Diabetes Blog Week 2015, Day 1: I Can – You Can – We All CanBy Lauren Stanford -
I’ve been living with 1 diabetes for almost 18 years. All of those years had challenges and successes. As you all know, living with diabetes forces you to be independent way beyond your years. You can’t just go and eat, school is not just about classes it’s about balance, and you are always watching numbers. The NUMBERS. For you, for your parents, for your doctors. Always watching, and always knowing I CAN do this.
What I didn’t realize was all the behind the scenes work that was involved in allowing me to get to that place of I Can. All the fighting my parents did to have me test my levels in schools, and the endless conversations with insurance companies, product companies, all the energy my support group put forward so I CAN have my life. And as all lives go, you don’t realize how important it is till well after the deeds are done.
I was allowed to live my live. I have wanted to live where all the political magic happens since as long as I can remember. I attended college at George Mason University, stayed in Washington DC and started my first “real world” job at HCM Strategists. This company fights for patients and people to have the supports that I know got me through. I am doing everything that I wanted to do.
Professional ambitions aside, I had no idea how hard it was going to be to transition to being independent in my diabetes care. I was fortunate enough to have parents who sheltered me from those unnecessary burdens of diabetes. I had never placed my own diabetes supplies order before I graduated college. I had never had to schedule my own appointments. I had always had my parents at easy access when I needed them. Now living in 500 miles away from home and with less frequent visits, I have been forced to “jump into the deep end” on a lot of my diabetes care situations. But, I CAN DO THIS. I can own my disease and make my choices.
Recently, I was diagnosed with Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum (don’t feel bad I cannot pronounce it either) but we will call it NLD. NLD is a skin condition that impacts .3% of people with type 1 diabetes. This was a heart breaking revelation for me. For the first time in my life I had a diabetes related situation which I have handled totally independently. My parents are still there for support of course, but I am managing my treatment plan and appointments totally on my own.
I CAN DO THIS. I can learn how to handle what is thrown at you and keep going.
A few months ago, I needed to order a new continuous glucose monitor. I had to use a third party vendor as well as contact the insurance company. It is a complicated process and took days! Way more complicated then it should be. Thankfully, I work for a company who is trying to make that process easier. I had a glimpse of the struggle and sweat my parents put in all those years. I see it in a different light now.
I CAN DO THIS!
I CAN Mange the coverage of my drugs, tools and technology.
I CAN live my life 500 miles away from my support system.
With diabetes blog week being exactly one year after my graduation from college, this is an opportunity to look back and reflect on how wonderful my first year in the “real world” has been. Diabetes didn’t hold me back one single bit. It forced challenges. It has made me stronger. I look at my independent life and realize, with all certainty: I CAN. And more importantly, to all those out there, YOU CAN TOO!