Kaleidoscope! A long word but with so many facets! Just like my Type 1 diabetes, I am no way one colour or one dimensional. Diagnosed 34 years ago, apparently me at 18 losing some weight wasn’t something to celebrate. I thought I was closer to the ideal Bollywood skinny chammak challo. Instead, I was handed all kinds of gunk to drink and went through a lot of invasive poking and testing to meet the new invisible companion in my life. Secretly happy to be size 8 for my brother’s wedding, unconsciously I danced my way through the year. I wouldn’t say I was not given a rough mantra of how and what to eat with the dreaded plastic food models by the nutritionist. I blindly waded through a few more years. Obediently allowed the vampires to draw blood before seeing the BIG doctors, sprinkled with misguided choices and followed worse advice to keep increasing the liquid gold consumption to match growing portions of a so-called balanced diet.
I passed into another wedding this time on my own. Fun times followed by a couple of kids and the size 8 was now approaching size 16. So frustrating! I thought I was doing all the right stuff. Increase basal, adjust bolus, test some more, but alas it was always: “Haayee, haayee that’s not right let’s up the units…” Stereotyped into an insulin dependent user started to hear “insulin weight badhata hai…accept karlo ya aur thodi exercise Kar lo.” (insulin causes weight gain…either accept it or exercise a little more.) Hyderabadi fine dining for sure, but ballooning to feed the insulin just seemed out of control.
Woke up one morning and thought something had to change. I started with outdoor walks, building up to 8 km. Adjusted the basal to almost ½ and slowly started a new phase in my Type 1 journey. It took 4 years to gradually undo the layers gained and build back the muscle lost. The DIABETIC became my type 1 diabetes. Personal trainers came and went to mould a different goal. Many more pounds lost at diagnosis were found in the old journey, which is now replaced with a sustainable lifestyle that I am truly enjoying. My Diabetes Kaleidoscope can twist and change, but mast with the strength within myself, I can say bring on the glare I do dare!
– Asra Ahmed