I have lived with type 1 diabetes since April of 1980. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disorder. For reasons nobody knows, my immune system has attacked a part of my pancreas. My pancreas is the organ responsible for micro-managing my blood sugar level. More often than once a second, it measures and adjusts multiple hormones, constantly keeping a perfect blood sugar; a job I now try to mimic. I have rudimentary tools, imperfect measurements, and lots of unknowns to contend with.
If the level of sugar (or glucose) in my blood is higher than normal, I am damaging my body. Over time, high blood sugars can cause all of the scary complications associated with diabetes (amputations, kidney failure, blindness, etc.). If the level of sugar in my blood is too low, I could die within minutes. Both extremes bring serious threats to my health. Those threats add a lot of psychological baggage to each minute of my day.
Living like that is hard and isolating. I am often the only person around who needs to do complicated mathematical equations before eating anything, before going anywhere, before mowing my lawn, shoveling snow, taking a walk, or before going to sleep at night. Diabetes is always on my mind, whether I like it or not. In my everyday life, I am alone. Even with my closest family and friends by my side.
I started writing about my life with type 1 diabetes in February of 2000. First as a way to journal, and keep records, maybe so one day my family could look back on my struggles and successes and better understand me. I started blogging late in 2004, when tools started making it much easier to self-publish. By then the writing evolved into a way for me to cope with diabetes.
Life with a chronic disease is full of many vague thoughts and feelings, and I found the exercise of putting words to those thoughts and feelings helpful. I wasn’t the only one. There were four or five others who also started blogging about their lives with diabetes. The Diabetes Online Community took off, and hasn’t slowed down since. A handful of us has turned into thousands of us. The support and encouragement I find “out there” is immeasurable, and plays a crucial role in my self-care.
I bring an honest and open account of my life with diabetes. I work hard to stay involved, and contribute as much as I can back to the community that has changed my life in such a beneficial way.
This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me (Scott K. Johnson) and is intended for the general public. I am not a medical professional, and nothing on this site should be construed as medical advice. Speak to your health care provider for questions specific to your situation.