Eight years ago, I couldn’t be happier for the next phase of my life. I was a healthy pregnant lady without any pregnancy-related symptoms. I could eat well and sleep well, two most important things during that phase. My baby was healthy and growing well. Almost smooth-running pregnancy suddenly turned the rest of my life drastically. I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, which in almost all cases reverts back to normal after delivery. I was taking 4 insulin shots per day during my last trimester and it was definitely a struggle to control but managed to have an uncomplicated delivery. The only complication was that my glucose levels didn’t stabilize after delivery and I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. A year passed by on metformin but gradually diabetes stopped responding to most of the oral medications I was prescribed. It was totally out of control despite all the dietary and physical efforts for 2 yrs. Being underweight since the beginning, I lost 8Kgs in those 2 years. I felt weak and looked sick. I had to quit my job for a short while. My family, friends, and colleagues worried about me and everyone looked at me with sympathy. My sisters used to make fun of me calling names- a skeleton, an x-ray.

Soon, I was diagnosed to have Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY), a kind neither type 1 or type 2 but the one which starts at a younger life and some like to call it as 1.5 diabetes. I didn’t think what, why, and how; but I all knew from my doctor was, I will remain insulin-dependent for the rest of my life.

I was 32 yrs then, in a state of shock. I cried almost the entire night that day. I had to come to terms with the fact that this chronic condition will remain until the rest of my existence. I had to work towards getting back to normal, get back my glucose levels under control. Counting my doses, keeping a check on my food, dealing with the side-effects, and worrying about diabetic complications is a full-time job. I felt embarrassed to inject insulin in public places. Being a foodie, it was an everyday struggle to control my craving and desires, those that I didn’t even have during pregnancy. I was the laziest person in my family, but I had to hit the gym, do yoga, go for walks regularly to get back my health on to right path.

Overtime, I realized it is no more “Fighting diabetes” but “Living with diabetes”. Yes, life changes a lot not only for us but also people in our lives. They have to think when to go out, where to go out, what to cook. It’s a daily routine that doesn’t have to be stressed about. I still live the other part of my life normally- do a 9-5 job, spend with family, go out with friends, continue my hobbies on weekends, travel as often as I can. I never let go of any opportunity to pick up and learn a new hobby. Some say, I tend be “a Jack of all trades” but I see it as an opportunity to explore every little thing that make me happy and rediscover myself. Having said all that, I am just a normal person with basic instincts; I still eat out sometimes, indulge in junk food, and try different kinds of food. Thanks to all the innovation and development, we have insulin pens and pumps, diagnostic needles and strips, monitoring device patches etc. Few decades ago, life of a diabetic wasn’t this easy and a few decades later it is going to drastically improve.

This message goes out to every person living with diabetes. Diabetes does not discriminate. It did not choose you because you belong to a specific age, gender, group, ethnicity, race, region or country. It can happen to anyone. Its not your fault, neither your parents’ or ancestors’ that you are diabetic. It does not matter which type of diabetes you have – type 1 or 2, MODY or LADA; all that matters is how you take charge every single day to manage it the best possible way you can. Each one of us has a different struggle and respond differently to the condition. No one knows your type better than you. Remember, you are not alone. We are in this together. Its our responsibility for educating and spreading awareness about better health choices for the future generations. Let’s move ahead with perseverance, pride, and gratitude. Be your own cheerleader!

Join Sushma and other diabetic travelers by joining our community!