Today, Amina shares with us her diabetes diagnosis story — how it is like living with the disease.
That Friday evening six years ago, waiting at the physician’s clinic, remains till date a very vivid memory. What started as a usual day in the life of a 17 year old, took a sudden turn as my doctor announced a life long & never ending disease. Ironically, I was more interested in convincing my family and doctor to postpone my ‘ICU’ trip to Monday night – After I was done wrapping up a commercial photography project for a Fashion Designer.
I spent 3 weeks in the ICU at Lahore’s National Hospital amongst 12 other patients all around 70-80, as weird as it sounds, remains one of my most memorable memories. I made friends within the walls of the Intensive Care Unit. My night shift nurse would sneak in nimko for me during her lunch break & the doctors let me keep my phone despite the strict rules. I cried when I wasn’t allowed food even after 3 days, & exchanged smiles across the room with a young girl suffering from a hole in her heart. A saw people leave – some left to rejoin their families at home, while one left for her final abode.
The summer before O3, I got diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. The way I ate, slept, dreamt about life as a whole changed pretty fast. An insulin bag replaced my camera bag and i began my journey towards a never ending disease.
Somewhere in the middle of these 6 years, I developed another diabetic related complication called #KetoAcidosis which is a sudden attack that causes breathlessness, heavy heartbeat, continues vomiting and much more thats unexplainable to an average human who has never stepped inside my shoes. The pain that comes forth during DKA attacks is scientifically proven to be similar to a heart attack (and in this suffocating situation I’ve wished a peaceful death instead of another day of constant pain and misery).
This condition makes your blood levels rise and drop from time to time due to several reasons (management & self discipline with a total change of attitude is the only way forward), with its constant pressure to do better, to feel better – waking up every 30 mins (40 if you’re lucky) to use the washroom, having to inject 4 times a day for the rest of my life, to constant headaches and pains are more of a mental state of suffering than a physical one.
People often ask me, what aren’t you allowed to eat, i tell them ask me what I am allowed to eat. The list is shorter. While I’ve learnt to somewhat live with it, there are internal & external reactions that are completely out of my control. Like weight loss and weight gain at certain parts of my body, swelling on my face and legs as well as marks from bruises never healing.
Ive been personally targeted for having diabetes throughout my bullying in A1. I do look back now and laugh “Usko diabetes hai, bohat achi baat hai, main tou pouri bottle sugar ki uske mou mein dal dun gi, maar dun gi use. Mera mamu ISI mein hai main tou use uthwa lun gi”. CRINGE… LIKE GIRL?? ARE YOU TWO??? (I did not know ISI had nothing better to do). Pity how someones source of happiness comes from trying to bring others down based on their health & weaknesses. How unhappy and desperate can you really be to go down that road and feel proud about it. Ps. Funny how the girl still stalks/views my insta stories despite not following me. Oops.
The world is full of hatred and ignorance, people like to step on others to make themselves feel better due to their own misery’s and unhappiness. Please be good to anyone and everyone with or without a reason. Stop assuming you know enough about these diseases to control the person going through it. Ive heard a lot of individuals from our society pass judgement through carefully picked up words – stigmatising and indirectly making me (us) feel incapable of marriage or children.
In these 6 years, I’ve gotten used to this new lifetime full of medicines and sharp needles/injections. And even though this way of living is nothing near easy, though the only times i felt weak was when exposed to the treatment, harsh words and lack of understanding by others. Every year I struggle with new side effects of taking these external Insulin injections. While I have overcome some of the previously experienced painful reactions like Keto Acidosis, though since the past 2 years i have been struggling with extreme body heat and thirst for ice cold water only (not being able to maintain normal energy levels in the summers. And most importantly the mental stress due to not being able enjoy physical activities like others of my age.
Regardless of all the bullying and the darker side of diabetes, I’m extremely grateful for these challenges because they’ve shown me the strength I carry everyday with me. The way I battle pain from time to time in silence (one of the biggest ways diabetics feel helpless is how others fail to understand and give us our personal space – something as small as accepting our need to drink cold water)
Live and let live! ”
Sweet without sugar! You’re super strong, Amina 🌟
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