Friday, November 14, 2014

Living with diabetes

I’ve spent much of this month writing and sharing about adoption around here. But I recently learned November is also National Diabetes Awareness Month. 

For the past decade, I’ve been injecting insulin since my Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis. I was going on 25 and settling into what would become our hometown not even two years into marriage when my doctor – who I met for the first time that day – told me my pancreas wasn’t producing insulin. I needed to be hospitalized to get my 500-something blood sugar down and have a crash course on drawing insulin into syringes, injecting said insulin, monitoring my blood sugar levels, and counting carbohydrates. Every bit of this was new to me.

{Read more about my diagnosis and treatment since in a post from earlier this year.}

I barely read nutrition levels before I spent three days in the hospital learning the basics of diabetes while discovering feeling better – energized, rested – really was possible. I didn’t know I felt so bad until I started feeling good again.

I was scared to leave the hospital. I was scared to manage this disease. I was worried about food choices and insulin intake. I felt burdened by these new responsibilities. But I just did it. The fear drove me to learn and manage and cope.

Thankfully, diabetes doesn’t scare me anymore. Sometimes I think I’ve actually become too comfortable.

I don’t inject insulin with syringes anymore. I wear an insulin pump that mimics a working pancreas. It’s programmed with ratios and formulas that actually give me more freedom – something I was suspicious of before I had a pager-sized device in my pocket or waist band nearly all of the time.

I’ve learned more since January 2004 than I ever did in a high school or college science class. I’ve had doctors care for me in the medical and intellectual ways I needed to move forward and manage this chronic condition in ways I would never be able to do alone. I’ve learned when to best exercise and can nearly always guess at my blood sugar level based on how I feel.

Like anything in life, there’s still room to learn more and do even better caring for myself. So that’s what I’m thinking about this month.

Want more stories? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."


  1. One of these days I will share my son's story. His blood sugar was over 900 by the time we got him to the hospital. I'm ever so grateful for my younger sister, who also has Type 1 Diabetes, who helped us act when we did. I know living with diabetes is not easy. Thanks for sharing and bringing awareness.

  2. KristinHillTaylor11/14/2014 1:37 PM

    As a mom, that must have been so scary! I'd like to hear the whole story sometime.

  3. Thank you for sharing this story, Kristin! It is so nice to see someone who is in a positive, healthy place with this disease. My daughter was diagnosed Type 1 when she was 7. She is about to turn 21 and is now on an insulin pump. In some ways it has been wonderful, but it has had a few drawbacks. She doesn't seem to check her blood sugar as much now that she can privately dial in the insulin. I think since she doesn't have to get out her shot, her blood sugar checker doesn't come out as often. We lost her dad to Type 1 diabetes a year and a half before she was diagnosed so it has been a rough road. Overall, she does really well with it, but it is a heavy burden for a young girl, as I'm sure you know. I so appreciate people like you raising awareness.

  4. I don't think I knew this about your son, Beth! Yet another thing we have in common, my friend. XOXO!

  5. KristinHillTaylor11/19/2014 7:41 AM

    I'm sorry to hear about your family's struggles with diabetes. It's a serious matter, that's for sure! I hope your daughter continues taking care of herself. Thanks for sharing a piece of your story here.

  6. Thanks for sharing your story Kristin. My son in law (not much older than you were at your diagnosis) was just diagnosed with Type II diabetes and ready to start his own journey. I love how well you have coped.

  7. KristinHillTaylor11/19/2014 3:15 PM

    I hope he can be encouraged in his journey - it's certainly not always easy but manageable.