Today is my 3 year diaversary! Exactly three years ago, I landed in the hospital in DKA and my world flipped upside down. To honor three years of surviving with this disease, I wanted to take a moment to consider how the experience has made me stronger.
Can diabetes make you stronger?
Before I was diagnosed with diabetes, I thought I was doing okay in life. I was running marathons and ultra marathons, I paid attention to what I was eating and I had a work hard/play hard kind of mentality. I thought I was invincible and life was going pretty close to what I had planned.
Then, in what seemed like out of nowhere, I ended up in the hospital and was told I have Type 1 Diabetes. They said, “Don’t worry! It’s not a death sentence anymore like it was in the old days.” I just sat there thinking, “Wait, so this is something that can kill me?!?!” I was so naive at the time* and had no idea how much my life was about to change. But…
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
I truly believe that all of the additional challenges this disease has brought into my life has made me a much stronger person. For example:
Before T1D, I wasn’t nearly as educated about how food and different nutrients affect my blood sugar or my body. This is an area where I’m still learning but I already know so much more than I ever would have cared to before I was diagnosed.
Before T1D, I was non-stop. I was working 3 jobs and 80+ hour weeks, not because we needed the money, but because I enjoyed it and got a lot of happiness from being able to help others through my work. When I wasn’t working, I was marathon training, furthering my education and trying to squeeze in a bit of time for my family and friends. My priorities were way out of whack to say the least. My diagnosis forced me to take a step back, reflect and identify what was really important to me. These days, I only have one full time job, which is much less stressful than my last one (or last three) and I have my evenings and weekends back to spend time with family and friends, work on personal projects, and do things that I love**. It has allowed me to find more balance in my life!
Before T1D, I wasn’t as focused on longevity. Like most young people, I assumed I would live forever and wasn’t concerned with bad habits that could take years off my life! I also wasn’t being proactive by taking healthy steps to ensure peak physical and mental function as I age.
Before T1D, I wasn’t as focused on my mental health. I like to believe that my mental health was in an okay spot before I was diagnosed but I really struggled to deal with obstacles and challenges in a healthy way. Since T1D, I take proactive measures and have developed better coping strategies for when things get tough. I meditate daily, I talk to trusted friends about things that are weighing on me and of course, I run and workout. Before T1D, running was pretty much my only outlet, so it’s wonderful to have other tools in my toolbox.
Before T1D, I wasn’t as grateful. Period. I took a lot for granted and not just my health but also my friends and family. Gratitude is a powerful life changing thing. I can’t say enough about this so I’ll share this video with you instead.
So to answer, my original question:
Yes, I truly believe that my diabetes has made me stronger!
For all of the things diabetes has “taken from me” it has given me back so much more! That doesn’t make it easy to manage day in and day out but it does make it worth the experience! So my question to you is…
How has diabetes made you stronger?
*In five years, I’ll probably be thinking the same thing about myself presently. If you can’t look back and wonder how you could have been so ignorant in the past, you’re probably not growing and changing all that much.
**Like baking, blogging and reading! …and running/working out too! 🙂
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The content on this site is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen or adjusting your diabetes management strategy.