Why I Cherish My Life More With Diabetes Than I Did Without It

Three weeks before I left for college, I found out I had diabetes. I was in shock. I always ate well, was never overweight and exercised. I have no family medical history since I was adopted.

A “normal fasting blood glucose target range for an individual without diabetes is 70-100 mg/dL,” according to the Mayo Clinic. My average blood sugar day-to-day was 250 mg/dL. High blood sugar can mean mood swings. Trying to think clearly can be like running through heavy syrup. Food coma can be a very real thing. If I have a meal that I shouldn’t, I have to sleep or take something for it. My blood sugar has so much to do with how I am.

High school wasn’t pretty for me. I was always so tired and in a daze. My family and I thought it was because of my cerebral palsy. Looking back, I probably had diabetes during at least two years of high school.

My friends had to deal with so much. Mood swings. What little filter I had was lost in the most profound way. I cringe just thinking about the person my classmates saw. The girl who always sleeps. The girl who doesn’t care.

During my junior year, I had math class right after lunch. I fell asleep in that class every day, no matter how much sleep I got the night before or how much I wanted to stay awake. I slept through the hardest class I had. I don’t even know how I passed. This is just one example.

I struggled immensely in the beginning and still struggle at times. As I started to read up on my disease, parts of my high school years started to make sense. I had a reason for all the exhaustion and fuzzy days besides that I wasn’t trying hard enough. Knowing this gave me a sense of peace, but it also filled me with regret. How much did diabetes hold me back during high school? Would I have made better grades? Had more energy and time to devote to my friends? Been nicer to my friends?

Now that I know the difference between how I am with high blood sugar versus low blood sugar, some of these questions have been answered. However, I still have gaps in memories of my life when my blood sugar was high. I don’t remember a lot of my first semester in college.

Life with diabetes has its ups and downs. The transition to a healthy diabetic lifestyle has been an ongoing challenge. As a person who didn’t like needles or blood, I have grown immensely. As person who loves food in any way, shape or form, I tell people I can choose to eat whatever I want. However, whether it’s immediate or down the road, I may pay a price. To be honest, it does suck sometimes.

Within all this, I can say diabetes has taught me to cherish life more than when I did without it. As I said above, there are times when the days are fuzzy, and the days that aren’t are even more sweet. It has taught me to love my body and take care of it because I feel good when I do.

I’m thankful for friends and family who understand when mood swings get the best of me. I love it when I have energy to do more things. The list goes on, but to sum it up, I’m diabetic and I still thrive in life.

Editor’s note: Any medical information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health, please consult a doctor or medical professional.

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