydrates, weigh my food, test my glucose several times per day, keto test my urine daily, alcohol swab, rotate sites, log my numbers, exercise, (but don't exercise too hard!), monitor my feet, check with my doctor before changing my settings, etc.
I haven't always been forthright and expressive about diabetes. There were a solid 10 years of my disease which I kept under wraps, hidden from everyone I knew. I was afraid of everything-to push myself harder than I had ever before, to allow people into my dark corner of the world, to allow myself to believe I could become anything that I wanted to be. I let my fears hinder my development and stayed sedentary during major points in my life.
My diabetes and I have traveled a lot of miles together in nineteen years. Racing Ironman triathlons in Australia, Europe, the Carribean and all over North America, climbing and camping at the top of 14,000 foot Mt. Whitney, and of course dozens of family vacations and business trips. Packing equipment and supplies for an Ironman triathlon and 3 weeks in Australia requires a bit of planning and preparation, but when you have diabetes you feel like you do that for just a weekend out of town. Meters, strips, insulin, syringes, infusion sets, pump supplies, snacks . . . a simple weekend trip becomes a lunar expedition.
As a woman with diabetes, you may have noticed that you face unique challenges, from where to place your insulin pump, to pregnancy, to hormone fluctuations. Many diabetes books offer general diabetes advice, but few focus on women beyond just a short chapter. That is, until now.
If you've had diabetes for a number of years, chances are that you remember when there was no Internet access and no diabetes online community. You had no way to look up information online and no instant connection to millions of others around the world living with diabetes. Unless you had a friend nearby with diabetes, there was no one to understand how you felt when your blood sugar numbers were less than stellar, and no one to sympathize with how hard it can be to get your A1C down.
Ryan Shafer is a 44-year-old professional bowler from Elmira, New York, who was 19 when he developed type 1 diabetes. For a couple of weeks, he experienced the usual symptoms of weight loss, lethargy, extreme thirst, and frequent urination, as well as vision problems. "Being that age," he says, "I was afraid to go to the doctor. I thought it would just go away." When he finally saw his family physician and was diagnosed, he says, "I was actually relieved--not that I thought diabetes was a piece of cake, but I was glad to know what was wrong with me."
Three weeks out of every month, my diabetes is well controlled. But the fourth week, the one before my period, is a nightmare. My sugars are astronomically high--I can't even look at a carbohydrate without my sugar spiking. I'm exhausted and cranky, and I can't get comfortable.
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