I have been living with my Diabetes Diva for nearly six years now.
Six years filled with drama, sleepless nights, and frustration, but also amazing memories and lots of special encounters with inspiring people from all over the world.
I got diagnosed with a pensionary at the age of 14 on my first day of upper school. It was a pretty stressful time then – my mom, my two siblings and I were moving into a new house because my parents got divorced. Besides drinking a lot, I remember having to go to the toilet constantly, getting sick all the time, being super tired and struggling with painful foot cramps.
Fortunately, my aunt’s sister, who is working as a doctor at the children’s medical unit, instantly told my mom to take me to the hospital to get some blood tests done. If it were not for her, I don’t know what would have happened if she had not sent me to the hospital since my blood sugar was above 1200mg/dl (66.6 mmol/L) at the time of my diagnosis. There I had to stay for nearly 2 months, however, thanks to the amazing support of my medical team at the hospital, I quickly learned how to adapt to my new full-time job as working as my pancreas.
The first few weeks after getting out of the hospital were a bit challenging. Having to think about so many new things like testing your blood sugar, injecting insulin and carb counting while getting back to school, moving into a new place and preparing for upcoming exams. At first, I was a bit scared of what my new classmates & teachers would think about me – would they judge me because of my pensionary pancreas? During the first few weeks I would go to the toilet to inject my insulin because I was worried about what they might say to me. However, I quickly overcame my fear and became comfortable with injecting and testing my blood sugar in front of other people because there is nothing to hide. I started fully embracing type 1 diabetes, holding lectures about T1D in front of my classmates and visiting newly diagnosed kids to give them strength, support and to show them that they are not alone. Living with Type 1 Diabetes can be really tough and nerve-wracking sometimes. Having to take care of your body 24/7, 365 day of the year is a huge responsibility a performance you can be very proud of.
To share my thoughts & experiences, to motivate show other type 1 diabetics that you can live a great life with a pensionary pancreas, I got inspired to start an Instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/onnepe/) and writing my blog www.onne-pe.com where I write nutrition, vegan food, traveling and my journey with my Diabetes Diva.
Since then I got to attend medical conferences and blogger meetings in different cities & countries and got to meet so many inspiring & strong people from all over the world. Being part of the amazing diabetes online community is like having in a huge family. I just love how everyone is so supportive and that there is always someone you can talk to when you need something or when just feel the need to vent when it is one of those days where dealing with T1D feels a bit more challenging than on other days.
Like Oscar Wilde said: “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise” and I strongly agree with that. Living with Type 1 Diabetes is a challenge – but sometimes only the most challenging times only make us stronger.
I’ve grown and changed so much over the past years and diabetes definitely was a huge part of it. Living with a Diabetes is a large part of who I am, but it does not stop me from doing the things that I love or living the life that I choose.
Even though I would sometimes appreciate just taking a day off from all the blood sugar drama, thinking about changing infusion sets, lancets and counting carbs – I can definitely say that the diagnosis has changed my life for the better. I am extremely grateful for having access to insulin and advanced technology within diabetes care & the opportunity to wear an insulin pump as well as a CGM which makes everyday life so much easier. Dealing with diabetes can be very difficult and frustrating sometimes however it made me work harder and healthier. It taught me so much about my body, to love myself and to never give up. I want to inspire other diabetics to live beyond and to show them that living with this disease certainly does not stop you from living your best life. You can eat the food I enjoy, travel the world and explore new & exciting things.
All the love,