By HGYC Member Melissa Slemp
Fifty-six thousand nine hundred and forty (56, 940), this is the number of insulin shots I have given myself in 39 years living with type 1 diabetes.
Bet you are saying, WOW that is a lot of shots. Yes, it is but when you are in it, knowing what is necessary to survive, our inner resolve naturally takes over.
We all face obstacles in life, how we view and decide how to reframe this is essential to living our purpose.
It took years for me to understand the purpose of my diagnosis. I felt bitter focusing on the pain in my earlier years, struggling to manage the day to day. Each of us has something unique to offer, this was my true reason, and it is where I draw my strength.
To help you better understand my journey, let me explain Type 1 diabetes and how I chose to turn this into an opportunity to inspire other women living with diabetes.
With type 1 diabetes, because our body no longer produces insulin, we are dependent on injecting insulin when we eat carbohydrates. It is a math equation for sure. The body’s immune system attacks part of its own pancreas. Scientists are not sure why. But the immune system mistakenly sees the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as foreign and destroys them. This attack is known as "autoimmune" disease. These cells – called “islets” (pronounced EYE-lets) – are the ones that sense glucose in the blood and, in response, produce the necessary amount of insulin to normalize blood sugars.
Diagnosed 39 years ago when I was 14 years old, I really struggled as a teenager. Confused and felt very isolated. Diabetes for many of us in the mid eighty’s was a silent hidden disease. Internet and available resources for support just was not available at that time. Because I did not know how important it was to check my blood glucose regularly, I was clueless to what was really going on with my health. So, for my first ten years I just ate what I wanted, took the same short and long-acting insulin injections each day. Still staying active...but when this all added up my blood sugar averaged too high.
As a result, when I was twenty-five, I woke up one day and noticed floaters in both eyes, which is like seeing blobs of blood. So I immediately saw an Ophthalmology and was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy (damaged blood vessels). Thankfully, I received the laser surgery treatment in both eyes to repair my weak leaking blood vessels, and to prevent the possibility of future blindness. Ten years with out-of-control blood glucose levels, led me to this health complication with diabetes.
This was frightening news and a wake-up call…facing that I may go blind if my blood sugars did not improve. I quickly got on board with a plan to better manage my disease. Time for a healthier routine…my decision to thrive and my purpose was soon becoming clearer.
These 29+ years after my “wake up call” and needing to save my eyesight, feel healthier and get back in control…I began and continue with a routine to keep me on track and thrive. Spent years confused about food, and how it affected my blood sugar and did not connect this to how my body wasn’t functioning at its best every day.
Now committed to a healthy routine of whole foods, daily movement, and lifestyle practices that support my diabetes rather than detour it.
A consistent routine may sound boring, predictable, does not feel good or even taste good. Well, the opposite is true... the alternative is a blood sugar roller coaster ride, and that for sure does not feel good or taste good! Prefer to conquer diabetes on my terms “slow and steady” and by keeping a daily routine, I realize the health benefits far outweigh the negative tone any routine may have.
The rewards just kept coming, as I had a healthy pregnancy with my daughter Sarah, now 25 years old! Continue now to live abundantly with diabetes by staying consistent with my diet, exercise, and other lifestyle practices to stay in control of my health.
I health coach these same practices for women diagnosed with any type of diabetes (type 1, 2 or prediabetes). Help women to begin with where they are, decide where they want to be… and to make changes based on their individuality. Reflect, that if I had other women to talk with about diabetes, a mentor who understood me, I could have avoided the years I struggled.
It is amazing how strong we are and how much we can do to feel our best each day when we surround ourselves with support.
Journaling my thoughts has been empowering, an opportunity to SEE exactly where I started, the steps, my feelings written down.
I no longer feel lost, and I have found a purpose to turn what I learned from my own experience and struggles, into helping other women avoid suffering.
Self-reflect, what struggle(s) can you see has strengthened you and can be reframed as your true purpose?
You have lived it, felt it, learned from it, and should now use it as your unique superpower to share. Purpose here is now truly clear. Now it is your turn!
Melissa Slemp is a Certified Integrative Nutritional Health Coach, specializing in blood sugar control. She's been living with insulin dependent diabetes (type 1) for 39 years and found her way to thrive while managing this disease. Through personally understanding the daily challenges, decided to specialize in diabetes to help women also achieve full health. She supports clients in balancing their nutrition, exercise and lifestyle habits to reach blood sugar and health goals. She consistently guides her health with the 5-Step Framework and coaches this to women who want to build a sustainable health strategy and feel amazing again! Subscribe and connect with Melissa, Download a Free Chia Seed Pudding Recipe https://abundant-health-with-melissa.ck.page/69c9e09503
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