My name is Bethany Rose. This blog is about me and my life with Type 1 Diabetes (aka “D”). Since my life doesn’t revolve around diabetes, sometimes the posts will be more about the “Me” than the “D”, but since this is a diabetes blog, after all, you’ll see plenty of D-related content. It’s Me….With D!
I’m 31 years old and I have had diabetes since I was three years old. I like to think of myself as a bit of a “diabetes veteran”, but I’ve come in contact with a number of people over the years who deserve that title far more than I do. My journey with diabetes started in the era of 2-minute bloodtests with one shot per day of insulin (injected with a syringe) and doctors advising my parents to keep my bloodsugar around 10 mmol/l (180 mg/dl). Now, 28 years later I have a 5-second meter, an insulin pump, a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS), a baby, and proliferative retinopathy.
For the first many years of my life I was not a well-controlled diabetic. This was partially due to the above-noted doctors’ orders, as well as the limitations of the types of insulin available at that time. It wasn’t for lack of trying, but for years I dealt with diabetes management problems that were beginning to seem unsolvable. As a result, my A1Cs were generally hanging out in the 8s, 9s, and 10s (and sometimes higher) for almost 25 years. I had a number of people recommend insulin pump therapy to me, but I was completely scared of the idea of having something under my skin and attached to me all the time. Then in 2005 I got married and in 2007 I started to develop proliferative retinopathy, and suddenly not only did I not feel as “untouchable” in terms of complications, but I also started to realize that it wasn’t just about me anymore. I had to get my diabetes under control for the sake of not only myself, but also for my husband and future children!
So in late 2007 I went bionic….I got a pump! Since then I’ve been pumping with the Minimed Paradigm 522 and have no intentions of ever going back to multiple daily injections! Sure there are frustrations with the pump, but it has allowed me to turn my diabetes management around completely! I got my A1C down into the 7s and then even into the 6s! This was something I never would have thought I could do pre-pump! I am definitely loving my pump! (Yay pump!) In early 2008 I also started on the CGMS and saw even more improvements in my diabetes care as a result!
Just prior to starting on the pump I had laser treatments for my retinopathy. It was an unpleasant experience both physically and emotionally, but the treatments did meet their intended goal and my retinopathy stabilized. (I’m going to gloss over this a bit here and deal with it more in a subsequent post.)
With both my diabetes and my retinopathy under control, in late 2008 my husband and I decided that we wanted to start a family, and both my endocrinologist and my ophthalmologist gave us the go-ahead! After a very brief period of trying to conceive, I was pregnant! The whole diabetes-and-pregnancy experience was something else! It was challenging and frightening and amazing all at once. In fact, this topic really deserves its own blog….so here it is: Life as a Pregnant Diabetic.
The long and short of it is that I ended up developing pre-eclampsia late in the pregnancy and I also had more developments with my retinopathy, more laser treatments, a haemorrhage in my left eye, and an early (36 weeks) c-section. This all happened in spite of my excellent control throughout the pregnancy. Also, in spite of my excellent control, because my daughter was early and an IDM (“infant of a diabetic mother”), she had a bit of trouble with feeding and breathing (two very important life-sustaining skills) at the very beginning (her lungs weren’t quite fully developed) and she had to stay in the Intermediate Care Nursery at the hospital for the first three weeks of her life.
Thankfully it all turned out well – my daughter is now almost 10 months old and she is perfect! She is a healthy happy baby with no lasting effects from her difficult start in this world. I, too, am happy and healthy, but I do still have some occasional bleeding in my left eye in spite of the fact that there have been no new developments in that eye since the pregnancy. It’s frustrating, but every time it bleeds it does clear up on its own, so I’m still holding out hope that one day soon it will stop being such a leaky faucet and I’ll be able to see clearly out of both eyes again! Regardless, everything I went through with the pregnancy was totally worth it to end up with my daughter! Definitely no regrets!
So that brings us to the present. Obviously diabetes has made itself pretty comfortable in my life, but I think I do a pretty good job of not letting it become my whole life. My goal is always to control it instead of letting it control me. Admittedly that’s easier said than done some days. This whole process is still a journey…and I’m really looking forward to blogging about it! I’m hoping that some of my experiences can help others in the same way that some of my favourite bloggers have helped me, but also that some of you can share your stories with me and become part of my journey!
Please do feel free to contact me through comments or via email (mewithd <at> gmail <dot> com)! I’d love to hear from you!