If you live with Type 1 diabetes, you have your Story of DLife! If you’d live to share your life story, thoughts, feelings, triumphs and challenges, skill sets and tricks/tips, wisdom or search for wisdom, even humor and/or laughter, we are all ears (and pumps, meters, etc.!).
Here’s the Story of Priscilla Faubel, a T1 for over 50 years. She sees, “the light at the end of the tunnel” … and despite still hating diabetes, embraces the D community and the compassion born of this struggle.
Want to know more about Priscilla? Listen in Thursday, 30 November 2017, 2pm pst to The Bonnie Sher Show on UBN Radio.
Listen online at ubnradio.com/artists/the-bonnie-sher-show/
Join the conversation 323.843.2826 #BSherRadio
Interact LIVE with questions and comments by telephone: 323‐843‐2826 and on Twitter, @1bonniesher or #BSherRadio.
From Denial to Acceptance
When I first became diabetic over 50 years ago, I had a lot of strange notions. I believed that if I ate anything with sugar in it, I would die. I believed I wouldn’t live to be middle aged. I believed I would probably would be blind. I believed I wasn’t okay and that diabetes was something to hide. When I look back I had good reason to feel this way.
My first day back at school after my diagnosis, the teacher asked me to explain to the class about diabetes. This was a disaster. I was soon labeled as having “cooties” and I was just held apart as different. I had to leave class half an hour before lunch so that when I went home for lunch I could test my urine. I never had lunch with the other kids. Life was miserable and I hated it. I felt defeated… until… I went to war with my diabetes.
One day I saw a girl in my class who also had diabetes eat a cinnamon roll. I thought to myself, poor Chris, she doesn’t know she is going to die. But, much to my surprise, she showed up for school the next day. Wow… I learned that I could eat cookies and survive. This was a revelation!
Back in those days, control was not easy. I would go to my doctor’s appointments and it seemed like, even without the cookies, I never got it right. My parents were either unhappy because I had a low blood sugar at a bad time (for them although when was there ever a good time?) or my urine tests were not good. It was another one of those lose/lose situations. So, I figured out if I never ran low, I cut out one problem. And if I just used water instead of urine when I tested I could always have perfect tests. This may sound terrible and in today’s world it really would be a bad choice. But back then, it didn’t seem to matter how hard I tried or what I did. I was doomed to bad control because, back then in the stone age, a little girl like me didn’t have the tools or knowledge to make it any better.
I spent many years in this denial period. Really just trying to survive in my own way. Hating diabetes and yet somehow wanting to find a better way. But whenever I took the initiative to find a better way, it seemed I hit a dead end. It was not like today when you can just get on the internet and find an abundance of information. I went to my doctor who thought I should eat more pasta and less meat. The food pyramid was the right way to eat in those days. My tests were worse and once again I felt defeated.
Complications set in, retinopathy and neuropathy. Diabetes was exacting a huge tool on my body. Oh, how I hated this disease. But, I stepped up my search for a better way. And just as things were the darkest (literally as I was in Memphis awaiting eye surgery) the light began to dawn. There was a blood testing machine, a glucometer that I could use to better monitor my diabetes. Then, I found a doctor who told me about compensatory insulin so I could do something if my blood sugar was high to bring it down. And yes, there were better insulins, faster acting. I felt like I might have a fighting chance.
That was the beginning of my journey from anger and hate to a better acceptance of both diabetes and myself.
Now I was engaged in battle with my Diabetes. Testing, exercising, taking compensatory insulin. My A1c’s came down from 14 to 8. But my doctor didn’t think that was good and the old feeling of defeat was starting to rear its ugly head. Then, there was another great miracle in my life. I met someone who very casually shared that she was on an insulin pump. It just so happened that she was the facilitator for an insulin pump support group. Hmmmm an insulin pump. I had rejected them back when they were new and I had a friend that needed to go to the hospital on a regular basis because she accidentally bolused herself or tangled up her tubing. Was it time to revisit this? It hadn’t even occurred to me.
I remember my first meeting so clearly. I looked around the room at all these people who were not only surviving but thriving on insulin pumps. I listened to all the beeping of the pumps and couldn’t begin to imagine trusting this. But by the next meeting I had made my decision to give it a try. OMG… I LOVED it! For the first time in my memory I felt good. It felt as if every little cell in my body had been dying of thirst and the *drip* *drip* *drip* of the insulin was like water in the desert. This is when I started advocating for pumps. Instead of being ashamed of being diabetic, I wanted to share this new-found miracle. It was also the beginning of life for me in the diabetic world where I could share and feel like a part of a community. A place where I was no longer alone in shame but supported and applauded.
Since then I have been on lots of diabetic adventures. I have met the most wonderful people, many of whom I consider friends. I have gone from shots of Lente to closed looping. I have gone from a family that had difficulty dealing with my diabetes to a husband , stepson and daughter in law who embrace my looping and are right in my corner all the time.
Diabetes has taken some things from me. But honestly… I have gained so much from my experiences that I truly can’t be angry any more. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. My grandfather told me when I first became diabetic that there would be a cure in a year. I’ve heard so much about so many cures over the years…but… I do see an artificial pancreas coming in my lifetime and a cure for the young people who are diabetic. It is an exciting time to be diabetic. Although this may sound strange, and there are days I still hate diabetes, for the most part, I embrace the D community what has welcomed me and the sensitivity and compassion that living with D has extruded from the depths of my soul.
About the Guest Blogger: Priscilla Faubel has had type 1 diabetes for over 50 years and has traveled the road from denial to a mostly comfortable relationship with Diabetes. She has been a professional harpist, elementary school teacher and marketing director, and is currently the president of Vanowen Realty LLC a family owned business that owns and manages commercial property throughout Southern California. She lives with her husband and two cats, one of whom (Cody) is a Type 1 Diabetic (and has been featured on The Savvy Diabetic).