Contributed by: Kristen Marie
Reviewed by: Evelyn Corsini, MSW, June 2012
Kristen Marie is 23 years old and lives in Illinois where she is an office worker and attends a community college.
I live everyday dealing with diabetic neuropathy. I have a twin sister who has had Type 1 diabetes since she was about 18 months old. My parents and I figured that when I turned 18 we wouldn’t have to worry about me developing diabetes. Well, when I turned 19, I did develop Type 1 Diabetes.
I have had a hard time dealing with this disease and trying to keep it under control. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, it wouldn’t be where I wanted it to be. After 3 years of having diabetes, I then developed diabetic neuropathy. Usually this type of chronic pain is located in your hands and feet but as for me, it has affected my entire body. This is the worst pain I have ever been in. I try so many things to help me feel better when my pain is really bad, but there aren’t too many quick remedies.
Something that does help make my body feel better is when I go swimming. The water has to be cool. I can’t go into a hot tub because the hot water makes my neuropathy flare up. When I first developed this pain, it enhanced my depression and all I wanted to do was lay in bed and watch my life pass my by.
I got a call from a job that I have been trying to get for a while, saying that they wanted to hire me. A lot of thought ran thru my head. “Can I do this”? “Can I physically do this”? It took a lot of strength and will power, but I got up for my first day and did it. It was very hard and I knew that once I got back into the flow of working everyday, it would only become easier. I just had to get over that first bump of starting it.
If there is anyone out there dealing with the same issue I am, all I can suggest is fight it. I try so hard everyday to make sure this chronic pain doesn’t tear me down and break me. I try to keep a positive attitude and have some humor about it. I always joke that when its hard for me to get up that I feel like I’m 80. I am on a few medications which do help me function. I also currently started going to acupuncture. Surprisingly, this has helped me quite a bit.
Some days I am down, but I try to make sure that it doesn’t happen often. I have a wonderful boyfriend whom I live with and have been with for over a year. He tried so hard to understand my pain and find ways to help me through it. I’ve learned that the bigger the support system you have, the better. Sometimes just going out and having a good time makes the pain less. The hardest part is just the thought of getting up and doing something. I argue with my mind and body everyday, but in the long run it benefits me to get up and live my life the way I want to live it.
Of course there are some things I would like to do that I can’t anymore, but I at least try. Living with this pain has taught me not to take things for granted. Before I was diagnosed with diabetes & neuropathy, I was training to become a firefighter. I was also involved in many sports and activities. I try to keep my chin up and stay positive. My Mother always tells me that God has a plan for me and this is just part of it. I’d like to think that is true. That’s why I hold on so strongly.