The Faces Of Diabetes: Meet Ashlynn

It’s easy to stay informed of the various diseases and illnesses in the world today. That’s why it’s so remarkable that misconceptions about Type 1 Diabetes persist.

I understand that T1D isn’t covered in the media as much as Cancer and Heart Disease. There are still plenty of people who don’t know anyone with T1D. The most common encounter with Diabetes is usually Type 2 for which there is prevention and a way out safely.

I’m hoping to get a series started called The Faces of Diabetes. I want you to hear about life with Type 1 Diabetes from the people who live with it. It’s important to see a face, feel their emotion, and gain insight beyond the stats.

Without further ado, ladies and gentleman, it’s time to meet Ashlynn:

AshlynnGrowing up for anyone and everyone is an adventure with its ups and downs. A roller-coaster if you’d like to say, emotionally, mentally, and physically. Childhood is filled with joy for most. You start school, have amazing imaginations, meet friends, have sleepovers, birthday parties you look forward to all year, and much much more. But some kids are less fortunate, more than you would know by just looking at them. When you see them you a see a smile and figure they are living a normal life or childhood. Little do you know that child’s body fights against them every minute of every day. Let me give you an insight of the life a child with type one diabetes goes through, they may look okay, but they’re not.

From the day I was born I was an extremely witty child. I had an attitude that was cute to most, everyone but my mother. At the age of two I got “Hand Foot Mouth” which was common for young kids to get. It eventually went away but my mother says “after it went away everyone could tell you were not the same”. Time went on like usual and at the age of four i was diagnosed with T1D.

My grandmother said that I would beg her for a glass of water, drink the whole cup, hand it back to her and ask for more. I was drinking enormous amounts of water and going to the bathroom just as much and she finally said I needed to get checked out. I went to the hospital my other grandmother worked at and the first thing they did was check my blood sugar (measuring the amount of sugar in the blood stream) it was way higher than a normal kid’s. She told my dad that he needed to rush me to a different hospital (Children’s Hospital, the one I was at didn’t really specialize in diabetes). That was the day, or should I say night, that I was diagnosed with T1D.

I stayed there for a whole week while they taught me and my family how to care for a child with juvenile diabetes. Nothing was ever the same after that. I went from that happy witty kid to an extremely mature 4 year old. I hated myself. I  hated my life. I hated the injections. I would run and hide trying to hide from the pain of a needle hitting my skin just because I ate a cracker. My mom used to have to chase me and tackle me and pin me to the ground, hold me so I wouldn’t move or run, holding back the tears, while my step dad would stab me with the needle to eat.

Kiss holidays goodbye. I wasn’t normal anymore. Halloween? I could dress up. Yeah, I could go door to door yeah. Once my whole bag of candy disappeared. Christmas? I could help bake the cookies and decorate the Christmas tree, but when everyone ate that amazing looking cake and cookies I couldn’t join them.

I was on a strict diet plan. I had to eat at the same time every day and the same amount of carbs every time. All I ever got from anyone was “sorry”. I’m still hungry mom! “sorry”. I’m full I don’t want to finish my plate mom! “Sorry”. There was no “snacking” there was no “I’ll just take one bite to fill me up until dinner”. It was the same routine and the same thing every day.

So I hated holidays. I couldn’t be like my brother and sister and grab a cookie and run and play, because it was out of routine. Kiss having fun at school goodbye. Trust me, you look at kids and think they’re innocent. Every kid I grew up with didn’t just “make fun” of me, but literally quarantined me because I was “contagious”. I had rude teachers who blamed me for being Diabetic, and they always thought I would use my blood sugar being high or low as an excuse.

Sleepovers? Forget it! Staying at a friends house or overnight birthday party meant I –  the “diabetic kid” –  was their parents responsibility. What parent would want to be responsible for me if something bad happened? My childhood was rough so I blocked everyone out and hated the world. I can’t even count how many times growing up that I’ve laid on the floor and cried and blamed God for this.

Let me break this down a little more. This is a day in the life of a diabetic…

You wake up, and your head hurts a little bit. You pull out your meter, poke your finger, draw a little blood and put it to the meter. 460!! Wow, that’s pretty high! You decide what you’re having for breakfast: two slices of toast with peanut butter. Okay, here’s the tricky part..

(15g x 2) + 10= 40g

40g/4=10 Units

So that’s the carbs you are about to eat. Each piece of bread has 15 carbs in it (g=grams). Multiply that by 2 because you’re having 2 slices, then add 10 for the peanut butter. Then you divide 40 by 4 (in my case) because I get one unit of insulin for every 4 grams I eat which all comes out to 10 units. Now to fix that 460 blood sugar!

460 – 100 = 360

360/20=18 units

So your blood sugar was 460, you take 460 and subtract 100 because 100 is the PERFECT number to be at, it’s like every diabetics target number! Then you divide 360 by 20 (in my case) because every unit brings down by 20 so 18 units of insulin “should” (in a perfect world) bring you down to 100.

Okay everything is ready, you take out your insulin. Leg, arm, stomach, or butt? Stomach, well hm, left side or right? Right side (remember this because you need to rotate where you inject). Get 28 units together now inject this clear burning liquid into the right side of your stomach.

This is just breakfast.

You have to this all day every day. every time you eat, every time you don’t feel good, every time you exercise. ALL DAY.

Diabetes breaks you down mentally, emotionally, and physically. People don’t see this side. They don’t see the daily struggle it creates or what diabetics go through. They don’t see the people waking up not wanting to get out of bed because they are so tired of the same routine!

Type One Diabetes has made me build a hard shell exterior, almost like the tin man. I had to be strong. I had to be brave. Yet diabetes is one of the most shamed diseases among us! People do not know the struggle we face every day.

hopeWhen most people hear diabetes they associate it with food, obesity, sugar, and many misconceptions when its actually much much more than that!

Diabetes is a war inside our own bodies. We can’t put the white flag up. It’s either fight every single day for the rest of our lives, or surrender and die. The scary part is knowing we have that choice to either fight or die every day. We don’t live. We have to wake up and choose to live, and choose to fight or our life is gone just like that.

Diabetes isn’t pretty. We are not looked at as strong people. We are looked at like it’s our fault that we are diabetic. It’s nothing we ever did. But we are strong, every one of us. Because we wake up every single day and choose to fight. — Ashlynn

Thank you, Ashlynn! It’s incredibly brave for you to share your story with all of us! I hope you opened some eyes, and gave hope and strength to others out there. You can find Ashlynn on Facebook, and she also keeps a blog on Tumblr themed for the life and struggles of T1D.

Let’s continue to give voice to those who need to be heard. T1D belongs in the history books as a disease we cured. Thank you all for your support. Let’s keep rolling together until Type 1 becomes Type None!

About Lonnie Scott

The Founder of The Skate For Diabetes, The Owner & Hypnotist / Meditation Coach at The Mattoon Hypnosis Center, Mastermind Writer at Tribe Awakened, Contributing Writer for Who Forted, lover of laughter and the weird, jam skating addict, proud father, and leader of the Cult of Awesome!

Comments

  1. Joann Reinhart says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. Well done. I will share Ashlynn’s story with my family and friends – we all need to be thankful for our good health, and help those who need a cure!

  2. Ashlynn, if you ever need someone to talk to feel free to call or text me. I told Lonnie to give you my number. I don’t have diabetes, but know how it is to have to live with something that is always on your mind, with major lifestyle changes, and has no cure…yet. I hopened you are having a good day!

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