Diabetes, my best friend

minute read
September 19, 2022
A pair of hands coming together to form a heart.
Note: Image for illustration only. It does not show the author of this story.

When I was 12 I was diagnosed with psoriasis (a disease that causes itchy, scaly patches to form on your skin). As a child, it was a very painful experience to have my head, joints and skin fully covered with psoriasis. Nobody wanted to talk with me or sit with me. I faced hatred from everyone.

It was only when I was 18 that I got diagnosed with diabetes, which I had inherited from my parents, and learned that was the reason I had psoriasis.

First diagnosis

When the doctor told me, “You are suffering from diabetes,” at first I was shocked. Then he said, “You will suffer from diabetes and skin psoriasis your whole life.”

What upset me most though was not that I had diabetes; my father and his forefathers were all diabetics and heart patients, and I expected to have diabetes at some point in my life. What upset me most was that I had the disease at such a young age, and I already had a complex because of my skin psoriasis. Now I had to deal with that and this new disease as well.

My diabetes made me feel thirsty all the time. It also made me urinate again and again, even though I decided not to drink plenty of water because I didn’t want to go to the washroom at night.

My diabetes also made me lose a lot of weight, to the point I was seriously underweight and facing serious health conditions.

Ketones were present in my urine in enormous concentrations. Sometimes I felt tired and weak. Wounds healed slowly. My eyesight was blurry. My hair began to fall out. My immune system was weak, and I got a lot of infections, such as gum, skin and vaginal. And my mood swung from very good to shouting at my family.

And all these things were happening because of diabetes.

My doctor told me that in the future it could get worse. My diabetes could cause very serious health issues, including neurological problems, heart-related complications, poor eyesight and kidney failure.

Learning more about my diabetes

Two major factors led to my diabetes and my other health complications.

First, I didn’t have regular health checks or follow-ups from medical professionals. Without strong support, and a healthy environment, my condition was made worse. I was anaemic, and the hot weather was bad for my psoriasis. Planning my diet was difficult because oranges were supposed to be good for my eyesight but bad for my psoriasis. Even thinking of sweet things made me nauseous, and sometimes my sugar level became very high (sometimes beyond the limit).

The second factor was my family. Most of my family suffered from type 1 diabetes, and the risk of heart disease is three times higher in my family than in others. Diabetes in my family tree also increased the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Despite this, they were not supportive, and some even taunted me, which caused me a lot of stress.

Researching my disease, I began to wonder if other factors also contributed. Was my geographical area a factor in triggering my diabetes? Did both my parents’ families having a history of diabetes make mine worse?

I saw loved ones die due to diabetes and was very afraid it would kill me too.

Getting stronger

Suffering from so many things, I was severely depressed.

However, no matter how my classmates, friends and family were treating me, I was always the shining star of my class.

I didn’t look at my dull skin, yellow eyes, bloody gums, falling hair, and thin body. I avoided the mirror entirely, afraid of seeing myself. And although everyone was making fun of me and I was fighting multiple diseases, I didn’t lose hope.

Instead, I became the top student in chemistry and biology in both my O and A levels. I started writing poetry and journal entries daily, giving myself relief and satisfaction from my diseases.

And I saw the true colours of blood relations, friends, colleagues and society.

At university, everyone wanted to be friends with me because of my excellent grades but left when I told them I was a diabetic.

And living in a country like India or Pakistan, nobody would accept a young girl (24) with diabetes. People wanted to be my boyfriend, but nobody wanted to marry me.

But I didn’t let these things bother me. I started to walk more than two hours daily to stabilise my sugar level and relax my mind. I completed university and began my professional life. And as a biology graduate, I examined myself, made diet plans, and scheduled exercise routines in the morning and evening.

Finding happiness

Having suffered so much from my diseases, and from such a young age, I was sure my future would be very painful. In the past, I thought about suicide many times.

But then I decided to live my life for myself.

I developed the willpower to stay positive, balance my carbs level, not depend on anyone else to make my life easier, and love myself.

I worked harder and harder every day. Fed up with my medicines, I quit all of them and focused only on exercise.

Now I’m a motivational trainer, researcher and writer. And my own experiences allow me to feel and understand people’s pain in a way others can’t.

I used to think I had no right to live in this world or be a mother to kids and make them carry the same disease I have and face the same conditions. But then I asked myself, “Why can’t I love myself? Why can’t I have children who will be well-adjusted, healthy members of society?”

I decided I would live my life better than others. I would stay positive. And I would consider myself blessed that I am not on a ventilator.

Now, diabetes is my friend. While everyone else left me, diabetes stayed with me through thick and thin. Diabetes made me who I am today. It’s my best friend, who encourages me to help others, motivate and love. It helped me find the strength to work hard and make myself financially strong and independent.

Where to from here

I want to be an example for other diabetics and help them learn to survive, make this disease their friend, and recover from it.

Curing diabetes is hard, but you can balance your carb levels and make it easier to manage. And we can educate the new, younger generations and make them aware of this disease. We can explain to them the consequences of ignoring it and the challenges we’ll face in the coming years as more and more people develop diabetes.

Final thoughts

For me, diabetes is a great blessing from God. It means that every day I get to wake up and do something special for society. I’m thankful for my diabetes, as it keeps me close to good, and helps me do good deeds. It is my best friend that will stay with me till the end of my life.

I ask everyone to please think like me. Live a good life, survive, and be grateful to God for whatever you are and whatever conditions you suffer from.

Graphic of a female profile picture.
Nimra Bibi

Nimra Bibi (a.k.a Nimra Ahmad Namal) is a poetess, writer, trainer and columnist. She has a background as a chemistry and biology lecturer, and is passionate about motivating people suffering from diabetes, skin psoriasis and other diseases. She hopes to be a role model for people going through abuse, harassment, disease and other hardships, and show that it’s possible to survive and have a positive life. In the future, she aims to be an international motivational trainer in the fields of scientific research, human rights, child rights, and creative writing.

Editor's note: The opinions and experiences reflected in stories from the diabetic community belong to the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of InDiabetes.

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