I’ve always looked on the sunny side of things, and it has been my saving grace in dealing with type 1 diabetes since I was 13 years old.
When I was diagnosed, I truly did not realize the severity of type 1, nor did I understand how much it would change my life. I was a teenager and naturally thin: close to my current height of 5 feet, 10 inches, and well below 100 pounds before my diagnosis. Simple tasks at home and school—even walking—had become more than challenging.
My family and I thought a strep throat diagnosis explained the issue, until I collapsed on my living room floor. I was taken to the hospital, where my blood glucose was sky high, and my family quickly realized that I was alive solely by the grace of God.
I have since had terrifying trips to the intensive care unit and days where I feel pitiful and think, “Why me?” Thankfully, those are few and far between. At 32, I still try to keep my attitude up, even when complications from this demanding disease sometimes set me back. I am more than thankful for a family that would do anything for me, supports me continually, and pushes me to live a full life.
I find any opportunity to talk about diabetes. I love when people ask me questions about it because it is such a large, dominating part of my life—almost like a tumultuous relationship. Some days, I speak about how it has genuinely made me stronger and more responsible, how it serves as a reminder to be kind because everyone is fighting some sort of battle. Other days, I may shrug and show you the continuous glucose monitor that displays my roller coaster of highs and lows. Sometimes that graph says it all.
Mary Tyler Moore, one of the most well-known celebrities with type 1, once said, “You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” How true. Diabetes has made me brave, and my path is made of victories against the disease as well as rough patches where I never thought I would live a healthy, normal life again.
I think about diabetes every minute of my life, and while that is unfortunate, it will also keep me alive.
Lindsay Taylor Combs, 32, lives every day to the fullest and uses her disease as motivation to overcome life’s obstacles. She is the marketing director for an international health care company as well as a jewelry designer for her own company, Lela Ray Jewelry, named after her late grandmother. She lives in Kentucky with her two rescue pups, Yoshi and Pearl.
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