A new month brings a sense of new beginnings. A blank slate. I’m going back to the basics and ready to re-learn everything I was taught regarding type 1 diabetes 12 years ago- when I began a lifetime relationship with my Paradigm MiniMed insulin pump. I started using an insulin pump because I had an amazing opportunity to travel to Europe with family friends. But in order to go I had to be comfortable with an insulin pump which would give me more freedom than twice daily insulin injections at 14 years old did. I’ve had the pump for the past 12 years, but once again it seems completely new to me. While I was in control over a decade ago, I have in the last 8 or 9 years become a victim of my pump. All through college and my post grad life I didn’t check my blood as often as a T1D should. In fact there were periods of time that I would go weeks without once pricking my finger. And then I’d feel bad about it and start checking religiously for about a week. I never gave myself meal boluses and relied only on my obscenely high basal rate and occasional correction boluses. I’d run out of insulin in my pump and often go about a day or two before changing it. I forgot how to count carbs. I even forgot what foods to avoid. Instead of gaining the dreaded Freshman 15, I lost about 20 pounds. But I can’t say I’m surprised. After eating pizza, bagels, ice cream and pasta every night in the dining hall for 4 years and not getting any insulin for it, it’s no wonder all my clothes were falling off me and I had to start shopping in the children’s department. I didn’t realize what I was doing and didn’t even recognize the link between my weight loss and state of denial until I read an article about what is commonly known as ‘the black diet’, when diabetics purposely refrain from taking insulin just to lose weight. I don’t think I’ve fully processed that moment. Even after I read that article and realized what I was doing to my body I didn’t change. Sure, there were times I’d vow that I’d check my blood 6 times a day and count all the carbs I ate for each meal and eat healthy, quality foods. And I’d start out living up to the promises I made myself, but like clockwork, within a month I’d fall easily back into my old habits.
I don’t know what’s different now. Maybe it’s because I’m closer to 30 than I am to 20. Maybe it’s because I got married last year and it’s not just about me anymore. Maybe it’s because I’m feeling more like a grown up. Maybe it’s because eventually I want to have kids and I’ve seen Steel Magnolias (spoiler alert….don’t see Steel Magnolias). Maybe it’s because I’ve told myself for years how serious T1D management is and now I’m finally ready to do something about it. Whatever the case, I’m working closely with my fabulous endo who has seen cases like mine hundreds of times and who truly cares about her patients. I’m meeting with her and an amazing dietician who has completely changed my perception of quality diabetic meals once a month and I’m going to do everything I can to take back control. I’ll probably mess up, but this time I won’t let it stop me.