Perfectly imperfect with T1D

Perfectly imperfect with type 1 diabetes, that is my go-to description for describing me with T1D.

It took this T1D dietitian a loooooong time to get to this point of comfortability and acceptance with my diabetes.

For years I struggled with the guilt and shame of type-1 diabetes. A lot of that was self-imposed, but also a lot of healthcare professionals did not help in alleviating those feelings. Well-meaning family members also did not help, nor did the myths of diabetes shouted throughout various media streams.

It took a great amount of personal strength and a loud voice to come to this point of being okay with being perfectly imperfect with type-1 diabetes.

BC T1D dietitian Katie Bartel rides her bike up a hill lined with cherry blossom trees
You can’t race to perfection all the time. Sometimes, you’ve got to stop and enjoy everything else around you like these cherry blossom trees on the streets of BC.
Perfectly imperfect, what does that mean

So what does perfectly imperfect with type-1 diabetes mean?

For me, it means being okay with blood sugars that aren’t perfect 100% of the time.

As a T1D dietitian with T1D, I know that blood sugar blips happen irregardless of what foods you eat or don’t eat and if you exercise or not.

I personally struggle with high insulin sensitivity. Some days I’m popping back candies like you wouldn’t believe just to keep my blood sugars up in my designated target range. Those days can be so frustrating, but then there’s the other days that run super smooth.

It balances out.

Being perfectly imperfect also means being okay with potential blood sugar imperfections based on the foods I eat. If I treat myself to high-fat ice cream or Neapolitan pizza, I always try my best to calculate the appropriate bolus insulin dose and extended doses in the moment. But if they don’t work, I try to be okay with that too. I’m not eating these foods all the time, so once in awhile blips are totally okay.

That’s what correction doses are for.

I aim to exercise a minimum of five days a week. However, life happens and it’s not always possible to achieve that. If I miss a day or two, I shake it off and get back on the next day.

That’s being perfectly imperfect with T1D to me!

BC T1D dietitian Katie Bartel eats a slice of pflaumenkuchen in Germany
When in Germany, always opt for the pflaumenkuchen
How to become perfectly imperfect

Becoming perfectly imperfect with T1D is not easy and it’s not perfect.

Some days I still stumble and get frustrated and even feel guilty, but most days I enjoy my flexibility with T1D.

The first step to becoming perfectly imperfect is to realize that there is no perfection in diabetes.

No matter what social media shows, absolutely no one is perfect with this disease. It is not possible. There are too many inner factors that we cannot control contributing to blood sugar fluctuations.

We need to stop comparing our T1D with someone else’s. None of our bodies are the same, therefore none of our diabetes are the same.

Stop listening to the myths of media; they do not help.

And finally, speak up and speak out.

Get to know you and your diabetes. Know what works for you and what doesn’t. If healthcare presents a general recommendation that you know won’t work for your diabetes, tell them because if they don’t know they won’t learn.

Just like Jerry Seinfeld was the master of his domain, we are the masters of our diabetes.

And it’s okay to be perfectly imperfect with T1D.

BC T1D dietitian Katie Bartel enjoys the sun rays on the quay in New Westminster
Just like this photo is perfectly imperfect, so too is my type-1 diabetes.

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