A few days after my low blood sugar scare I went for a hike with a friend and our dogs (man, I miss the hikes in the beautiful Pacific NW!) armed with my blood glucose meter and a stash of glucose tabs. I was afraid of hiking alone again until I got a bit more confident with my new self, so the company helped. She didn’t know anything about diabetes, but told me to put her number on speed dial and give her a call if something scary ever happened again when I was alone. Luckily I never had to call her, but it was nice to have an emergency plan. In fact, I think I have been extremely lucky that I never ended up in the ER, since from what I hear that’s how most people find out about their condition.
To help me out of my blues my friend invited me to go clubbing with a bunch of friends of hers. That was the first time since my diagnosis so I was a bit nervous. At that point I had cut out all alcohol from my diet because I did not know how it would affect me, in fact I didn’t think I could ever drink again. So I went to order a soda just so I could hold something in my hand and the barman thought I was the designated driver so he gave it to me for free (I didn’t even know they did that!). I drank my boring sugar-free soda (and I don’t even like sodas!) while everyone else was chugging down beers and cocktails. Of course that made me feel even more of an outcast. I never got drunk when I went out but I do admit a couple of drinks definitely helped me take the edge off in social situations. Most of all, people who drink are only funny to other people who drink. The sober eye sees the drinkers (or drunks…) through a whole different lens and, well, sees that in reality they are not funny at all. I painfully made it through that night and decided that I no longer wanted to go out anywhere if that’s how it was supposed to be.
One of the biggest problems I found after my diagnosis was really the lack of education, or the lack of an experienced ear to talk to. It almost felt like I had to live with an imposed death sentence. I know now that I didn’t have to renounce to anything, I just had to learn how to deal with it. I never had met anyone else with Type 1 diabetes, so I didn’t have that kind of support. The dietitian and the educator nurse at the doctor’s office really don’t go through all those details, so at least in my case I was just left there as a deer in the headlights. This was probably the hardest part: I needed to have a good support network because in the beginning it’s too tough to face alone. I did hear that they organized kid’s camps for newly diagnosed children, but there was nothing for adults. Granted, the majority of Type 1s do get it when they are kids or teens, so getting it as an adult is still not as common, but adults are just as lost as kids, if not more!